5 “HACKS” To Dominate Your Hockey Tryouts

In this article, I’m going to teach you the five keys that you need to have in check in order to dominate at both tryouts and camps. 

Before you dive in, I want you to head over here and put your name in the hat so that you’re the first to know when the brand new in-season programs go live. 

Following the steps found in this article are going to allow you to crush your tryouts and camps, but, I want to make sure you crush all of your goals this in-season and be the most explosive hockey player out on the ice. Click here and let’s lock that in!  

With that said, let’s get into the 5 keys that are going to separate you from the competition this year. 

#1: Nutrient Timing

Nutrient timing represents an area of science largely popularized by Jonathan Ivy’s work in the early 2000s when he compiled a large amount of data and wrote a lay-persons guide on how athletes can use certain nutrients at specific times throughout the day to get an advantage over their competition. 

Although the book was almost exclusively based on endurance training (as that was mostly all the data that was available at the time) it still opened up a new way of thinking for coaches and athletes in how they approach their pre, intra, and post-game strategies. 

This science is very deep now as intense physical activity brings about slight shifts in hormones, electrolytes, and neurotransmitters that all play a role in optimal performance. 

However, what’s most important to understand is the importance of fast-digesting carbohydrates for hockey performance. 

To put it simply, hockey is a glycolytic sport. Meaning, the body primarily utilizes carbohydrates as its primary fuel source out on the ice for both nervous system and muscular system power and endurance.

Because of this, and because camps/tryouts demand you be physically active two or even three times per day — the speed of recovery is critical.  

If you have two on-ice sessions in a day you better focus on consuming the right nutrients after your first session so that you can enter the second session a fully recovered version of yourself. 

Fast-digesting carbohydrates are your weapon of choice here. I highly recommend consuming 20-40g of supplemental carbohydrates for every hour on the ice, and 1g of carbohydrates per kilo of body weight immediately after your on-ice session(s). 

Your on-ice carbohydrates would ideally be an easy-to-digest blend of fast-acting carbohydrates as well as electrolytes, this is my go-to blend that I prefer my high-level athletes use during important games, practices, camps, and tryouts. 

As far as what you should eat immediately after the ice, any fast-digesting carbohydrate will do. 

White rice, white pasta, ripe bananas, rice cakes, or more supplemental carbohydrate powder all work very well here. 

For more information on EXACTLY how to dial this in, I highly recommend you check out these three video resources we have done on the topic.

Quick Pre-Game Meal Ideas

What To Drink During Hockey

Quick Post-Game Meal Ideas

#2: Hydration

After oxygen, water is the most important substance in the human body. It is a necessary component for nearly every single chemical reaction, acting as a solvent and transport medium.

There’s a big reason why your body is about 70% water, both performance-based and essential health processes require it.

Zooming out from the cellular level, water helps to cool down the body and dissipate heat which is crucial towards delaying the onset of exercise-induced fatigue. 

It also helps to remove waste products from the body that can cause us to be less healthy, but also cause us to fatigue quicker than we otherwise would during physical activity.

As you will find below, even slight dehydration within the body can create negative implications for both health and performance.

In almost all cases, by the time you actually feel thirsty you are already dehydrated to some degree. The very signal of thirst is a clear indicator that it is already too late, and your body is demanding action from you in order to fix this problem.

This makes pre-planning your hydration strategies crucial as proper hydration pre, during, and post-workout/game will in large part determine the quality at which you are able to perform on any given day. 

These strategies become even more critical when you realize that heavy sweaters performing exercise in the heat can lose up to two quarts of sweat per hour while the small intestine can only maximally absorb 1 quart of water per hour.

To utilize these absorption rates to their ultimate potential it’s advantageous for us to consume not only just water but electrolytes, carbohydrates, and amino acids as well, as they all work together in their own way to drive optimal hydration in hockey athletes.

So, the big question is…

How much water should hockey players be drinking?

To make a long story short, you should be aiming for half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. 

For example, a 200lbs individual would consume 100oz of water per day… not including his/her ice time.

100oz of water per day for the above example individual would be their “baseline” anything consumed on the ice would be a necessary add-on due to fluid/electrolyte loss on the ice. 

Do your calculation and then do your best to hit this target during tryouts and camps, your performance depends on it. 

To dive deeper into this topic and really dial in your hydration strategy, I highly recommend you take a moment to listen to this podcast I recorded for you. 

Hydration For Hockey Players

#3: Sleep

Ensuring your sleep length and sleep quality are optimal each and every night is of crucial importance towards reaching your hockey potential. 

Poor sleep has been linked to reduced reaction time, increased stress, increased cravings for junk food, increased risk for injury, hormonal imbalances, and much more. 

Conversely, sleeping well every night will reverse all of those things and then provide you many more benefits on top of it. 

I like to think about hockey performance like a stool with four legs on it:

  1. Lifestyle/Behavior
  2. Training
  3. Nutrition
  4. Sleep 

What happens when you knock one of the legs out from under a stool?

The whole thing collapses — the structure will not stand without the foundation in place. 

Sleep is an independent factor that can make or break your hockey performance. Use these tips to maximize the revitalization and restoration you get each night leading up to tryouts and camps:

#4: Routine

The idea of introducing a new “secret” is extremely attractive on the surface to many athletes when it comes time to something as important to them as camps/tryouts. 

Inside their head they have this idea that all they need is something new to unlock their true capability. 

The huge problem here though is that most of the time these athletes have never taken this “secret” for a test drive first before the big day comes. 

I have had many athletes (even superstar professionals who should know better) ask me questions along the lines of…

Hey Coach, can I take this new energy drink before tryouts?

Hey Coach, I’m going to do this new warm-up before camps. It looks super sweet! What do you think?

Hey Coach, Bauer came out with a new stick! Going to take this baby out with me for camps! 

Hey Coach, I found a cool new pre-game meal recipe. Going to give this a shot about an hour or so before puck drop. Sound good?

Sure, these all sound like harmless suggestions, but let me turn this back around and ask you a question.

Why on earth would you introduce something brand new right before the most important event of the year? 

You have no idea how your body is going to respond.

What if that energy drink makes you crash?

What if that warm-up tweaks your back? 

What if that new piece of equipment ruins your flow out on the ice? 

What if that new recipe bloats you? 

My rule when it comes to key #4 is to keep your pre-game routine filled with items and activities that have predictable outcomes. 

You need to know with a high degree of certainty that everything you do leading up to puck drop has a predictably positive outcome on how you play. 

Anything less is just guessing, and you don’t want to guess when it comes to your hockey future.

Need an awesome routine? Check out Kevin’s and you’ll find some great ideas you can try to implement before the day of your camps and tryouts. 

The Best Pre-Hockey Routine

#5: Mindset

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

This quote by Aristotle is one of the most powerful messages I have ever come across.

Making excellence a habit in your mind and then in your actions is a game plan that will never fail you.

Once excellence becomes a habit, performing well in hockey is something that just flows and comes to you naturally, rather than you needing to chase it nervously.

Habits create ease and simplicity because you never have to think about something that is habitual.

Therefore, continual excellence creates a calm yet calculated hockey performance.

There is a visually apparent “calm in the storm” that the all-time greatest hockey players had/have when out on the ice…

No matter how much pressure was placed upon them, they still consistently remained level-headed and didn’t panic in the moment.

When teaching this to my athletes to raise their performance to the next level, I consistently refer back to the idea of hurrying slowly.

Hockey players with the excellence mindset perceive their interests as challenges, they get motivated by new challenges in the sport and do not carry with them the “fear of failure” mindset when taking on a new task.

Inner-excellence is a habit, and when practiced regularly, you will develop a very high level of self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-image.

You have the “can do” attitude that a lot of us coaches preach, and this “can do” attitude provides you the willingness needed to prepare, invest, and sacrifice whatever is necessary because you realize there are no shortcuts to hockey success.

Playing the blame-game isn’t even a thought that comes to mind to those with the excellence mindset because you want to go the extra mile just to find out what’s there.

The challenge is invigorating, not exhausting.

Working on your inside will always show on the outside. Inner-excellence is your vehicle to committing to yourself honestly and productively.

Within yourself, you’re fair, honest about your effort, realistic about your character, and honest about your circumstances.

You have self-awareness in a self-supporting way.

I have written many articles and recorded many videos on building the perfect hockey mindset. Starting here would be perfect for you to get some momentum going.

Want to fast track your mental game?

Then check out the exclusive Bulletproof Hockey Mindset tracks we have reserved for the members of the Hockey Skills Accelerator (or get access through our In-Season Training Programs). 

Mastering All Five Keys

This article contains a ton of actionable information. 

I didn’t want to hold any punches on this one because I want you to be the best possible version of yourself out on the ice this year. 

If you’re somebody who benefits from visual learning as well, watch this video as I recap this entire article in what I would refer to as the “crash course on dominating tryouts/camps”

How To Dominate All In-Season Long

Now that you know exactly how you’re going to dominate tryouts and camps, it’s time to get to work on having the best in-season of your life this year. 

The brand new in-season programs will be live very soon and you can sign up to be the first one to know about it here

Without a doubt, this is the most advanced in-season program I have ever designed. It will help you…

➜ Increase your leg power and explosiveness so you can skate faster and fly by opponents on the ice…

➜ Improve your strength, coordination, and balance so you are stronger on the puck and win every puck battle (even against guys twice your size)…

➜ Have unstoppable conditioning so you’re full of energy every shift and can skate at 100% all game long…

➜ Become a reliable scorer and accurate shooter who can put the puck anywhere on the net (with a new powerful shot that will make goalies nervous)

➜ Unlock new mobility, flexibility, and agility so you can move with ease, prevent injuries, and have the edge work to skate circles around your competition…

➜ Skyrocket your confidence and become the “go-to” player that leads your team to victory and makes scouts sit up and take notice…

If you’re serious about taking things to the next level, trust me when I tell you that now is the time. 

Join the team here and let’s get you playing at your highest level yet! 

Final Thoughts

It was my intention with this article to give you the top 5 things that I consider “must-knows” when it comes to the specific context of performing your best at tryouts and camps.

I hope you learned something here and are better equipped to go out on the ice and totally blow away all of the coaches and scouts that will be watching you. 

Keep us up to date on how you did and let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below.

Let’s go! 

Written by
Dan Garner
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