I’ll tell you a little secret.
If you just show up at the rink and do what all the other players
on your team do, you’ll end up the same as them.
Which is fine, but it doesn’t set you apart.
I tell players this all the time – if you want more, you have to do more.
The best shooter on my team has the best slapshots in the league.
I’ve coached her for 7 years and she’s always had an amazing shot.
She’s inflicted quite a lot of pain in opponents and teammates who
happen to be standing in front of her cannon when she gets it off.
She went to shooting lessons until very recently.
Another player on my team who has fantastic puck skills and is a
national-team calibre player, does extra skill sessions three times
a week in addition to the 2-3 practices and 2 games we have per week.
No one is forcing her to do it. She chooses to and that’s why she’s one
of the best.
The fittest player on our team works out harder and more often than
all of her teammates. No one can touch her when it comes to fitness
and she’s still pushing hard every day to get better.
There’s no secret formula to being the best. You have to do more
to set yourself apart from the competition.
Back when I played college hockey, I did extra workouts on my own.
I did yoga in my dorm room twice a week all by myself (and not very well)
because I thought it would help me manage my injuries. I went to all the
optional practices. Not just when it was convenient for me. I went to all
of them, even when I was exhausted, or had an exam that day or when
I was the only one there. I put in the work and it paid off. I wanted to be
the best and I knew that I had to do more than my opponents and
teammates in order to get there.
So what are you doing that’s setting you apart from the competition?
Are you taking those extra shots in the driveway? Going to extra skating
lessons to work on your stride or explosiveness? Stickhandling for hours
on end in the basement? These are the things that set you apart.
Those extra shots lead to game winning goals. Those skating lessons
allow you to make an amazing play coming back hard on the backcheck.
Those hours of stickhandling are what allow you to pull off that amazing
move in the shootout.
Here are 3 simple things you can start doing today to be better.
1. Drink More Water
Very exciting right? Most players walk around most days dehydrated.
You don’t drink enough and that decreases your top end performance
by at least 10%. No one is good enough that they can afford to be running
at 90% day to day.
Here’s an easy way to figure out how much water you should be drinking:
Divide your weight in pounds by 2.
Divide that new number by 8.
That tells you how many cups of water (a glass in 250ml or 8 oz)
you need to drink per day just to maintain a baseline level of hydration.
So if you weigh 120 pounds, divide by 2 to get 60 and then by 8 to get 7.5.
That means a 120 pound player needs to drink at least 7.5 cups of water
per day to maintain normal hydration levels. That’s about 2 litres or half
a gallon of water per day.
You also have to drink at least another 2 cups for every hour of training
you do per day. So a 90 minute practice means another 750ml or 24oz.
2. Do Pushups From The Floor
Another exciting one. No one likes pushups. No one does extra for fun.
But you will, and that’s what will set you apart.
Female hockey players should practice doing pushups starting with the
entire body touching the floor. You start at the bottom of pushup position
and then try to keep your body in a tight & straight position while pushing
up to the top. Ideally, your belly button is the first thing to leave the ground.
You don’t want to have a body wave as you come off the ground – your body
should be straight as a board.
The first time you try this, you’ll be bad at it. You’ll get annoyed at yourself
for not being able to keep your body straight and come off the ground in
a smooth coordinated motion. Keep trying it. You can rest at the bottom
between repetitions if you have to.
Start with 5 of them from the floor.
Work your way up to 10 without any breaks between repetitions.
You’ll be stronger. Which makes you better in every aspect of the game.
3. Ask 1 Question
This one is for both players and coaches. Although to be honest,
I’m sure most of us coaches would benefit from drinking more water
and doing a few more pushups now and then.
The question is: HOW CAN I HELP?
Ask your coach what the one most important thing you could work on
right now to take your game to the next level and help the team. Your
coach might tell you it’s your shot, or your strength, or your mental game.
Who knows – but if you don’t ask, you don’t know.
Ask each of your players for one thing that you could do to make them
a better player. They might tell you it’s giving them more space after they
make a mistake or being tougher on them when they make a mistake.
They might need help understanding their role on faceoffs or they might
have something going on away from the rink that’s keeping them from
getting focused. Ask, write it down and find a way to help them with it.
Getting to the next level of performance isn’t easy. And excelling once
you get there is even harder. If you’re not doing extra workouts,
taking care of your nutrition and hydration, and working on your skills
every single day, you don’t want to be the best. That’s ok but don’t fool
yourself by thinking that just showing up at your team’s practices and
training sessions will get you to the next level.
If you want more, you have to do more.
Please feel free to pass this message along to any players, parents, coaches
or teammates that you think might benefit from reading it.
Your friend and coach,
Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS
Director & Founder, Total Female Hockey