Another hockey season has arrived. Think your game could use some improvement? 

We checked in with the experts at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for some advice. Are you ready to take your game to the next level?

Here are 15 things you should do in the next 30 days to radically improve your game:

1.  Improve fitness.

Yes, you want to get into shape, but you want to get into shape for hockey. You need the explosive fitness of a short distance runner rather than slow endurance of a long distance one. Focus on short interval training. This means interspersing an intense activity like running shuttles with sufficient rest. Do this enough times and you’ll dramatically improve your fitness level for the game.

2.  Improve total body strength.

Do progressive resistance training. Instead of focusing on just bulking up, try to incrementally increase your strength. Also, use bodyweight exercises like pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips. You may also want to add isometrics to your workout plan, too.

3.  Improve core strength.

You don’t need six-pack abs, but you do need strong abs. Sit-ups and leg raises will help. You also need hip flexor strength. Bend then accelerate upwards. Do standing twists. Do squats.

4.  Improve flexibility.

Extend your range of motion. There are two ways to do this. One is static stretching and the other is dynamic stretching. Rather than choosing between static and dynamic stretching, do them both--at separate times, of course.

5.  Improve speed and reflexes.

Focus on hockey drills that improve your reflexes. Your goal should be to get good at explosive motion. Practice sprints. Practice diagonal movements.

6.  Improve eye-hand coordination.

Play video games that improve your eye-hand coordination, reflexes, and ability to anticipate results. Yes, we said play video games.

7.  Improve recovery after training.

Go for long bike rides to recover after a training session. This gives you extra conditioning, improves blood flow, and reduces the likelihood of cramps and tight muscles.

8.  Improve your motivation.

Listen to motivating music when you are training on your own. This will infuse your emotions with a positive attitude.

9.  Improve your will to win.

Watch DVDs of champions. It doesn’t have to be hockey. It can be any sport. The idea is to build a winning feeling into your nervous system.

10.  Improve your sense of the game.

If you can access an area of ice to practice, then do it. Otherwise, play street hockey or knee hockey. Develop an instinctive and kinesthetic sense of the game.

11.  Improve teamwork.

Work with others to develop an intuitive sense of team skills. Hockey is about working synergistically with others to achieve a common goal.

12.  Improve your gear.

The better your gear and equipment, the better a player you will be. It’s not just about getting the perfect stick, either. Getting custom order gloves and similarly personalized gear will improve your grip.

13.  Improve your shots.

Practice your shots over and over again, with the same dedication that Tiger Woods practices his golf swings.

14.  Improve your eating habits.

Begin eating a healthy diet. Avoid fast foods, alcohol, or anything else that diminishes your health and vitality.

15.  Improve your sleeping habits.

Always get a good night’s rest. Do whatever it takes to go to bed on time and to eat the right foods to make you feel sleepy.

Does It Work?

While most of these steps are common sense and it’s easy enough to dismiss them as interesting, the beauty of this training system is the synergistic effect on mind, body, emotions, and your sense of personal discipline. By building each of these small improvements into your day for 30 days, you will become a perfectly conditioned hockey player.

What are you waiting for?

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