The Hockey Canada Skills Academy at Windsor Secondary School in North Vancouver, B.C., wanted another option to train for hockey, and it went a little outside the box with Boxfit.
Students spent three sessions working on foot speed, quick hands and endurance; after a minute of sparring players were exhausted, and had a whole new appreciation for conditioning after a unique experience.
Cross-training between boxing and hockey is in no way, shape or form intended to promote violence or aggression on the ice. In a boxing-based fitness regimen, learning how to fight is secondary to learning mental toughness and discipline, as well as the physicality, skill and conditioning necessary for peak performance in the ring and on the ice.
Plain and simple, some players love to give hits in a game, but they can lose control of their emotions when they hit or get hit. Boxing helps players learn to control their emotions.
Boxers are trained to walk a tightrope between having the intense emotion necessary to perform at near maximum effort and the sense of calmness required for tactical thinking. This mental control translates as self-discipline, courage and confidence while on the ice.
The physicality and conditioning of boxing training can add variety and intensity to on-ice and dryland workouts. A recent ESPN study concluded that hockey is the most demanding team sport in the world.
However, boxing was given the highest overall individual mark based on ESPNs 10 criteria: endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, nerve, durability, hand-eye coordination and analytic aptitude.
One of these criteria – endurance – stands out in boxing training. No other sport requires the length of intense physical endurance followed by such a short recovery period. Hockey players recovering from high-intensity bursts that occur within a game benefit from the same endurance training that is fundamental in boxing. An athlete who actively participates in boxing training will recover faster and more efficiently between shifts than those who don’t.
This concept follows the philosophy of the Hockey Canada Skills Academy at Windsor Secondary School – to expose players to many different forms of training, being able to read and react more calmly under pressure, building confidence, courage and self-discipline, and reaching the highest levels of personal athleticism.