Hockey Training Section

A hockey training program must meet the demands of a very physically challenging, multi-sprint sport.

Played on a similar sized pitch with the same number of players and for a similar duration, physiologically field hockey is a close match in many ways to soccer. While intermittent in nature, players must perform continuously for 70 minutes with just one 5-10 minute interval. This places a high demand on the aerobic system and good aerobic endurance is required to support repetitive bouts of high intensity exercise (1).

Anaerobic power and anaerobic endurance is high in elite hockey players (2). Although the majority of the game is spent in low-level activity such as walking and light jogging, repeated back-to-back sprints make speed and tolerance to lactic acid an important characteristic in players (3).

Strength is also central to a hockey training program. Although players aren't required to hold off physical challenges (when compared to other multi-sprint sports), power is required for acceleration, speed and quick changes in direction. Upper body strength allows players to shoot more powerfully and pass over a greater range of distances.

The unique demands of the sport mean that strength endurance is just as crucial as explosive power. Careful planning is required to ensure that both muscular power and muscular endurance can be effectively developed alongside each other without leading to over-training and fatigue. Hockey conditioning also plays a crucial role in injury prevention...

As the sport is played on a synthetic surface, this places different strains on the body compared to grass. While the principle of specificity would dictate that a hockey training program should mirror the game as closely as possible, in this case there may be good cause to argue against training exclusively on artificial turf. There is a greater injury risk inherent in playing on synthetic surfaces, in particular with respect to spinal shrinkage (3). Again, correct training can help to minimize any risk.

The articles in this section focus on conditioning for the physical demands of field hockey. Use the sample training plans, drills and sessions to improve your fitness, skill and all-round performance.




Hockey Training Articles

Hockey training section The Various Types of Endurance Hockey Training
Interval training, fartlek training, tempo runs... all these different types of endurance training are relevant to hockey players. Here's a bit more about each type along with some sample sessions...

Interval Training for Sport-Specific Endurance
Hockey is places intermittent demands on the body. This makes steady-state running a poor choice for improving endurance. Interval training is much more specific to the sport...

Training to Increase Lactate Tolerance
The multi-sprint nature of hockey, often with minimal rest periods, means that blood lactate can soon accumulate in players. Nothing is more debilitating than lactate accumulation so this form of tolerance training can have a dramatic effect on a player's performance...

Strength Training The Sport-Specific Way
Strength training has now become an essential component in most athletes training program. And it is no less essential for hockey training. However, you can spend a lot of time in the gym lifting weights and not make the improvements you could, simply because strength training for sport is quite unique...

How To Design Resistance Training Programs For Athletes
Here is the step-by-step process of developing a sport-specific strength training plan - one that meets the demanding nature of the sport...

Power Training for Athletes
Strength and power are not the same. Do hockey players need to be powerful? Absolutely. Learn how you can convert a solid strength base into explosive power on the field...

Plyometric Training for Developing Explosie Power
Plyometrics is used in many sports as an effective way to increase speed and power. Hockey players can benefit from both upper and lower body plyometric exercises...

Muscular Endurance Training
Hockey players, a bit like soccer players, requires a blend of strength, power and muscular endurance. Strength endurance allows you to repeat a high rate of work right throughout the game...

The Speed Training Program
Speed, agility and quickness plays a major role in the success of every hockey player. Here's how to design a speed training program and how to use and combine various types of drills...

Speed Drills for Maximum Velocity
These speed drills are used to develop basic, all-out speed and acceleration off the mark...

Speed & Agility Drills
These agility exercises are easy to set up and require little or no equipment. They are ideal for teams and individual training...

Ladder Agility Drills for Quick Feet & Coordination
Speed ladders form an intergral part of many speed training programs. These five drills will improve your foot speed and coordination...

Flexibility Exercises for Hockey
Increased flexibility may reduce the risk of certain injuries. It may also allow a hockey player to move with greater dexterity, agility and finesse...

Dynamic Stretches & Stretching Routine
Dynamic stretching is now recommended over static stretching before a game or hockey training session...

A Sample Off Season Strength Training Program
The off or closed season is typically about rest and regeneration. But that doesn't mean doing nothing at all...




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References
1) Boyle PM, Mahoney CA, Wallace WF. The competitive demands of elite male field hockey. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1994 Sep;34(3):235-41
2) Reilly T, Borrie A. Physiology applied to field hockey. Sports Med. 1992 Jul;14(1):10-26
3) Spencer M, Lawrence S, Rechichi C, Bishop D, Dawson B, Goodman C. Time-motion analysis of elite field hockey, with special reference to repeated-sprint activity. J Sports Sci. 2004 Sep;22(9):843-50.

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