Believe it or not summer is coming to an end and youth hockey season is already starting up. I know this past week I was in the hockey rink with other parents saying, “I can’t believe summer is over and we are already back here!” This season I’m helping out coaching my son’s team and, of course, my thoughts always go back to injury prevention strategies for the players.
I’m going to discuss here warm up strategies for youth hockey. Injury prevention for hockey is huge topic and please refer to USA Hockey for more extensive information related to topics such as proper equipment, playing technique, etc. Here I wanted to give you 3 quick and easy things you could have your youth hockey player do before they get on the ice to help reduce their likelihood for injury.
Hip and knee injuries are very common in the sport of ice hockey. Warm up exercises have shown to reduce injuries in other sports such as soccer, basketball and football. Yet hockey players tend to take the ice with little to no warm up.
Being the parent of a youth hockey player myself I understand that the reality is most often you will be rushing to get your kid to the rink on time and the kids are crammed into tiny locker rooms with little space to get their equipment on never mind have room to warm up. With that in mind here are 3 easy moves any hockey player can do with limited time and space before taking the ice.
Hip Flexor Stretch:
This simple stretch will warm up the muscle in front of the hip, a common place for injury in hockey. Perform this 3 X for 20-30 second hold each side.
2.) Groin Stretch
Another simple stretch that helps prep an area that is a common place for injury in hockey. Again this should be done 3 X for 20-30 seconds each side.
This last exercise is a great one to both get increased blood flow to muscles but also work on a movement pattern that is very helpful to hockey. ‘When squatting the athlete should focus on keeping their hips, knees and feet in line and sit back into their hips. This can be done with skates on prior to going out on the ice. 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions should be performed.
This is by no means a comprehensive warm up for ice hockey but these 3 simple moves can help both reduce the likelihood for injury and improve performance. Here’s to a healthy and fun hockey season for your youth athlete!