What we focus on during our hockey training sessions (in and off season)

What we focus on during our hockey training sessions (in and off season)

First of all the main reason why I chose to become a trainer over 10 years ago was to help young hockey players reach their goals. It is my biggest passion when it comes to my career. I don’t only want to develop better athletes but better people. I believe accountability, work ethic and team sports are huge attributes in paving the way. If I can help these athletes fall in love with fitness, I know it won’t only make them more successful on the ice but off as well. Team workouts are not only vital in developing the players, but also in creating a stronger team morale and bond. Teams that have great friendships have great success which in turn leads to individual success.

My goal is to make sure so that I create a positive, fun atmosphere during each of our hockey training sessions. I program each workout with a purpose as I want the athletes to be challenged physically and mentally. On a physical level, I make sure the athletes are focused on proper movement patterns, making sure they perform the exercises correctly. On a mental level, I challenge the athletes to identify the muscle groups being worked in each exercise. The last thing I want is for the athletes to “go through the motions” during the workout. Identifying the muscle groups being worked on is a huge key to success in seeing improvements in speed, strength and agility as every athlete is different and nobody moves the same. I pride myself on being able to speak to each athlete individually. Describing an exercise to one person might not resonate the same with another- that is why I make sure each athlete gets the one on one attention they need.  

Feedback is very important to me. I make it very clear that I am always open to feedback from players and coaches as I am always looking at ways to improve. I always want to provide the best service I can to each of my clients. 

In season hockey training needs to be well thought out and performed with a purpose. As the strength coach, I want to make sure that I am not taking away from their on ice performance.  I also make it a focus to ensure that the athletes do not lose the strength, speed and size that was built during the off season. This is all happening while mobility and injury prevention exercises are implemented in the programming. As mentioned previously, making sure proper body/movement mechanics are included in each session will make each player not only more efficient but help with the recovery of the athletes. 

With different age and gender comes specific programming.  As younger athletes are still growing into their bodies, we need to make sure that body awareness and technique is key. We must lay the proper foundation before adding resistance. If somebody cannot perform a body weight squat properly, the last thing we are going to do is load a barbell on their back. Older athletes generally have better stability and body awareness, saying that technique is still our main focus. We want them to be able to perform the exercise under a load but also be able to contract the proper muscle groups through the movement. Training female athletes is much the same to training males- metabolically both are very similar. Females generally carry about 2/3 of the muscle mass males specifically lacking in their upper bodies. Making sure we are doing core and upper body exercises will give the female athletes an edge. Females also carry more slow twitch muscle fibres (Type 1) so making sure we are performing fast, explosive movements during workouts is very important. That being said females generally have better endurance than males so if we are looking at doing 75% of a one rep max, females will most likely be able to perform 1-2 reps more than a male. This is something that is taken into consideration when programming.

As we talked about earlier, in season hockey training is very focused on maintaining strength that was built in the off season- so obviously summer training is where we focus on growth in all aspects of their fitness. Workouts are generally more intense and programming is catered to make sure the athletes are getting stronger/faster.  We do this using proper repetition schemes, supersets and anaerobic workouts. We make sure that athletes do not peak during the summer but do so as they head into camp so they are performing at their best.

Regardless of in-season or off-season training each workout is well thought out and delivered with a purpose. I want nothing more than to see our athletes succeed and reach their goals.

By Brett Kirkland


We certainly do! You can either purchase programs or book personal training sessions and be given your workout at the end of the session.