Tournament prep -building fitness.

Tournament prep -building fitness.

I have just returned from coaching my first high school hockey tournament. It was great fun but the girls really felt it by the end of the tournament. I want to offer guidance in the form of a fitness build up to the girls for next season but am not sure what my expectations should be. How fit should you be looking to get if you are preparing to play 7 50min games over 5 days? And what types of fitness should I be suggesting? Sprinting and Intervals along with Swimming are things I feel that could be introduced.

Ideally it needs to be accessable (not expensive or require special equipment), self managed (to an extent) and let it fit in with their daily rountine as best possible to give them the best chance to commit (i.e. I feel like suggesting they power walk to school rather than get dropped off will work better than asking them to join a gym to do the pelaton classes)

Any ideas? Or things that have worked in the past?

Hockey CoachCoach
Trent SampsonCoach, Australia

Hi Nicole - that is a how long is a piece of string question - Often school sides are put together with little prep time and fitness can be hard to introduce with littile inherent fitness obvious - 

The basic shuttle test to determine levels could be introduced to gauge where you are at with the team. Playing multiple sports helps.

Creating a programme with sufficient time is critical and three months would have to be considered a minimum time frame - to be prepared for a five game tournament - At least three sessions per week of Speed endurance training 

Sportplan TeamAdministrator, United Kingdom

Hello Nicole,

we thought this was a tricky question so we posted it a couple of weeks ago on our Facebook page and here is one the answers we received:

" It depends how much time before the tournament... If they are about to enter a tournament under 3-4 weeks away and the team's overall fitness and endurance is not ready for tournament play now, it most likely not get there. If I was in your spot I would have my team hit the pavement, break into two groups one group runs today, the other tomorrow and alternate until a week before the tournament. 45 min jog at a reserved pace is where I'd start then increase it by 5 min every other time that group goes out as long as it seems to challenge but not wear them out. At daily practice I would continue with plyometric drills and sprinting work but I would cut the laps other than the standard warm up amount. If it seems too much I would adjust practice to be more game-play than drills. I hope they are ready when time comes. Good luck."
Jilian Tobin

All the best,
The Sportplan Team

Hockey CoachCoach

Thanks :) I have been going to tournament for a few years now. What has been the most successful by far has been giving each game a km value. (I chose 3km after umpiring a few games with a gps watch on and running that distance just umpiring- If I`m doing that they must being doing at least that)

So knowing we`d be playing x amount of games per week which would be 3km long, I was encouraging them to do 3km runs whenever they didn`t have training, and getting them to warm up with 3km. (3km turned out to be quite a nice number because it is managable to do by yourself if you aren`t a natural runner) I had them snap chat and facebook pictures of their runs for pride and to remind everyone else over the weekend to do their runs and took the fittest I`ve ever taken to tourny this year :)

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