Each and every year strength training becomes more and more popular with hockey players of all ages. Along with its popularity come many misconceptions, myths and misunderstandings of how to train properly and what are realistic expectations of what an athlete can achieve from their training. Here are two of the popular myths regarding strength training and hockey.
Myth #1-My child is too young to train and it will ruin their growth potential
Truth-There is no magic age as to when someone can start training. If you were to wait until you completely stopped growing and all your bones were developed you could be waiting until your early twenties. Each athlete has an age and what we call a training age. The training age is how many years that they have been involved with a good strength and conditioning program. The training age is the one that really dictates what can be done in the gym. For example if we have an athlete who is 16 years old who we have been working with for the last two years and they have demonstrated that they are efficient at moving their own body then we will put them under load while lifting. If another athlete who is 18 years old comes in and has never been a gym before we won’t put them under load just because they are older. They first have to learn the principles of strength training which is being efficient and effective at moving your own body.
Myth #2- My child has to play hockey year round or they will fall behind
Truth- We work with many professional hockey players and I can tell you that the best players are also the best all around athletes. This is not a coincidence. Nowadays often at a young age people want their kids to specialize in sports. This stunts the child’s athletic growth and ends up having the adverse effect of what they were originally wanting to accomplish in the first place, being a better hockey player. There are prime developmental years in the early teens where kids are at a prime position to develop athletic attributes such as reaction time, hand eye co-ordination, and proprioception (the awareness of one’s own body in space). The best ways for kids to develop these are to play a variety of different sports or to train. Almost every sport that a kid will play in summer, baseball, soccer, tennis etc. provide tons of opportunity to work on hand eye co-ordination, changes of direction and so on. A great training program will accomplish the same thing.