It reminded me of a skier that I raced with back in the day.
Her race results weren’t great and she was tired, so she took time off because she thought it might be over training.
After the time off… her performance was worse… she took more time off… performance got worse. Do you see where this is going?
Let me explain…
I was talking with one of you about a month ago and you told me how you thought you were overtraining and that you should take a break from your off-ice training.
I had to agree.
If you are overtraining, you need to find a way to lower your workload which can be tricky during the season. You can’t really skip practice because you are feeling tired at most levels.
The goalie told me how he was feeling tired and how his performance was in decline. He had strung together a few bad games in a row, he felt slower and less responsive than he was at the start of the season.
Yes, all those things sound like they could be due to overtraining.
Then I asked for his training logs.
The first issue was that he didn’t have any of those.
If you are serious about your training and maximizing your gains, then you keep track of what you are doing. This is how you can see very quickly where you are making gains, where you are stuck, how you have developed from season to season.
He didn’t keep a training log, but he was able to tell me about his off-ice training.
He went to the gym once per week.
He did ‘stretches’ three times per week.
He had two practices and 1-2 games per week.
So why was his performance in decline and why was he tired all the time.
After asking a few more questions the answer was clear.
#1 – He had been very diligent with his off-season training, he started the season with a BANG … but you have to work to keep your gains. You can’t just do your off-season training and hold those benefits for the entire season. Your body will start to lose the strength, speed, power and mobility that you built with diligence if you stop doing the work.
That’s not to say that you do the SAME training during the season that you do during the off-season. You must adjust your volume and intensity, but you still have to put in the work at least 2-3 times per week depending on your practice/game schedule.
#2 – He didn’t have a regular sleep schedule. He realized that he was wasting a lot of time after school (with a 60-90 minute nap) and after dinner (looking at you video games) and then he would start his homework in a panic around 9pm (when he should have been starting to unwind before bed). Then he would be getting to bed between 11:30pm-1:30am most nights. With a 6am wake up, it is not surprising that he was tired.
Your body likes to have a rhythm and when your bed time fluctuates over a 2+ hour window, it is hard for your body to find that rhythm. That makes it harder to fall asleep and harder to get your deep sleep.
The next step was to have a chat about the priority.
Is hockey the priority or were video games or naps the priority?
When he said hockey was his priority, that dictated his actions.
When hockey is the priority he chooses his actions based on what will help him stop more pucks. That means a minimum of two workouts in the gym per week (this is the program he is following now), five mobility sessions per week (they are included in this program) and a regular bed time of 10:30pm. He wanted 11pm and I wanted 10pm, so we compromised on 10:30pm 🙂 .
There will always be ups and downs. And when you have a prolonged down period, it makes sense to change something, but you have to take an objective look at your actions and go for the low hanging fruit to get things back on track.
Beware of the knee jerk reaction. What seems to ‘make sense’ may be the wrong thing to do.