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A vintage picture of a Canadian National Hockey Team

5 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Training Program

06/20/2014, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

The key to a successful summer is asking the right questions...


Hockey players want to see results by the end of the summer. Visible, measurable, functional results. The question is whether or not those players are willing or able to put the work in necessary to achieve those results. 

Quick side-note: it’s not as tough as everyone thinks it is to put plenty of energy into an off-ice summer training program while still making the most of the summer sun, the beautiful province we live in and just being a teenager in Vancouver. Read more about off-ice summer training habits here

Before the cheque is signed this summer, make sure you’ve got a firm answer for these 5 questions. 

1. What Are My 3 Main Goals?

Strength? Flexibility? Speed?

It’s important to not only set your sights on a specific team you want to make, but to outline how your body will get you there.

Ask Yourself:

  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What are my strengths?
  • How can I improve both?

Use the answers to these questions to set 3 goals you can keep in the back of your mind all summer. 

Athlete’s Perspective: “I need to shoot the puck harder, but I’ve got great foot speed. Increased upper body strength should be a priority if I want to make the Bantam A1 team.”

2. What Would Success Look Like?

Building a mental image in your mind of what you’ll look like at the end of the summer will not only help you and your coaches shape your program, it will give you an injection of energy on the inevitable days where you’re exhausted. 

Athlete’s Perspective: “A successful summer means my shoulders and chest are bigger and stronger, I’ve got more stamina and I crack the Victoria Royals lineup.”

3. Who Are The Instructors?

Building relationships throughout the summer with instructors helps young hockey players make the most of their time in the gym. The best dryland instructors have to play both the good cop and the bad cop - understanding and compassionate when energy levels are down, encouraging and demanding when there’s more gas in the tank. 

Getting to know trainers before a program starts is a gigantic advantage. No one likes the first awkward handshake when meeting a new coach. Being able to relate to an instructor in an encouraging, challenging environment lets the athlete focus strictly on their training.

Athlete’s Perspective: “Steph seems to really push his players but the workouts still look fun.”

4. What Happens When I Get Tired?

There’s only one guarantee this summer: fatigue will happen. No one truly knows when, just that it will. 

Knowing who the instructors are will help to answer this question. Workouts can be altered to focus on different areas when an athlete is either physically or mentally exhausted. Stretching, cardiovascular work and injury prevention are three keys to keep in mind when the summer doldrums rear their ugly heads. 

Instructor’s Perspective: “Alex, you’re just not on your game today. Which is fine, we’ll make sure your legs stay warm and flexible and we’ll leave the weights until tomorrow. Get a good sleep and remember the goals we set a month ago, because tomorrow is important.”

5. Do I Have To Worry About Politics?


It’s depressing that we have to ask this question at all, but we all know that politics exist. 

Should we train with this company because a specific coach works there? Do we need to skate in this group to get noticed by this organization?

No. No you don’t need to worry about politics. 

Worrying about politics creates stress that an athlete doesn’t need during the summer. Is it important to research possibilities and build understanding of the upcoming tryout process?

Sure it is, but that brings us back to setting goals. Worrying about off-ice politics is counter-productive. The only thing an athlete can control is him or herself. Their actions, their work-ethic, their training. 

In the long run, everything else is just useless white noise. Good players get noticed regardless of politics. 

Parent’s Perspective: “My son is in the gym working out 3 times a week, skating twice and riding his bike a ton. He’s building healthy habits on and off the ice and he’s improving his strength. It’s all up to him.”

Putting in the Time

Asking these 5 questions will go a long way toward creating a summer training schedule that just plain works. Everyone has different reasons to train and different goals they’re trying to reach, so it’s a matter of committing to a program that checks off every item that’s important.

Featured NSWC Summer Hockey Camp

Kelvin Cech & Clint Thornton are coaching the Bantam/Midget High Performance Offence & Defence Camp July 28th - Aug 21st.

Register for High Performance Offence ->

Register for High Performance Defence ->

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Tag(s): Home  Hockey  Minor Hockey  Fitness