Yoga is a long-established training method used by athletes across many sports. There are are several different styles, but the one that is most popular for sportspeople is Hatha. Here are 10 reasons why hockey players should practice yoga.
- Hockey players need to be flexible, and Hatha makes you more flexible. The game consists of a series of twists and lunges, which are more easily and safely performed by athletes with good flexibility levels. On top of this, if your calves and ankles have a greater range of movement, it is likely that you will be able to skate faster.
- Hatha improves balance. Many poses require excellent balance if they are to be held. And this can only help in a sport like hockey where complex manoeuvres need to be executed whilst moving at speed on ice, balanced on narrow metal blades.
- Core strength can be significantly improved through Hatha. If a hockey player has a strong core, they will be able to control their movements on the ice better. More controlled, precise movements will contribute to greater accuracy and efficiency on the ice; for example, in reaching for the puck when checking.
- The improvements in flexibility, balance and core strength which Hatha brings contribute towards protecting players from injury. The likelihood of muscle strains in the limbs is reduced, but most significantly, the back, which undergoes a lot of strain in hockey, is protected. In addition, muscle soreness after matches and intensive training sessions tends to be lower where Hatha is practiced.
- Hatha, or other styles, can enhance focus and help players to become calmer. Some types of yoga include a significant element of meditation. And this can help players to shut out external factors which could distract them during matches.
- Many NHL and AHL teams incorporate Hatha into their training programs. The Capitals and Maple Leafs, for example, have publicly described their program.
- Hatha is for everyone, however tough they may think they are. Enforcer Jared Boll initially started using it to address a long-term back problem, but found that not only did it help him with this, but it improved his balance and stability significantly.
- Hatha requires self-discipline and determination, especially in terms of learning new skills, and maintaining difficult poses. Constantly challenging these qualities helps to develop them, and both are very helpful to hockey players who wish to reach a higher level.
- Hatha can help to improve reaction time. A player who is very focused and self-aware will react more quickly to important developments on the ice.
- Hatha assists players in sleeping better, which makes them fresher for the next match or training session. The calm, relaxed mentality that it encourages is ideal for enjoying a good night’s sleep.
Why Hockey Players should practice Yoga
If yoga is practiced by top players like Ryan O’Reilly, Ryan Getzlaf or Joe Thornton, and has so many benefits, why would any ambitious hockey player who has seen these 10 reasons not want to incorporate it in their training program? A good way to start is to subscribe to an online class or download a program. Need more reasons why hockey players should practice yoga? Look at Yoga for Hockey Players!
Here you find some more insights:
- Why Yoga Is Crucial For Off Ice Hockey Training
- How Yoga Improves Your Hockey Player Body
- How Yoga Can Make A Difference In Hockey Training
- 2 Points Why Yoga Is One Of The Best Hockey Workouts Off Ice: Balance & Endurance