One of the most important aspects of your hockey training that I haven’t really touched on in the past is fitness testing for hockey. How do you know the program you’re working on is actually helping you improve? I can guarantee you this, that most players have no idea if what they’re doing is really helping them.
Your workouts need some sort of Fitness testing For Hockey to make sure you’re improving.
In a school setting testing is one of the things that I know students cringe at most often. They don’t want to write tests. It’s something about the idea of failing that gets in their minds and causes some sort of anxiety around tests. As a coach, scoring straight A’s is not what it’s about. Fitness testing for hockey is about improvement. That’s what I look for most often when I’m involved in any sort of program.
Does the athlete get better?
That’s what it’s about. Your hockey training should be geared towards you getting better. Testing for your hockey workouts shouldn’t come as something you’re scared of. They should come as something you strive towards. They should be something you can’t wait to reach because of all the hard work you put in.
Sure, there’s always variables that come into play with any sort of testing, so nothing is perfect at showing how someone has improved. But players and coaches need to make sure that what they’re testing is relevant to what the program is focusing on. Don’t test an athlete for upper body strength and then not spend any time in the program on upper body strength. That just doesn’t make sense and confuses the player. Actually, it might even get the player thinking that the program is useless and flawed.
There’s a few things a hockey training program should focus on and the tests need to revolve around those particular attributes. A hockey player needs to have total body strength, they need to be agile in tight spaces, they need quick acceleration, and they need power in the lower body. So make sure the tests you’re doing before your hockey workouts and in your training program are geared towards these attributes.
Here’s the fitness testing for hockey that I use with my athletes to see how they’ve improved in the programs I’ve placed them on:
Lower Body Power
1. Vertical Jump
A measure of how high a player can jump straight up. This is important for hockey players because they need explosive power in the lower body for various scenarios on the ice.
2. Horizontal Jump
A measure of how far a player can jump straight out in front of them. The reason for this test is similar to the vertical jump test.
Upper Body Strength
1. Max Pushup Test
2. Max Chin up Test
Both of these tests show how strong a player is in their upper body. Other tests, like the 1RM Bench Press Test can be used, but with the types of athletes I train, this just doesn’t fit the needs of what I’m trying to accomplish. When some players come to me, they haven’t even done the bench press before, so it would be unprofessional of myself to put someone under that much resistance.
Speed and Agility
This test is awesome to measure a player’s acceleration and agility. To set it up, place one cone down and mark another cone 10 yards in front of it. At that cone, place two more cones on both sides which are both 5 feet away from the middle cone, forming the letter T. The player starts from the first cone, sprints straight to the second cone, shuffles 5 yards to one of the next cones, shuffles back 10 yards in the opposite direction, passes the second cone and continues all the way to the last cone. Next the player changes directions and shuffles back to the second cone and then runs backwards to the starting cone to finish. The player is timed, taking the best score out of 3 tries.
1. Repeated High Intensity Endurance Test
Measure out a 20m distance with cones at each end. There are six rounds, each lasting thirty seconds. That is 6 x (:30). In each 30 second round, sprint back and forth between the cones twice. That is, sprint down 20m, return to start, sprint down 20m again, 20m back to start (80m total). Once the player crosses the finish line after sprinting 80m they get to rest until the 30 seconds is up.
So if the 80m sprint took them (:20) to complete, they have only (:10) remaining to rest. After 6 rounds, you’ll have to calculate your score by taking the % difference between the slowest time with the fastest time. To calculate the percentage, just divide the slowest time by the fastest time. In this test, you’ll definitely need another player or coach to take down the player’s times for each of the 6 rounds.
Fitness testing for hockey can be used to measure player’s performance and improvements over periods of a program. I usually will test players once every 4 weeks, giving them enough time to show some improvement from the last test. There are many other tests out there to use with your hockey workouts, so make sure that you use the ones that are relevant to your goals.