Training in progress
MONTREAL – Every hockey player knows the summer is no time to rest.
During the season, players hit the gym between games and practices to maintain their level of fitness. Once the season ends, the real work starts as NHLers spend long hours in the weight room packing on muscle to get bigger, stronger and faster.
“Summer is the time you improve your fitness level. The players take a few weeks off after the season to rest and recuperate then they get right back to training,” explained Canadiens strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard, who has been all over North America this summer giving the Habs one-on-one training sessions.
“I’m going back to work with Carey [Price] again for a week. Then I’ll head down New York then come back through Buffalo and Toronto to see more of the guys. The goal is to spend some time with them, meet their personal trainers and establish links with them,” shared Allard, who represented France on the ice in the 1998 Olympics and has been with the Canadiens for two seasons. “The personal trainers work for the players, but at the same time, in a way they kind of work for us, too. Getting to know the facilities they’re training in helps us follow our players better. It’s important to stay connected with them.”
In most gyms, a trainer’s job is to motivate and push his clients; Allard’s job is just the opposite.
“With the kind of players I have here, I don’t need to be the one giving them a kick in the pants; I’m the one there to tell them to back off a bit. If it were up to them, they would do too much. You have to find the right balance,” he mentioned.
With just a few months left until the start of training camp, the team’s fitness guru is looking forward to seeing his pupils’ summer regimes pay off this fall.
“It’s always nice to have some good surprises when the guys arrive for camp. And we don’t generally get many bad surprises,” admitted Allard. “The rigors of playing in the NHL make it impossible to show up to camp in bad shape because you won’t be able to keep up. The game is fast, the pace is quick and it’s physical. If a player isn’t ready, he won’t keep up. We give them the tools they need and after that, it’s up to them to use them.”
With the special attention Allard is giving each of his charges this summer, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
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