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Preseason Preparation: Getting Ready for a Successful Hockey Season

While the summer sun may make the ice and cold of the hockey season feel far away, dedicated players recognize the importance of year-round training. The preseason period for hockey is a key time for players to lay the foundation for a successful season.  

At Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we know the importance of being prepared. Proper preparation can enhance performance, reduce the risk of injuries, and ensure players are physically and mentally ready for the challenges on the ice.    

OHOW physical therapist Greg Fernandez, PT, DPT, of Mequon Physical Therapy, is an avid hockey enthusiast who coaches at the Ozaukee Ice Center and sits as the Girls Hockey Coordinator of the Ozaukee Youth Hockey Organization. In the blog post below, Coach Greg shares his essential tips and strategies for preseason preparation. Following his advice, hockey players can be sure to maximize their potential and start the season strong.  

Offseason Conditioning   

The offseason is a good time for players to focus on conditioning and overall fitness. Engaging in a well-rounded training program that includes cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility work is essential. Cardiovascular activities such as running, biking, or swimming can improve endurance, while strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and core work will enhance power and stability. Incorporating yoga or stretching routines can improve flexibility, reducing the risk of muscle imbalances and injuries on the ice.  

Nutrition and Hydration  

Proper nutrition and hydration play a vital role in preseason preparation. Players should focus on consuming a well-balanced diet of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Optimal nutrition supports energy levels, aids muscle recovery, and enhances performance. Staying hydrated is equally important, as dehydration can negatively impact endurance and cognitive function. Players should drink water consistently throughout the day, especially before, during, and after workouts.  

Skills and Drills  

Preseason is an opportune time to sharpen fundamental skills and work on specific areas of improvement. Allocate time to practice skating, shooting, stickhandling, and passing drills to enhance technique and consistency. Collaborating with coaches or joining skill development camps can provide structured guidance and help players address weaknesses. Focus on mastering both individual skills and team-oriented plays to elevate overall performance on the ice.  

Rest and Recovery  

Amidst the intense training, it is crucial not to overlook the importance of rest and recovery. During the preseason, players should prioritize adequate sleep to support physical and mental rejuvenation. Rest days into the training schedule allow the body to repair and rebuild, reducing the risk of overuse injuries. Additionally, incorporating recovery techniques like foam rolling, stretching, and ice baths can alleviate muscle soreness and promote faster recovery.  

Mental Preparation  

Mentally preparing is just as vital as physical conditioning. Visualize success, set realistic goals, and develop a positive mindset. Use preseason to work on mental resilience, focus, and concentration. Engage in mindfulness or meditation practices to enhance mental clarity and reduce performance anxiety. Building mental toughness will enable players to thrive under pressure and maintain a competitive edge throughout the season.  

The preseason period sets the stage for a successful hockey season. By prioritizing conditioning, nutrition, skill development, rest, and mental preparation, players can enter the season feeling confident and ready to excel on the ice. 

Should an injury on the ice occur, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. At Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we’re here to help with any orthopedic injury that occurs during any sport.  

 Contact us right away to schedule an evaluation so that we can get you back on the ice. 

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