California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Hockey

From the Trainer’s Room: Sports performance training not just for improving performance


cp head shot 2016When we think of sports performance training, we think of getting faster, jumping higher and getting stronger so we can be better at our sport.


Though it is true, what can be forgotten is that we also train to prepare for the demands of the upcoming season. A solid sports performance program will address these needs by looking at the special demands of each sport, common injuries and include the little things that will help keep athletes healthy throughout the season.

Let’s be honest – squatting heavy weights, flipping tires and parachute sprints look really cool compared to hip mobility exercises and three-pound shoulder stabilization exercises, but these are just as important. Sports have turned into a tough business and a “what have you done for me lately” culture, even at a young age. Missing a couple of weeks for an injury gives a teammate a chance to shine and take your spot. This isn’t to say you should play through injuries or at all costs, but that proper preparation can help you get where you want to be.

So how do we address these issues to prepare for an injury-free season?

The program needs to look at general mobility and flexibility of all joints. Any limitations should be addressed throughout the program and be continued during the season. Common injuries in the sport need to be identified and addressed as well. For example, groin and hip flexor injuries in hockey are typically common. An injury prevention program for each injury should be included and continued during the season. Some examples of hip flexibility exercises include spidermans and inch worms and shoulder stability exercises can include prone dumbbell retractions and side-lying shoulder external rotations.

Goals involved in a sports performance program should be laid out prior to starting that address weaknesses, areas of improvement, injury history, specific needs of the sports being played and common injuries and how to prevent them.

Chris Phillips ATC, CSCS, is a former athletic trainer in the NHL with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Washington Capitals and currently owns Compete Sports Performance and Rehab.

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