The Most Overlooked Way to Boost Athletic Performance

The Most Overlooked Way to Boost Athletic Performance

Want to know the most overlooked way to boost athletic performance?

This little-known tactic has been proven to make you run faster, shoot with greater accuracy and just feel better overall in your daily life. 

So what is this performance-boosting magic pill I’m talking about? 

Is it a special weight room exercise? 

A brand-new training method you’ve never heard of? 

A secret supplement manufactured in an underground Soviet lab?

None of those things.

(If you’d rather watch than read about the most overlooked way to boost your performance… Check out the video below.)

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It’s sleep.

I know, I know… 

After having hyped up the potential benefits, and then revealing that to experience them you should sleep more… Well, it sounds so mundane, like a letdown. It’s not sexy and certainly not marketable.

But hear me out because what follows is VERY important.

As long as I could remember, and certainly ever since I was a young athlete, we have been told by our parents and the mainstream media that you need to sleep 8 hours per night to function properly.

And we always took that figure at face value. No questioning, no second guessing, nothing. Get 8 hours of sleep and you’re all set.

Well, turns out that advice is WRONG…

At least, when your goal is to THRIVE, not just survive, on the playing field.

You see, there’s some very interesting research published over the past decade that specifically looked at how sleep affects you in the context of improving athletic performance.

Researchers at Stanford University studied athletes from multiple sports – football, basketball, tennis and swimming. These athletes extended their sleep from around 8 hours per night to 10 hours and maintained this longer sleep schedule between 5 and 8 weeks. 

Wanna know what happened to the players’ performance?

I’ll tell you what happened…

Basketball players witnessed an increase of around 9% in free throw accuracy and 3-point field goal attempts. In addition, they significantly improved their sprint and reaction times. 

Football players improved their average 20-yard shuttle time by 0.1 seconds, and the same thing happened with their average 40-yard dash time.

While a tenth of a second may not sound like much, at the highest levels of competition it can literally be the difference between making or not making a play that leads to scoring a goal.

Ultimately, this one play can decide whether you win or lose the game.

Furthermore, Stanford University swimmers who partook in the study were able to shave a half a second off of their 15-meter sprints while also reacting quicker off the blocks and turning faster at the end of the pool.

Not surprisingly, sleeping more had a profound impact on the performance of Stanford's tennis players as well. By upping their daily sleep from 8 to 10 hours, they ran faster and increased accuracy when serving and hitting the ball.

And if those benefits listed weren’t enough, athletes who slept more also displayed greater mood and vigor, and less day-time fatigue.

What’s more, the same research group also investigated the effects of sleep DEPRIVATION on athletic performance.

A bunch of male cyclists limited their sleep to 4 hours per night for 3 nights straight.

The result? 

Sleep restriction negatively affected their performance. Their ability to produce maximal aerobic power decreased, and they reached exhaustion much faster than when following a regular sleep schedule. 

Now, think about what these research findings mean to you as a hockey player…

If you want to skate faster, shoot the puck with greater accuracy and score more goals…

Without running out of gas toward the end of a game…

While also feeling better on and off the ice in general…

Then sleeping more sounds like a no-brainer.

Just think about it…

How many of your teammates and opponents have got this part of their lives handled?

Based on my experience working with hockey players at all levels, I’d say a very, very small minority. This is GREAT news for you.

Why?

Because that means getting ample amounts of sleep could provide the edge that elevates your game above others. And it doesn’t take any extra effort on your part other than to go to bed earlier or stay there longer.

Now that we understand the importance of high-quality AND high-quantity sleep for hockey performance, how can you use this information to your advantage?

We’ll cover several practical ways to maximize your sleep in a future article, so stay tuned...

If you enjoyed this article, please do a brother a favor by liking, commenting and sharing it with others who might dig it as well.

Thanks!

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Yunus Barisik
 

Yunus Barisik, CSCS, is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for an elite junior hockey organization based in Espoo, Finland. He has trained hundreds of hockey players at the junior, college and pro levels, including NHL Draft picks and World Champions. An accomplished author, Yunus has had articles published on top fitness and performance sites, including STACK and Muscle & Strength. He also wrote Next Level Hockey Training, a comprehensive resource for ice hockey players on building athletic strength, size and power, while staying injury-free.

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