Some Strength and Conditioning coaches who work with hockey players seem to believe that dryland conditioning work is more important than the development of strength and power, and that it should form the majority of an athlete’s training volume.

While it is true that an adequate level of conditioning is essential for team sport athletes such as hockey players, two factors need to be considered.

First, hockey is primarily an anaerobic sport requiring a series of brief efforts involving very high power outputs alternated with longer periods of much lower levels of intensity and rest. It is not really an endurance sport at all.

Second, hockey players get a significant amount of conditioning work from their regular on-ice practices, which largely takes care of their basic conditioning requirements.

A key point that these conditioning oriented coaches seem to forget is that if a player is not fast enough or powerful enough to achieve a certain level of athletic performance even once, more conditioning and endurance is not going to help them at all. If a player cannot perform effectively at their desired level of performance during the first period or first quarter, worrying about how they are going to perform at the end of the game is premature.

Developing the required level of conditioning and endurance for hockey is relatively easy and can be improved significantly in a relatively short period of time with proper training.

Developing impressive levels of strength and power takes longer and demands a specific knowledge base on the part of the Strength and Conditioning coach in order to implement the required work safely and effectively. Those who lack this technical knowledge often rightfully shy away from exercises and methods with which they are not comfortable and proficient.

It is in the athletes best interests to find someone who can help them focus on getting stronger, more powerful, and more technically proficient first and then add on the necessary conditioning work in the weeks prior to training camp!