I love video.  I’d rather watch a movie then read a book. I’d rather watch an exercise video than read a description and I’d rather watch a presentation than listen to it.  Video is already beginning to dominate the athletic development industry as coaches see its value in teaching exercises.  

  1. Brijesh Patel took it up a notch when he built the exercise database at Holy Cross’s website so that athletes could have access to the countless exercise videos there.  I’ve spent hours watching all the variations he and Jeff Oliver have come up with over the years.  Since then, Brijesh has helped develop myfittube.com, a revolutionary website with the industry’s best providing exercise videos, teaching demonstrations, etc.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, go now.  It’s arguably the internet’s best strength and conditioning teaching tool. 
  2. Nothing breeds success like hard work.  Nothing, except maybe hard work paired with motivational speeches…and spandex.  If every athlete had the die-hard mentality of a rower, sports would be a lot more entertaining and more young athletes realize their true potential.  A video to bring this randomness together:
  3. This exercise makes me feel good, every time.
  4. This doesn’t, but it’s great for breaking up tension in the glutes and hip external rotators (typically tight in hockey players).
  5. Yoga has some validity in sports performance training.  While I don’t look at yoga as training in itself (it will not make you significantly stronger; it will not help you lose weight; and it will not give you long lean muscles), certain yoga routines can improve function range of motion about the hips and shoulders.  More on this to come in future posts.
  6. 100 rep time tests are brutal.  Due to snow, my gym was closed on Wednesday, so I had to do a make-shift workout.  100 chin-ups as fast as possible.  Followed by 100 push-ups as fast as possible.  These are the types of workouts everyone should try once (assuming it won’t cripple you permanently).  My 100 rep chin-up time was 18 mins 20 secs; my 100 rep push-up time was 6 mins 13 secs.  If you try this, feel free to post your results below.

That’s it for today.  Tomorrow I leave for a road trip to coach a couple games against the University of Rhode Island so you may not hear from me until next week.  

Keep working hard.

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting Brijesh Patel, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Quinnipiac.  Brijesh primarily works with the mens and womens hockey and basketball teams there.  We spent about 7 hours picking each others’ brains about everything from groin and hip flexor injuries to speed training to program design.

I probably took home about a dozen exercises, coaching cues, and program design techniques that I’ll start mixing into my programs, but there was one thing we talked about that stood out above everything else:

The difference between a championship team and every other team is the collective ability of each player to sacrifice personal agendas for the betterment of the team and outwork their opponents every second of every shift.

It may seem counterintuitive that two strength coaches would agree that the secret to on-ice success is almost entirely mental, but it’s true.  Commitment to something greater than yourself will always beat out raw athletic ability.  This means:

  1. Skating the hardest when you’re the most tired
  2. Blocking shots at every opportunit
  3. Diving for loose pucks
  4. Winning races to loose puck
  5. Winning battles in the corner
  6. Staying focused on positioning
  7. Adjusting your play based on the performance of your linemates
  8. Giving criticism in a way that is helpful and boosts self-esteem
  9. Accepting criticism from others

Whether it’s off-ice training, practice, or a game, the mentality has to be that you’ll do whatever it takes to take your game, and your teams performance to the next level.  The best training program, practice structures, and game systems in the world won’t overcome a lack of team determination: the inability to accept defeat as an option.

Ask yourself before every off-ice session, practice, and game, “Am I willing to give everything I have?”
Ask yourself after every off-ice session, practice, and game, “Did I give everything I have?”

Until you can say yes to both of these questions, you shouldn’t be worried about off-ice or on-ice practice drills, line combinations, or your coaches.

The prerequisite to success is 100% effort.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

Get Ultimate Hockey Transformation Now!

Year-round age-specific hockey training programs complete with a comprehensive instructional video database!

Ultimate Hockey Transformation Pro Package-small

Get access to your game-changing program now >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation

“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University

Yesterday I mentioned that, on the ice during a game, top speed isn’t reached or maintained for long.  Having said that, it is still important to understand that many of the direction changes in hockey occur at near-top speeds.  Also, many all out sprints start from a glide or light skate, and involve varying foot/leg positions.  

Your off-ice training should reflect this.  Try incorporating these three things to improve the quality of your hockey speed training:

  1. Include longer range accelerations (20-30 yards) with a quick deceleration and direction change (similar to a pattern a wide receiver may run).  
  2. Include agility circuits that start with a speed build-up.  This allows the athlete to practice accelerating from a moving position, which is usually the way it happens on the ice. 
  3. Vary starting and transition movements to include lateral steps, crossover steps, and pivots.

Keep working hard…

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

Is this hard to believe?

World records in under 100m events continue to be broken regularly by, literally, the fastest people in the history of the world.  It would only be logical then, to think:

If the fastest people in the world are training one way, I should also train that way to become fast.

It makes sense on paper, but it doesn’t make sense on the ice.  The bottom line is that track athletes are training to be fast on the track, in a set distance, in reaction to a set stimulus.  

Hockey players are no so fortunate.  They must be able to accelerate very quickly in response to a consistently changing environment, and they must decelerate just as quickly to change the direction of their skating.  Hockey rarely involves straight-line skating for any significant distance, rarely involves reaching top speed before having to change direction and frequently involves accelerating from a moving start.  Think about these things.

How is your speed training reflecting the demands of the game?  Are you incorporating direction changes at both slow and high speeds?  Are you incorporating sprints from a moving start?  Are you incorporating rapid decelerations from various speeds, followed by direction changes?

Take a look at your off ice training program and see how it fits your on ice demands…

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

What a week!  My schedule was a little more sporadic so my structured program got broken up a bit, but I still got everything in.  I moved my “refeed day” from Monday to Thursday.  It felt like my birthday.  Pizza, ice cream, huge steak dinner.  Despite breaking my scale at home (it still insists that I’m above 330 lbs…), I was able to get an accurate weigh in pre- and post-refeed day.  I weighed in at 166.5 before, which is down 14 pounds in just under three weeks WITHOUT ANY CONDITIONING.  Not to dwell on that point, but if you’re like me and hate “aerobic” training, there’s still hope for you if you want to lose fat/weight.  Moving on…The next morning I weighed in at 171.5.  I expected to put on around 5 pounds since I loaded up on carbs.  I imagine that weight will quickly disappear again.  Sticking with the restricted calorie diet hasn’t been too bad, surprisingly.  It’s just been a transition from 5-egg omelets to 2-egg omelets and 3/4 lbs of ground turkey to 1/4 pound of ground turkey per meal. Same delicious foods, just in smaller amounts.

My training has definitely taken a hit though.  It’s hard to bring a high energy into the gym when you haven’t given your body the fuel to do so.  Nonetheless, I’ve been able to push through.  I’ll stop rambling.  Training program below…

Jan 18, 2009 169.5 Mid-Day Weigh-In

Jan 19, 2009
A1) Hang Clean: 135 x 5;  175 x 4 sets of 2
A2) DB Row: 70DB x 3; 95DB x 4 sets of 2
B1) Deadlift: 225 x 5; 315 x 10 sets of 3
B2) 1-Leg Glute Bridge Hold: 4 x 20s each
C1) BLR SS Iso-Hold: 2 x 40 DB 4 x 30s each
C2) SB Hamstring Curl: 4 x 12

Jan 20, 2009
A1) Bench Press: 135 x 8; 185 x 5; 225 x 3; 245 x 4 sets of  3
A2) Scap Wall Slides (Facing Wall): 4 x 10
B1) Chin-Up: BW x 5; BW+55 x 4; BW+60 x 4; BW+55 x 4; BW+55 x 3.5+Help
B2) Incline DB Triceps Extension-to-Close Grip Press: 2 x 45DB 2 x 8; 2 x 40DB 2 x 8
15 min low-intensity bike ride

Jan 21, 2009
A1) Standing Pallof Iso-Hold from High Pulley w/ Rope: 50lbs 3 x 30s each
A2) Face Pull w/ External Rotation: 110 x 8; 120 x 8; 130 x 8
B1) Hang Clean: 135 x 10 sets of 2; 165 x 1; 175 x 1
C1) Overhead Barbell Hold: 135 x 10s; 185 x 10s; 205 x 10s; 225 x 2 x 10s; 185 x 10s

Jan 22, 2009  Mid-Day Weigh-In: 166.5 lbs
Indoor Rock Climbing!

Jan 23, 2009 Early Morning Weigh-In: 171.5lbs
A1) Back Squat: 135 x 8; 225 x 4; 275 x 2; 315 x 2; 345 x 2
A2) Front Plank: 3 x 60s
B1) DB Reverse Lunge: Alternating 2 x 60DB 3 x 10 each
B2) DB Swing: 1 x 20DB 3 x 12
B3) SB Hamstring Curl: 3 x 15s each
B4) 1-Leg Squat: 3 x 10 each

Jan 24, 2009
A1) Push-Press: 115 x 4; 135 x 4; 145 x 2; 155 x 2; 165 x 2; 135 x 4
A2) Blackburn Hold (I, Y, T): 1 x 30s each
B1) 1-Arm DB Row: 75lb DB, 4 x 8 each
B2) Standing Cable Chop: 50lbs 4 x 8 each
B3) DB Hang Clean-to-Curl Eccentric: 2 x 35DB 4 x 8
B4) Stability Ball Push-Up: 4 x 10
B5) Bird Dog: 4 x 6 each

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!