While certain training elements -- like developing a strong core -- are important no matter what age or sport, training a 9-year-old hockey player to succeed isn't remotely the same as training a 22-year-old football player. My approach to sport-specific training goes well beyond just taking my clients through the same motions that replicate what they see in practice and in games.
An ice hockey goalie doesn't need as an intense of an upper body workout as an offensive lineman in football. That football player, however, would still benefit from some of the same agility and mobility drills I'd toss at a goalie. (For Goalie Academy/Progressive Hockey Development clients, I work with their staff to set up a custom-fit off-ice program.) We have the knowledge at AJP Training to develop the right exercise protocol for any sport.
Here's a breakdown of my approach by age:
Ages 8-12: This is where AJP Training stresses the basics -- all while keeping it fun. Little to no weights are used for this age group. Rather, we focus on body weight, mobility, cardio and flexibility drills that keep the young athlete engaged. Beyond helping these young clients perform better at their given sport, we will also try to establish solid habits that will carry him or her throughout their entire lives -- even if they don't go pro.
Ages 13-15: The drills get more intense and layered here, as does the emphasis on injury prevention by incorporating yoga/pilates techniques. Explosive exercises (often using box jumps, the slideboard and the sled) are thrown at the athlete. We utilize more suspension training (see the video above) to develop strength and power. To increase cardiovascular output, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is also introduced.
Ages 16-18: In some cases, this is the final push toward that college scholarship. Even if that's not the case, we step up the intensity of the workouts and put focus on the specific parts of the young client's game/body that are lagging. Cardio workouts becomes more extreme. Rest intervals are shorter. Joint flexibility exercises become more crucial as clients put more stress on their bodies during in-game situations.
Adults: This could mean a college athlete looking to up their game. If that's the case, we pay particular attention to muscle endurance, strength and speed. Complex training -- which takes a client through a series of resistance training exercises with little rest -- is often implemented. We pay even closer attention to mobility and flexibility here with an eye on injury prevention, Of course, somebody in this age group could also mean a beer league hockey player who is winded after a couple shifts. Whatever the goal, AJP Training has it covered.