One of the best things you can do in the off-season is focus on becoming a better athlete. This means putting the hockey bag away for a couple of weeks, or better yet a couple of months. It’s time to give those overworked muscles a break and focus on balancing out your body.
Focus on getting stronger and more powerful. When you build up your strength and become more powerful you are harder to push off the puck, harder to battle in the corners, you can skate faster, and your shot will improve.
Spend some time building up your aerobic base. Having a strong aerobic base will give you the ability to work harder for longer, and recover quicker between intervals (for example recovering between shifts of a game). This foundation will be crucial once it is time to start working on anaerobic sprint work.
If you want to get on the ice during the first few months of the off-season, bring down the intensity and focus on skill work. Work on your passing, shooting, and skating but remember these ice times should be focused on improving skills and not used as conditioning sessions. Leave the conditioning work for the gym.
As the new season approaches shift the focus back to hockey and game like situations. The focus of conditioning sessions should shift from aerobic work to anaerobic sprint work. Sprinting intervals will feel much more like a game (or harder). Get back on the ice, bring up the intensity, and get your skills up to game speed.
*This is just an overview of a general off-season training plan. For the best results, and to see the most improvement a detailed program should be designed specifically for each player. The off season is an athletes opportunity to put in the work and get ahead of the pack – use it.