For the past few weeks I’ve been getting an abundance of questions related to fitness.
After I get off the phone with my mom and I cry in the mirror for ten minutes, I remember that no matter how tough the grind of the hockey season is, fitness and nutrition are well within my realm of control.
Look, I’m just a coach. All I really need is my mind, but my mind is sharper when I’m in better shape. Now, for young hockey players, the body is obviously much more important, but being fully in tune with how the body is operating is an important mental exercise that can have a large impact on performance.
How do we stay in touch with our fitness levels throughout the hockey season?
Why, by asking the right questions of course (a process I was taught by this smart lady* I know).
As the parent of a hockey player in peewee or a lower level, you’re responsible for asking this question. The program includes all hockey activities as well as school, other sports and other activities like bassoon lessons.
Change the dynamics of workouts from time to time and seek extra advice on what you should be doing to keep things spiced up. For example, especially as an athlete gets older, if they’re up to 20 or 25 reps in an exercise, they’re not building muscle and an increase in weight is necessary.
How much sleep does your child get?
It’s easy to mistake physical fatigue for mental fatigue. There are stress factors in a young athlete’s life that may pale in comparison to those faced by the
taxi driver parent of said athlete, but to that athlete, these factors can be insurmountable.
Mental fatigue is harder to come back from than physical fatigue. This is where athletic depression comes from.
Delivering maximum performance in any sport is easier if you’re in love with that sport. Really, this rule applies anywhere. Children with passion pour their heart and soul into that passion. And like me smacking the tambourine around in the background of my grade 3 Christmas Concert, experiencing success in that passion will make it easier to stick with.
To make sure you’re pouring your time and energy into a sport that your child is passionate about, just ask!
This is part ten of the Minor Hockey Player’s Guide to In-Season Fitness, Nutrition and Wellness. All the research, all the concrete details about when you should eat, what you should eat, how you should prepare - all of it means precisely nothing if your child doesn’t want to play hockey.
This can be devastating for parents, but fortunately, kids aren’t required by law to play at an elite level of hockey. Playing at any level can teach us a lot about important life lessons when it comes to eating well and taking care of our bodies.
And if they do want to play at an elite level, then those lessons are simply magnified.
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourselves, everybody.
Ok, I have a call to make.**
** To my mom.