When you break down a hockey game in time – although the game is sixty minutes in length, in reality the most a skater will actually play is about twenty minutes a night. Of course, no matter how much or how little a skater plays on any given night they must be in the absolute best physical and mental condition at all times.
Because of this, how a hockey player prepares for every game is an imperative process in order for them to be in the best position to contribute on the ice. While each players preparation is a personal preference, lets take a look at a generic routine that incorporates some of the more common techniques used by professionals.
Preparation for hockey is an ongoing process throughout the season. This consists of eating good quality clear meals, hydrating well and get a good nights rest on off days as well as days with practice and games.
On an actual game day, players may do a light warm up routine in the morning after waking up to get their heart rate going. This might include a short jog or stationary bike ride. Simply sitting around until a few hours before game time is not an option.
In addition to a physical warm-up, players will also go through a strict diet routine throughout the day with foods that create energy and aid in recovery. Furthermore, players will also hydrate well throughout the day as water is the essential element in building and repairing muscle. It’s imperative to make sure the body is hydrated all the time. The water you drink during the day is what your body will use in the game, not the water you drink during the game.
In the afternoon players will usually take a nap or have some downtime before heading to the rink 2-3 hours before the start of the game.
Once they arrive, players will change into their warm up gear and begin final preparations for the game. This usually includes more warm up exercises such as a 20-30 minute stationary bike ride, light jog and other quick feet exercises such as a ladder or running around cones. Players may also opt into doing a group ball kick to sharpen eye/hand/foot coordination.
Perhaps most importantly, players will do 20-30 minutes of stretching to make sure their muscles are nice and limber for the game
After warming up off the ice, players will enter a meeting with the coaching staff to go over strategies and tactics for the game. Players will then get fully kitted up and and go for a twenty minute on ice warm up before heading back to the locker-room for a final stretch and for final words of motivation from the coaching staff before the game starts. From there the players take the ice and the game is on!
Ice hockey is a vigorous sport. Making sure that you stretch and warm up before and after every on ice session is imperative to you being prepared to play hockey at your optimal level in addition to preventing injury.
Don’t leave without watching the two videos below.
Warm up exercises.
What to eat before a hockey game.
We’d love to hear about your preparation routine. Comment below to share what works for you!