TPS Turku ice hockey, one of the top breeding grounds for Finnish NHL players, uses Polar Team Pro together with the Polar sports watches and heart rate sensors to optimize their player development path from PeeWee to Pro level. By utilizing this actionable performance data, they have built a successful young player development operation within their franchise.
We caught up with Montreal Canadiens legend, now TPS Turku Ice Hockey academy coach Saku Koivu about coaching young players, improving their physical abilities, and preparing them for the next stage in their career. Watch this video to hear how they use Polar wearable technology to get a deeper understanding of their players’ physical readiness, recovery, and conditioning.
During your career (or post-career), did you use sports technology to follow your progress/performance, and how did you feel that improved you as a player?
There has been a massive shift in emphasis during my career on sleep, nutrition, and the importance of recovery.Saku Koivu
During my career, I followed my heart rate to ensure that my practice was at an optimal level at all times when possible. During the season, I also monitored my heart rate to ensure that I recovered properly. This data was scientific and gave me the confidence to trust how my body felt and know I was on the right track with what I did.
Which supportive exercises do you use to prevent sports-related injuries?
I used aerobic low-resistance training to balance the high-intensity training I was inevitably doing. I also did core training and dynamic exercises that helped with my mobility.
How much importance is put on recovery nowadays compared to your early days as a professional athlete? Or has there been a significant difference in that field at all?
There has been a massive shift in emphasis during my career on sleep, nutrition, and the importance of recovery. When I began, being an athlete was only the focus during the few hours of training we did, yet towards the end of my career, the focus was on being an athlete 24 hours a day.
Do you think that using sports technology gives individual athletes or teams a competitive advantage in their performance and overall progress?
Today’s level of competition is so much higher that there needs to be evidence to support the training that an athlete does.Saku Koivu
Absolutely. There is no question. Today’s level of competition is so much higher that there needs to be evidence to support the training that an athlete does.
What advice would you give those beginner or seasoned athletes aiming to break their own personal best?
My only advice is to include enough low resistance training, which is often overlooked and forgotten. This type of training ensures an athlete can train as hard as possible and is then more likely to recover during rest.
TPS Turku is among 1,000+ other pro teams that rely on the Polar Team Pro GPS athlete tracking system to quantify player performance, reduce injuries and win more games.
Team Pro comes with a high frequency 10 Hz GPS, 200 Hz motion sensor, and heart rate technology with one-second data recording in a single device. Track your players’ positioning with GPS, measure speed and distance, accelerations, number of maximum sprints as well as the distance on dedicated speed zones.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Polar Team Pro is your ultimate tool for evaluating, planning, and monitoring your team’s training. Analyze everything on the go or after training on the iPad app or get deeper insights on the web service.
STAY ON THE RIGHT TRACK 24/7
Link your players’ individual Polar accounts to Polar Team Pro and take advantage of the science behind optimized individual training during rehabilitation, off-season, and on daily basis.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.