Do you ever feel stuck after so long doing a repetitious task at work? Do you ever sit & look around and ask yourself how did I end up here and why can’t I move ahead?
Your child may feel these very same feelings about his/her hockey. Think about it, the Winter season has started and Spring tryouts are coming up; anxiety and uncertainty can take a toll on the mind & body.
You’re child is training hard, but it seems like nothing is happening, maybe they even seen drained or depressed.
Many people quit hockey when they hit these low points. Players get discouraged, lose motivation or force themselves to push harder on the ice – which can lead to injury and burnout.
I’ve experienced this myself.
When I was training for international competition over 15 years ago (has it been that long?), my team was hitting the training floor pretty much 6-7 days a week. At one point the Coach stopped us right in the middle of the workout, sat us down and told us all we were taking a break for a few days. No sports, no training, no heavy activity….we needed to rest and recover.
Maybe your player/athlete is in a bit of a funk and needs to recoup. Let’s look at what you can do to help your child.
1. First, you need to make sure your player/athlete has plenty of rest. This is a no-brainer but it does get ignored. Resting does not include sitting in front of the X-box or smartphone!
Rest is rest; lie down, go to bed early. Read a book on the couch and drift off….. kids need rest & parents need to make sure there is a healthy balance between rest and play.
2. Try an ice-bath** for sore muscles. Pro athletes use this on a regular basis. Sit 15-20 minutes in the ice water to help stimulate circulation and muscle repair.
**Caveat – Do your own research to make sure this is right for your child; my oldest does this & it works for him. Ask your family physician to see if it is right for your child.
3. Vitamins anyone? An elite player’s diet is a vital piece of the equation. Garbage in – Garbage out.
Again, check with your family doctor or sport nutritionist to see if maybe an added mineral may boost the energy levels.
4. Continue to properly develop your body. Your child’s progress as a hockey player is limited by physical ability. You need to build strength and speed to stay competitive at the elite levels of Spring hockey.
(Again, you must help your player to balance out the training and rest periods.)
A good plyometric workout would be worth looking at.
A plyometric movement is quick, powerful move that starts with an eccentric (muscle lengthening) action and is immediately followed by a concentric (muscle shortening) action. Performing plyometrics movements increases muscular power, which translates to higher jumps and faster sprint times.
5. The most important for last. The tired and weary athlete needs your unconditional support.
One of my boys told me once before going onto the ice; “I’ll make you proud Dad.”
I was devastated.
I looked him in the eye and told him “I am already the proudest father in the rink, just watching you step onto the ice.”
Sometimes kids don’t need to hear us say to go score the winning goal….. they need to hear that we are just happy to be there to watch our child play no matter the outcome.
There is a lot of pressure on these young minds at the elite levels; as parents we need to be able to keep everything grounded. Sure we want them to pursue excellence in sports, but we need to be the place of refuge where a kid can talk to their parent after the game and put their mind at ease to unwind.
Support your child and lift some of the weight off their shoulders when you talk to them; you may very well find their energy levels and interest levels perk up!
Mind & body are intertwined and both can get run down, especially during these hectic times when Winter season play starts and the tryout season is just a few weeks away.