While fans and many athletes only focus on the season, physicians and trainers at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine are thinking of what should happen during the off-season.
Recently, Michael Stuart, M.D., Co-Director, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, Chief Medical and Safety Officer, USA Hockey gathered a small group of trainers and held a webinar on the benefits of comprehensive training for hockey players.
Shawn Vins, Coordinator of Performance Services and Hockey Lead talked about what athletes should be working on after the season.
“What we want to be focusing on is improving upon the skills, improving upon any deficiencies we maybe got caught up with, improving our stride through mechanics, Improving power and muscular endurance, speed and overall acceleration.”
Jennifer Noiles, EXOS Trainer agrees with Shawn. She says the most common question she gets from parents and athletes is, “’when should I start hitting the gym again?’”
“Really what we’re trying to do during the off-season is to reset, rebuild and build the foundation. Get bigger, faster and stronger,” says Jennifer.
She recommends that Athletes celebrate the season and take some time off. Also, if athletes had an in-season injury, they should get it checked out.
Jennifer encourages athletes to set goals early in the off-season, get a base-line measurement on their movement profile, cardiovascular system and do strength training.
Consider “a whole system of performance training and come up with a robust plan that’s responsible and has bench marks so you know you’re improving,” says Jennifer.
Dr. Stuart also emphasized that rest and recovery are an important part of training, because otherwise it is possible to over-train.
Nutrition Trainer Luke Corey encouraged athletes to make a year ’round commitment to their training. You “want to look at specific nutrients, the ones that help with regeneration and have anti-inflammatory properities.”
We “need to think about rebuilding muscles and tissues, we take a beating during the hockey season. Our bodies have been broken down, so we really need those high quality proteins to help rebuild our bodies,” says Luke.
He recommends foods rich with Omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables and complex carbohydrates for muscles.
Hydration is important either in, or off season. “Minimally we want to be drinking at least half our body weight in water every day,” says Luke.
He emphasized the importance of getting into a good eating routine: starting the day off with a good quality breakfast, high quality snacks, balanced meals and proper hydration: “Doing all those things will certainly help with recovery after a long season, but also set you up for success entering into the next season.”