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COACHES' PLAYBOOK

Presented by

ILLUSTRATIONS BY MIKE CURTI

By Darryl Nelson, Strength and Conditioning Coach for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.

WHETHER YOU'RE A PLAYER OR COACH, CHECK OUT THESE TIPS AND DRILLS FOR BOTH ICE AND INLINE HOCKEY.

WHEN IT COMES TO STRETCHING, BE `DYNAMIC'

Flexibility is one of the key elements to physical fitness. But while stretching may seem simple, many players often do it incorrectly. The most common mistake many people make is thinking that stretching before they hit the ice will get them ready once the puck drops. Stretching alone before you skate is not as important as you might think. Exercises, such as touching your toes to stretch your hamstring and holding the position, are static. "Static" means they don't involve movement. Hockey is "dynamic." The best way to get ready for hockey is to do dynamic exercises that mimic the traits needed for hockey, such as balance, flexibility and short periods of work at a high heart rate. Here are a couple of drills that I do with the players in our National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.

`DYNAMIC' EXERCISES

The `Inchworm'

Start by lying on your stomach with your hands on the floor like you're in the down position of a push-up. With your knees straight, walk your feet up so they are between your hands (or as close as you can get without bending your knees). Then walk your hands forward so you are again in the bottom push-up position. You are moving much like an inchworm by starting flat on the ground, walking your feet up so your butt is up in the air, then walking your hands out so you are flat again. For starters, try to "inchworm" across the floor for about 30 feet.

The `Turkish Get-Up'

A second drill to start your warm-up is called a `Turkish Get-Up.' Start by lying flat on your back. Hold your hockey stick in one hand over your chest, with your elbow straight as if you had just completed a one-arm bench press. While keeping your elbow straight and the stick over your head, stand up. Do the same thing in reverse to return to the ground. Repeat this drill for 10 repetitions on each arm.

44 A M E R I C A N H O C K E Y

WWW.USAHOCKEY.COM

17719_AHM August 02 9/18/02 12:07 PM Page 45

COACHES' PLAYBOOK

Get Your Heart Pumping

In hockey, your heart rate gets very high, sometimes as fast as 180 to 200 beats per minute. Then you sit down for a few shifts and your heart rate drops. After your `Inchworms' or `Turkish Get-Ups,' do a few 50-yard sprints. Rest a couple of shifts between each sprint. Four or five sprints should be a sufficient warm-up. (Yes, you should be sweating by the end of your warm-up as though you had already played a couple of shifts.) That's how you know you are "prepared" for hockey. After all, that is the purpose of warming up.

`STATIC' EXERCISES

After hockey you should do the `static' type of stretching. This will help you recover and reduce your soreness levels. Also, by consistently stretching after hockey you will make long-term improvements in flexibility. Muscles are more pliable after exercise and you will be able to stretch them better. Make sure you do these stretches for each side of your body. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds.

Kneeling Hip Flexor

The first stretch is the kneeling hip flexor stretch. Put your right knee on the floor and your left foot forward. Push your right hip forward, reach overhead and turn left.

Seated Rotator Stretch

Cross your left leg over your right in a figure ­ 4 manner. Then sit up on your right heel, butt touching the floor.

Double Hamstring Stretch

Sit down on the floor and grab your toes with your knees bent. Then straighten your knees while keeping your feet together. Sit up tall.

Standing V

With your feet spread very wide and your knees straight, try touching your nose to your knee.

To get the most out of your muscles, you need both static and dynamic stretches before you hit the ice. A proper stretching program increases the elasticity of your muscles, which can reduce the risk and severity of injury.

WWW.USAHOCKEY.COM

AUGUST 2002

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