1. Equipment:Invest in the correct equipment by matching level of ability with the correct hockey products. For those ‘social’ hockey players, for example, who train maybe once or twice a week the basic pieces of safety equipment are required such as a good mouth guard, a pair of shin pads and maybe a protective glove too. The most expensive pieces of equipment are goalkeeping sets, hockey shoes and sticks. Always be sure to ask for guidance and advice on the best ones for you which may depend on age, level and playing position.
2. Clubs & Teams:Joining a team that reflects your own goals and that challenges your own ability is key. Getting the most out of the hockey side of things is important but do not forget the social part too! A club with their own clubhouse and social venue is one of the best places to start. For those more serious hockey players – take a look at the club’s history, facilities and coaching set up.
3. Fitness:For hockey players a great (tough!) fitness test is the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test. It measures your VO2 max ability, identifies your repeated change of direction capacity as well as your max aerobic speed which is very applicable to hockey. For goalkeepers - agility tests like a T-test and shorter sharper workouts, such as, 5m, 10m, 15m sprints and shuttles are the way to go.
4. HydrationIt is something that doesn’t get enough focus or attention. Hydration is key in any sport and it certainly is no different when it comes to hockey. Domestic league matches can be played for 70mins while international matches are now set to 60mins meaning getting fluids on-board is vitally important to aid physical performance as well as mental (concentration and decision making!)
5. Top Tips for Recovery
- Fluids on board pre, post and after hockey
- Whey protein/Recovery shakes after training/matches
- Eat well knowing that FOOD = FUEL!
- Wear compression leggings to increase blood flow and muscle oxygenation
- Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!
6. Training & Match PreparationA good training week is crucial in the build up to Match Day. Video analysis of your opponents is also really beneficial (if available). This aids your tactical and technical choices as well as and your own personal visualisation of what you will be facing. The recognition of key players and set pieces should also be studied. Use a notebook and pen or Notes on your mobile phone to record key information. “The Devil is in the Details”.
7. Enjoy!“Do what you love and love what you do” – enjoy the time on the pitch together with your teammates and friends. Whether you want to let off some steam after work or relish in the physical challenges that lie ahead – remember you are part of a team, never alone and that’s so special.