To be a hockey player requires speed, strength and endurance, with players who have these attributes often the athletes who dominate the game.
Many hockey players will excel in one or two areas but need to work on the weaker side of their game. It is up to the coach to maximise a player’s strengths within a team.
Hockey has seen a surge in popularity following the success of the Team GB women’s hockey squad at the Rio Olympics in 2016. The team is currently competing in the Champions Trophy in China, where it is seeing mixed results.
Players looking to compete professionally or move up a level in the sport need to focus on developing strength and power in all areas of their game, with resources such as www.sportplan.net/drills/Hockey/Shooting-Goalscoring/Creating-scoring-chances-3-v-2-h5a39a.jsp providing hockey training drill videos for coaches and players of all levels.
Power and strength are not the same when it comes to physicality; instead, they are individual qualities that need specific training. Power is the rate at which an athlete can perform, while strength is about the overall performance. The faster an athlete can perform, the more powerful they are.
Hockey is a power-driven sport, as how hard a shot is hit can determine the result. Power is often needed immediately, with no build-up and no advance warning. Being able to produce power instantly gives players a distinct advantage over their opponents.
The type of power training required needs to help players perform at their maximum for the duration of the game; for example, if training at a gym, athletes need to be able to carry out each exercise with the exact same amount of power as the first. If they begin to tire, they should rest before starting again; in this way, the same level of energy is sustained throughout any workout. If doing ten jumps, the tenth jump needs to be as high as the first and with the same amount of time between each jump. This kind of training will maximise an athlete’s power and ensure they can be utilised effectively within the team.
Finally, hockey players need to ensure they build up strength and maintain power in their core area. This ensures their body strength is evenly distributed rather than just in their arms and legs.