Kevin Neeld — Hockey Training, Sports Performance, & Sports Science

Random Thoughts

I’ve had a lot of different things on my mind recently, so I want to break free of the typical “article-style” post and touch on a wide variety of topics, ranging from professional to personal, intellectual to comical. Let me know what you think of these types of posts and I’ll use them more or less in the future. Enjoy!

1. ZMA may be my favorite auxiliary supplement. I wouldn’t put it in my “essentials” list, but as busy/stressed as I get sometimes, nothing helps me sleep better.

2. Eric Cressey’s Show and Go Program is incredible. The entire Endeavor Coaching Staff has been following it for the last two weeks; it’s intense and exceptionally well written. Last week I front squatted 275 for 3 reps and trap bar deadlifted 405 for 5 reps. Nothing to write home about, but pretty good for me.

3. Every time Bon Jovi comes on our satellite radio, my blood pressure skyrockets. There is a time and a place for Bon Jovi. That time is never. That place is nowhere.

4. Last week on my drive to work I noticed that all of traffic slowed to 5 mph below the speed limit, because there was a cop driving in the right lane at that pace. She then proceeded to change lanes without signaling while talking on her cell phone. Nothing like leading by example.

5. A lot of people in the hockey world say that vision is one of those things a player either has or doesn’t. I couldn’t disagree more. As with any ability, some players will naturally excel in this department more than others, but everyone can improve. The key is to spend time ANALYTICALLY watching the game. It’s helpful to do this by watching players at the same age, but higher skill level, or older players at the same skill level.

6. I’m amazed at the number of parents that come into Endeavor wanting their kids to be faster yesterday. Getting EVERYONE in the fitness industry (fat loss clients, body builders, athletes, etc.) to understand that training is a continuous, progressive process would be the single greatest breakthrough in the history of the industry.

7. A former intern of ours said one of her teachers told her that she’d have to cut all carbs out by 3pm if she wanted to get lean. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the concept, I strongly disagree with the clear-cut dichotomy here. What if she wakes up at noon because of her work? What if she trains at 4pm? What if it’s a cheat meal? Nothing is ever this black and white, in training or nutrition.

8. Last week I met with Shoba Murali and Shaun Gagnon, the CEO & President and VP of Sales for Generation UCAN, respectively. I whole-heartedly endorse their product because it’s the best out there. The carb-only mix is a drastically healthier alternative to the more well-known sugar-laden Gatorade and Powerade alternatives. The protein-carb mix is the perfect post-workout/post-practice/post-game drink. Even more pleasing to me, Shoba and Shaun are both incredible people that really have the athletes’ best interest in mind. This is quite different from the sleezy approach of most supplement companies (e.g. spending all their money to put a colorful label around their shit product, having steroid-enhanced spokespeople make false claims about the effectiveness of their product, etc.).

Enter the code “KNHockey” to get a special discount!

9. Cristi Landrigan wins the hockey parent of the year award. Over the Summer, she drove her kids around 90 minutes to train with us three times a week at 8am! Now, every couple days she’ll email me a great article she found on some aspect of sports performance (training, mentality, etc.). I wish every parent could adopt 10% of her enthusiasm for helping her kids succeed as members of society, and as athletes.

10. For young professionals out there, nothing will help you more than finding a good mentor. Since I was young, I’ve frequently been complimented on my “drive”. I think having that has been an important ingredient in my success so far. With that said, I wouldn’t be anywhere without the guidance of Chris Boyko, Eric Cressey, and Michael Boyle. I’ve learned from a ton of people, but these three mentors have done more for me than I could ever describe.  If you’re looking for internships, look to them first.

11. On internships, if you’re an intern, be realistic about your role. There is nothing more off-putting than hearing an intern talk about “their athletes”. As an intern, you don’t have athletes. You’re implementing someone else’s programs for their athletes. You have a long career to brag about all the great stuff you’re doing with your athletes; now is your time to learn/absorb.

12. I’m pretty good at blocking out distractions. In grad school, I frequently fell asleep with Avenged Sevenfold playing on my laptop next to me. But if there is a single fly in my office, my day is ruined.

Me…not getting any work done.

13. Lingo such as “can I get a spot” and “all you” is typical in the gym, but should not be used in a men’s room.

14. The growing popularity of Facebook continues to amaze me. My “Ultimate Ice Hockey Training” group now has over 4,025 fans!

15. We use the reverse lunge as one of our primary lower body lifts at Endeavor. We try to encourage our athletes to return to the top by “pulling through the heel of their front leg”. Inevitably, when the weights get heavy, there is a stronger push off the back leg. One way to eliminate this altogether is to have them perform the reverse lunge with their back foot on a slideboard. For the scientists out there, it may be interesting to test 3-RMs on ground, and on a slideboard to quantify how much that push/back-leg stability adds to the lift.

16. Speaking of scientists, my colleague Bret Contreras (who I believe has set up an EMG lab in his garage…awesome), mentioned me on his “Best Blogs” list: How I Learn. I’m flattered that someone with Bret’s intelligence would consider my site one of his top resources. I also read on Bret’s site that Jeff Cubos, an incredibly well-read professional from Canada, included this site as one of his go-to’s as well. If you guys are reading this, thank you!

17. In that post, Bret mentions that he wishes I wouldn’t “pigeon-hole” myself so much by just talking about hockey. I write mostly about hockey because that’s what I’m most passionate about, and why I got into training to begin with (to help hockey players develop and fulfill their potential). With that said, many of the training principles I write about in regards to hockey are directly applicable to most team sports and to training in general. My hope is that people that may work with athletes in other sports don’t write off the information simply because my site says ice hockey on it.

Check back in on Wednesday for more musings!

To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

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Kevin Neeld

Kevin Neeld Knows Hockey

Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.