Beep test fitness training for hockey players
The Beep test fitness test is a demanding fitness test used by lots of different groups around the world. For hockey players the beep test is highly relevant to the inherent fitness requirements of their sport.
During a hockey game players are required to run up and down along the playing field. Depending on the state of play, this running might be at a low speed and intensity or a high speed and high intensity. These movements reflect those of the beep test fitness test.
The beep test fitness test is an excellent measure of cardiovascular endurance fitness for hockey players. In fact the beep test not only provides players and coaches the opportunity monitor the fitness levels of individual players, but, in itself can provide an great training drill.
The beep test, when used as a training drill, rather than a stand alone fitness test can prove to be highly relevant and therefore valuable to the individual players and team.
The beep test training drills can be made highly specific by incorporating some advanced beep test concepts, which focus on those skills specifically relevant to the game of hockey.
An excellent advanced beep test training concept for hockey teams is to have players run the beep test whilst carrying their hockey sticks. This can be taken to the next level by have players dribble the hockey ball as well.
Naturally when players are carrying sticks and dribbling hockey balls one could expect the beep test fitness test results to be lower than when the test is performed without this equipment, however, the primary objective during this advanced beep test drill is not increased cardiovascular endurance. It is increased ball control and increased skill levels whilst under cardiovascular strain.
It’s very important to understand the objective of any training session and in turn what benefit is trying to be achieved. The beep test is a simple standalone fitness test that can provide hockey teams, coaches and players with an indication of Vo2max fitness, but, can provide so much more than that when additional skills based drills are incorporated.
Another great way to incorporate the beep test into hockey training sessions is to split players into 3 groups. Group 1 and Group 2 play hockey “keepings off” where the objective is not to score goals, rather, to maintain ball possession. A small playing area of maybe half the regular hockey field is best for playing “keepings off”. This ensures more emphasis is placed on skills rather than running or fitness.
Group 3 is doing the beep test whilst carrying their hockey sticks. Depending on the general fitness level of the playing group, coaches may decide to run the beep test commencing at level 8 and continuing through to the completion of level 10.
This would mean the running speed for Group 3 doing the beep test is increased to quickly increase the working heart rate. It would also limit the training cycles to 3 minutes. At the completion of level 10 Group 3 would now enter the “keepings off” game and the next group of players would take their turn to run the beep test from level 8 to level 10 at which point there would be a another rotation of through the training cycle.
The beauty of this hockey specific beep test fitness training drill is that coaches can changed the variables to suit the desired objective; for example, the size of the “keepings off” area or the beep test starting levels or the duration of the beep test.
The beep test fitness test is an excellent indication of Vo2max or cardiovascular endurance but it can also provide a great way to enhance training methods for hockey players and coaches at all levels.