Benefits of Tension Free Hockey
The benefits of Tension Free Hockey are endless but overall lead to better results, more fun and increased performance!
By playing tension free you are activating only the muscles you need when you need them, which saves them and keeps them fresh for when the time comes. Making you more efficient and leading to less fatigue
When your muscles are relaxed you are able to take advantage of your bodies natural elasticity leading to greater force production with less effort.
Think of throwing a punch and flexing the entire time, it would be slow, weak and consume a lot of energy. Versus, throwing a punch with your arm relaxed, almost like a whip, it would be fast and powerful.
More Agile and Faster
A tense body lacks agility! In order to move quickly and fast you must start from a place of relaxation, because in order for your muscles to re-fire, they first need to relax.
Try this - Flex your legs as hard as you can then try to make a quick side step… notice that your legs have to first relax in order for you to move.
When your default is a place of relaxation you eliminate the pause between contracting and relaxing so you can be faster and more agile!
Tension in the body increases the risk of injuries. Relaxed muscles are more flexible and less prone to strain or tear during intense gameplay. Thus, you can play the game you love for longer!
Better Hockey IQ
Your brain has a limited amount of processing or computing power, the more tension you hold in the body and mind the more you are using those limited resources that should be going to processing your environment and making decisions. (Simplified explanation)
Think about trying to solve a simple math equation like 5+7 while doing a max deadlift vs doing it relaxed in the comfort of your own room
When you're playing tension free you are able to see the ice better, have greater field of vision, process information quicker, think clearer and overall make better decisions on the ice.
Overall, stress clouds your judgment and dilutes your senses leading to poor decisions and poor in game results.
Greater Emotional Stability
When you're relaxed, you're less likely to become frustrated or angry, and thus keep your emotions in check during the game.
This allows you to enjoy the game, have better interactions with teammates, opponents, and maintain a positive attitude throughout the game.
Tension Free does not mean no tension. But knowing when to apply "tension" or muscular contract and when not to.
In the punch example, you wouldn't hit someone with a limp wrist. However, for 99% of the strike the arm is relaxed. Only at the moment before contact do you contract, giving you a hard and powerful punch.
Now apply the same logic to shooting, skating and stick handling and soon you'll be playing true Tension Free Hockey!
The problem is due to the nature of hockey, most players are way way to tense. Thus, by focusing on eliminating all tension and being as relaxed as possible, you natural fall into that ideal zone.
The mind and body work as one. A tense body will lead to a tense mind and vice versa!
To play true Tension Free, you need to relax both your body and your mind!
It's important to cultivate a balance between competitiveness and relaxation, ensuring that you're both physically prepared and mentally focused, yet able to let go of unnecessary tension to optimize your performance and overall enjoyment of the game.
This takes practice!