GTP TV: Ep 21 – The Unsung Training Variable

Hey gang, welcome to Goalie Training Pro TV, episode number 21. I’m not going to tell you the topic, ’cause you’re going to have to work for it a little bit. We’re talking about a training variable that gets so neglected, that I don’t even think you’ll think of it.

So what I want you to do right now is get a piece a paper and a pen or a pencil, and you’re going to write down every single training variable that you could work on that’s going to help you be a better goalie on the ice. It can be on-ice training, off-ice training. Write down every single thing that you need to look after if you’re going to be the best that you can be. And I bet you you’re going to miss this one. Don’t worry, we got time. I’ll wait. I got all the time in the world. Away you go!

Get your pen and paper ready! And check out the video on YouTube here >>

Okay, let’s see how you did.

So what did you come up with? Let’s run through your list. I’m going to guess.

I’m guessing you came up with strength training, speed training, flexibility, stamina… you probably said agility. Some of you probably got nutrition, which is another great variable. You don’t think of it as a training variable, but it really, it is. It has a big impact. On-ice, your tactics, your technique, even your equipment, that definitely isn’t a training variable, but it would have an impact. Some of you probably came up with that.

But I’m wondering how many of you came up with this variable. REST.

So I had an email actually just this week of a goalie that … I haven’t worked with him yet, but apparently they play really well, has some fantastic opportunities, this is a big summer, so they sent their schedule.

And it was like, “And then I’m going to go work out from this time to that time, and then I’m going to go do a Hot Yoga class, and then I’m going to go and go for a run. And then I’m going to go and … ” The solution to the problem was volume.

I think we really need a mind shift, that more is not the answer. So doing more isn’t the solution, that it can actually make things worse. That’s where a lot of you get into frustration and pain, because in your mind … Logically you’re thinking, “Well, I’m doing everything. Like I work harder than anybody and still I don’t make the team.” Or, “I’m getting injured all the time.” Or, “I’m just not fast.” And you start to think that that’s just as good as you can be, when really it’s because you’re doing too much.

Even if it’s all really, really good stuff, it’s just too much. Our bodies aren’t … they are sort of machines, but they’re not literal machines like a car that you just put in gas and drive, drive, drive. Even a car needs regular maintenance.

So you want to almost … I hate to say lazy, ’cause we don’t want to be lazy, but your goal, and my goal, is to help you get the maximum benefit with the minimum input. That is the best training program. The best training program isn’t the hardest program, isn’t like going out and doing an Ironman triathlon every single day. It’s finding that exact right dose.

It’s so hard, because even you watch almost any hockey game, or any goalie that is performing really well, and what do the commentators talk about? “Oh, and he’s such a hard worker, and he works so hard.” And, “I watched his warmup and it was so hard.” It’s like… that’s not the answer.

So let’s look at it. Every exercise you do in the gym has a purpose and a desired outcome. Your rest should be the same. It should be purposeful and a desired outcome. It isn’t just like, “Well, rest is what I do at the end of the day when I have all my other stuff done.”

So I think the first thing I see, especially … I see it in adult goalies, but especially teenage goalies, a bedtime. You guys don’t get to bed at a regular time, at a reasonable time. You’re up so late. And some of it’s like, “Well, I’ve got so much homework to do.” Yes, I know there are times when you’ve got homework or you have a game or something like that. But also, there’s so much more distraction.

When I was a kid in the dark ages, if one of my friends wanted to talk to me, or my boyfriend wanted to talk to me after bedtime, they had to call the Mountain family house and have my dad pick up the phone, who would be pissed, because my dad would go to bed at 10:00. And if you woke my dad up, you’re never getting out of the bad books for that guy. So you’re going to call, you’re going to talk to my dad who’s angry at you now, and ask, “Could I please speak with Maria?” That’s not happening.

So once it’s bedtime, that’s it. There’s no Facebook or texting or anything like that. So you need to learn to do that. I still do that. My mobile devices do not come into the bedroom. Sometimes I read before bed – I read a book, or I read my Kindle. But I don’t have anything I can Instagram or Facebook, or anything like that.

So have a regular bedtime, you’re not always going to nail it, but have a regular bedtime.

Schedule one day off per week. And I was like you, when I used to ski race, like I’d pride myself in, “I’m working so hard. And oh, I haven’t a day off training in seven months, because wow, I’m so … ” But I wasn’t the best skier. Have a day off every week.

Your body gets stronger when it’s resting. When we work out, we cause micro-trauma to our muscles, little tears literally to our muscles. When we get stronger is when we give our body time to rebuild and repair. We can’t be building up and repairing at the same time we’re tearing down.

Imagine if we were building an apartment building, and on one side Sarah’s there putting up bricks, putting up bricks. On the other side, I’m like just pulling them down. Like it’s never going to work. So we need to have time when we can get our rest, get our fuel, which is where your nutrition comes in, and then rebuild and repair. That’s how we get stronger.

So regular bedtime, one full day off per week to just … and you can go golfing or bike riding with your friends, whatever, but you’re not training in the gym.

And then, have a strategic training plan so that it’s set up that when you’re training speed is when you’re the freshest. It’s strategically planned throughout the week. So it’s not like, “Okay, I’m going to do a heavy leg workout on Monday morning, and then on Monday afternoon, I’m going to go out and do my speed training.”

It’s not going to work, ’cause your legs are fatigued. So you’re not going to maximize the benefit. You need to separate those so that the muscles, to some extent, and the energy system get a rest, and then you’re maximizing your benefits.

It sounds really … to me it sounds easy for you to discount. “Yeah, yeah. But you know what? I got where I am by working hard, and I’m going to keep working hard.”

Okay well, when I talk to NHL strength coaches, NCAA strength coaches, their teams are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in tools like Catapult and other systems that monitor an athlete’s workload and output. What they’re using that information to see is not so much, “Oh, this guy isn’t working hard enough. Let’s make him work harder.” What they’re trying to see is, who’s working too hard?

There are some people who genuinely are lazy, but mostly when you ask what we ask athletes in here, “Hey, how are you feeling? How’s your fatigue level?” “I’m good, I’m good,” you know, ’cause you want to work. So they invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in these systems that will show physiological measurements that, “Hey, you know what? This player needs to have today off.” Or, “We need to change this player’s workout to bring the intensity down, because they’re not getting the recovery they need.”

So it’s like everything. In three years, probably everyone will be talking all about rest. And you’ll be thinking, “Geez, I wish I had known that.”

So how can you know if you need more rest? Well, it’s a little bit hard to know. So part of it is just setting up a good plan and doing the things, like a preventative maintenance.

Other things, tools you can use, there’s a thing called heart rate variability, and there are some apps you can use. Some of them work with a Polar heart rate monitor, which some of you may have. What heart rate variability is, is it measures the variability in the time between beats. So if we just go on our neck, we feel our heart bump, bump, bump. But what it measures is, there’s little micro-differences in the times between those beats. It’s not perfect, and the more variable that is, the more it can tell us whether we’re in a sympathetic or a para-sympathetic state.

If we’re in a sympathetic state, it means we’re still kind of in that fight or flight state, so that we’re not getting a good recovery. And that might tell us, “Hey, you know, we should maybe change things up a little bit.” Or, “Maybe I need to take a day off.” So that’s one way that’s pretty objective.

An easier way than using a heart rate variability app is just monitor your heart rate first thing in the morning. So when you wake up, ideally without an alarm, but most of us get up with an alarm. But when you wake up, before you get out of bed, just get your watch, check your pulse. Take for pulse for … I like it if you do it for 30 seconds. If you do it for 15 seconds and multiply it by four, there’s four beats of error you can get on either side. So that could be eight beats of error.

So just do it for 60 seconds, count the beats, and write it in your training log.

It doesn’t really matter what the number is, what matters is how it changes over time. So let’s say you wake up every morning, your resting heart rate’s 56. You know, 56. One day it’s 54, 55, 58. Now all of a sudden it’s like 70, or 68 for a couple of days. That suggests, too, that you’re getting a little bit overreaching, and that you maybe need to take a day off.

Pen and paper. So you can just write in your training journal. How many hours did you sleep? Rate your mood. How hard your workout felt. (This isn’t really recovery, this is hydration, but I’m sneaking it in). What colour is your pee? Is your pee like the color of pale lemonade, or it darker than that? If it’s darker than pale lemonade, you need to drink more, which is another key element of recovery. And did you eat breakfast?

So you can write down those things. Really the first three are a little more to do with your rest and recovery, the other two are just nutrition and hydration. And then again, you track that over time. So if you find that, “Geez, usually I’m a … mood, I’m a five out of five, or a four out of five. And for the last week, I’ve been sort of a two or a three. How much am I sleeping? Well, normally I’m getting seven and a half hours of sleep, but because of school or whatever, for the last couple of days, I’ve only been getting five.”

And then you can start to see those correlations. Just something that helps you appreciate the importance of getting your rest.

So top two strategies, regular bedtime and having a structured, strategic plan in terms of having one day off per week. And I don’t care if you do mobility on that day. You can or can’t, that’s fine, but not structured training. And sort of how your training cycles through the week, so that it’s not just every day bagger, bagger, bagger, bagger.

I think that’s it. This has been Goalie Training Pro TV, episode 21.

If you’re one of the people who actually got rest as a training variable, give a thumbs up. If you like the post, give a thumbs up. If you have a comment, leave it below. I read every single one of them, and I answer them all. Even if you have a topic that you’d like to see me cover in another episode of Goalie Training Pro TV, just type it in there and I’ll put it in the books.

See you gang.