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Preparing for a Holiday Tournament

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 12/20/16, 11:45AM EST

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Keep these tips in mind before heading out on the road

Even though there is a break from school, the holiday season can often be the busiest time on the calendar for hockey players. There are many teams looking for games and as a result, tournaments are a staple of any winter vacation. When you’re on the road it’s easy to lose track of time and snap out of your normal routine but you don’t want to find yourself scrambling at the last minute. Keep these tips in mind before heading out to your holiday hockey tournament.

Sleep

It can be tough to maintain a consistent sleep schedule during the holidays but it’s even more important if you’re on the road for a tournament. Hanging out with your friends is always fun but it’s crucial to get a good night’s sleep before the day of a game. A study by ParticpACTION revealed that sleep deprivation is a growing problem among Canadian youth and that younger kids need at least nine hours of sleep per night. Keeping time in front of a screen at a minimum can also help boost performance by getting a better night’s rest.

Homework

If you already know when your tournament is taking place it is easier to plan time to dedicate to finishing any homework assigned over the break. Balancing school and hockey can be tougher to do during the year but with the added time off because of the holidays there aren’t many excuses not to get the work done. Doing homework in the car on the way to a tournament can be an efficient time to complete it. View hockey as a reward for finishing your other responsibilities.

Nutrition

Kids spend less time outside during the winter months. It’s just a fact because of the weather. The lack of exposure to sunlight means kids can struggle to get enough Vitamin D. There are many foods that offer this important nutrient that can help player performance. Don’t let the cold temperatures hinder you from available alternatives.

Food

Tournaments mean that you could be playing more than one game a day. There are many ways for you to help your body recover in between whistles and one of them is making sure you give yourself enough fuel to perform. Eating properly can speed up recovery by up to three times. Planning ahead and making meals beforehand helps ease the stress of finding nutritious meals on the road. Foods such as trail mix and recovery shakes are easy and quick to make and are portable for a weekend tournament.

Equipment

The last thing you want to do is hit the road for a tournament and realize you forgot parts of your equipment. Pack as much as you can the night before so you don’t need to worry about anything last minute or are scrambling to find some gear. Airing out your equipment after a game is still important even when on the road. You may need to improvise a bit but you won’t regret it the next day. It also helps to eliminate some of the threat of bacteria forming.

Warming Up

Getting your body ready to hit the ice is very important in helping getting ready to compete and prevent injuries. Use simple items like tennis balls on the bottom of your feet and foam rollers for the lower body to help stretch out muscles and feet that are crucial to skating. Spend about a minute on each muscle group and you should be good to go in less than 10 minutes.

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