top of page

Battle Born Hockey School Pt. 3: Preparing for Camp

By Phillip Goodman

April 3, 2024

Reno Ice Raiders’ play-by-play broadcaster and team writer Phillip Goodman takes a deep dive into the Battle Born Hockey School in this five-part series. Part Three is a guide on how to prepare for three physically and mentally intense days of hockey training.

As a typical NHL season begins in October, the preparation to hit the ground running for game one begins long before that. Elite players start their grind in May and June (unless they're still alive in the competition for the Cup). So whether one is entering for an 82-game season or attending a three-day hockey camp, certain fitness and stamina goals must be met to meet the rigors and demands of such a marathon.

(Coach Ryan Drizen explains and demonstrates a drill to the camp participants)

For anyone that has never trained for a hockey season or a camp, a highly qualified person to learn techniques from is recently retired Ice Raider Ryan Drizen. Drizen earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in San Jose, CA in the spring of 2023. 

Ryan, the Battle Born Hockey School is less rapidly approaching. What should I start doing now to prepare for the camp?

First, cardio and endurance is a huge must. You want to be able to work hard every moment you're on the ice and get the most out of every single drill. Make some time to get into a gym or fitness center. Start with 30 minute distance runs to build the lungs. Get on the ice as much as you can before camp. At either end of game or warmup do the lines - red line to red line, a few times. Try to get faster, do more reps (before the zam kicks you off!).

Second, it's about overall strength, not just lower body but upper too. There are lots of different ways you can build upper body strength at home even if you don't have a gym to go. 

Third, is mobility. Don't go into the camp tight. Get in some stretching everyday. Focus on the hamstrings, quads and hip opening exercises that abduct and adduct. Don't forget about these muscles that people rarely use, like the IT bands and gluteus minimus to prevent an injury. And make sure to do more dynamic stretching before workouts. Dynamic stretching is incorporating body movements with the stretch to help prevent injury.

What if I'm coming to Reno for the camp and I don't live in the area?

If you can, come a couple days earlier and go for a few jogs to acclimate to elevation. Another good idea is to go for a long hike or trail run through some of the hills at elevation. The elevation of Reno is harder to skate in especially if you're coming from CA and lower levels.

So let's fast forward to two weeks before camp. How should I modify my routine?

Do more sprints. If you happen to live near a stadium or school track with bleachers, run those stairs. Do six to eight 100-meter hill sprints, or anything with enough room to go 6-9 seconds. Find a hill and conquer it - make it yours!

The week before the camp is all about mobility - everything cardio. If you're still hitting the gym, go lighter weight and higher reps. And do it loose - you want to be in total control of your motions. The day before the camp, take a day off. Do some light dynamic stretching and a light jog. 

Ryan, this is a ton of work! How do I properly fuel myself during this training and during camp?

Focus your diet on high protein and high carbs. Lean meats like fish and chicken and simple pastas. Don't be afraid to add some salt to your foods either. Most importantly, drink Lots of water, but not too much! Don't dilute your cells and muscle tissue of calcium, sodium, and potassium or you'll cramp up. One of my favorite heal-and-recover foods is a simple rotisserie chicken sandwich. Spring and summer are also good for the fruits. You want those natural sugars, not processed added sugars in energy drinks and baked treats. Everything is about stamina and endurance.

What's your favorite pre-game meal?

A chicken burrito about eight hours before game time, then chicken parm and pasta about four hours before game time.

What else should I do to get ready for those long days of camp?

Bring lots of water bottles and electrolyte packets. Bring a good attitude and be ready to have fun competing and doing your personal best out there. Take care of your body. Cardio is key.

In your four years playing with Adam Barba, Jeff Jiron, Weston Nash, and Simon Le Bleu did you ever see anything in them that led you to think, "Man, these guys are gonna make for great hockey coaches and instructors one day?"

Absolutely. They all bring passion, commitment, and love for the game and for the Ice Raiders. Plus each player/coach brings something unique, like a new technique or viewpoint. Barbs sees the game really well. He has a real knowledge and vision for the game. Simon is a real workhorse. Simon has so many good drills and teaching points. I would work out one-on-one with Simon and he would drive the intensity to a whole new level. He would notice things like, 'Keep your head up with the puck or change your weight on the shot.' With Simon, especially one-on-one you're gonna get in a competition about who's going to work harder or battle harder for the puck. Weston is so smart on both sides of defense and offense. He can really visualize the game. He's got more mental tools in the arsenal to become better at playing the game.


Sounds easier said than done? Maybe. Playing hockey at an elite level requires a tremendous amount of discipline and effort on and off the ice. Follow Ryan's guidelines and the instructions from the Battle Born Hockey School and you could find yourself out-battling and outlasting the competition.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page