For many young hockey players around the country, the desire to take their game to highest level is a driving force behind their game day efforts. Yet what the player does during the regular season, may not be as important as what they do in the off-season.
No one knows this better than former Peterborough Pete Robert Francz.
Francz, who took his game to the professional level in his home country of Germany, has returned to Peterborough as a certified fitness specialist to assist those interested in taking their game to the next level.
“The key,” states Francz “is to maintain activity.”
Understanding and following a yearly training program is instrumental for an athlete to get the best out of themselves and their game, regardless of the level at which they compete. This doesn’t, however, translate to an athlete training non-stop seven days a week 12 months of the year.
The body requires a recovery or rest period to heal from the physical demands of the hockey season but low-level activity should be maintained during this phase to hold current fitness levels.
“There are so many things you can do,” says Francz. “Fitness is getting more and more unique.”
Swimming or other full body activities are important in addition to sport specific training for young athletes as their bodies are still growing. Focusing on specific areas could impact not only their performance, but their overall development.
Activities like lateral movements, sprints and jumping can also be added to conditioning as they are crucial to developing the necessary power movements associated with a player’s on-ice skills.
As important as the physical development of an athlete is, Francz is quick to point out that maintaining and improving hockey skills is important as well. Activities to increase reaction times and hand eye coordination shouldn’t be overlooked.
“They still have to find the man and make the plays” reminds the former Pete.
When considering the addition of a strength and conditioning routine, both athletes and parents should take the goals of the athlete into consideration. Players dedicated to one sport will have different goals and needs than those who are multisport athletes and haven’t made a commitment to one particular activity.
Consulting a fitness consultant like Francz to understand the dos and don’ts of conditioning and training can assist both athletes and their parents in making the proper choices for development and overall fitness.
Francz played for the Petes from 1996-98 with stints in the AHL, ECHL before back to back knee injuries ended his career with the Fuchse Duiburg team in Germany in 2007. More information on his services will be available soon.