California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

From The Trainer’s Room: Preparing for hockey tryouts – what you need to understand


cp head shot 2016Tryout season can be almost as stressful as the regular season.

Players are jockeying for positions, coaches are searching for the right players to fill their squad and parents are trying to understand what would be best for their son or daughter. Leading up to tryouts, there are things players can do to make sure they are as prepared as possible for a good showing when the time comes.


Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is a big key in deciding how to prepare to compete at your best during this time of year. Speak with past coaches and coaches you wish to play for and get their opinion on what you need to work on. During pre-draft skates, compare yourself to some others. Look at what you feel you are good at and what you feel others may be better at. This will give you a good look at your strengths and weaknesses.

Now it’s time to work specifically on your weaknesses to make them your strengths. It may be your skating that needs improvement or your shooting or stickhandling that needs to be fine tuned. Schedule a lesson to work on these things to improve your game, but don’t think the lessons alone will make you better. You will need to work at it on your own. Go to public skate or stick time to hone your skills, stickhandle in the garage or go shoot at a local roller rink or home net. These are all ways to make your self better and, believe it or not, are done by most high-level players.

The next thing is to get stronger and faster off the ice. Whether you get involved with a formal off-ice program or start doing some strength and speed work on your own, this will be a big factor on your success. Improving your strength and power with resistance exercises will increase your acceleration on the ice and shot speed. Several research articles have correlated off ice speed to on ice speed, so work on some short sprint work of 10-20 yards. Add in some core strength and stability exercises to make you a more stable player on the ice that can hold off an opponent or help you win a battle in the corner. And don’t forget to spend some time on flexibility and mobility exercises to stay healthy once the season starts.

The tryout season can be stressful, but take a deep breath and put in the work to be prepared to compete at your best.

Chris Phillips is a certified athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist and owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Southern California. Chris was the athletic trainer for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Washington Capitals and 2002 Team USA Men’s National Team.

(June 27, 2018)

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