Over the last week, I’ve released two videos on the most popular topics in hockey training. If you haven’t watched them yet, you can check them out here:

  1. Ultimate Hockey Training: Transitional Speed Training for Hockey Players
  2. Ultimate Hockey Training: Hockey Conditioning

Today’s video discusses the most important components of an off-ice hockey training program. Most players only focus on a handful of these qualities, and therefore don’t make NEARLY the progress that they would if they took a more comprehensive approach. I also find that many of these factors are simply poorly understood by coaches, or generally thought to be isolated from other desirable adaptations. In other words, they may not recognize how much training one quality (e.g. strength) will influence a seemingly unrelated quality (e.g. conditioning).

Please take a few minutes to watch the video below and post your comments. If you picked up a couple good hockey training ideas, please forward it along to all the players, parents, and coaches you know that would benefit from watching it also. Thanks!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. If you’re looking for a strategic hockey training plan, check out my book Ultimate Hockey Training!

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As part of the launch for Ultimate Hockey Training, I recorded a few videos that go into detail about specific components of off-ice training programs, as well as how to design a comprehensive hockey training program.

This week I’ll be making these videos available to the public for the first time. A couple days ago, I released the video outlining my Transitional Speed Training System for hockey players. If you missed it, you can check it out here: Transitional Speed Training for Hockey

In addition to speed training for hockey, another popular training topic is hockey conditioning. In general, conditioning enthusiasts tend to fall on one side of the continuous aerobic training – interval anaerobic training continuum. Unfortunately, both of these extremes miss out on a HUGE component of hockey conditioning, one that is largely overlooked in most programs. Today’s video discusses off-ice hockey conditioning, and presents a training progression for the most overlooked quality that hockey players need to be successful on the ice!

Please take a few minutes to watch the video below and post your comments. If you picked up a couple good hockey conditioning ideas, please forward it along to all the players, parents, and coaches you know that would benefit from watching it also. Thanks!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. If you’re looking for a comprehensive hockey training program, check out my book Ultimate Hockey Training!

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

Last November I released my new book Ultimate Hockey Training, which reveals my year-round off-ice hockey training system for players at all levels. Since then, I’ve been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive feedback I’ve gotten from all the people that picked up a copy.

As part of the launch for Ultimate Hockey Training, I recorded a few videos that go into detail about specific components of off-ice training programs, as well as how to design a comprehensive program. Over the next week, I’ll be making these videos available to the public for the first time, starting with today’s video on Transitional Speed Training for Hockey, which I strongly believe is the secret to making off-ice speed training transfer to on-ice improvements.

Please take a few minutes to watch the video below and post your comments. If you picked up a couple good speed training ideas, please forward it along to all the players, parents, and coaches you know that would benefit from watching it also. Thanks!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. If you’re looking for a strategic hockey training plan, check out my book Ultimate Hockey Training!

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

It’s been another exciting week for me personally and for this site. We broke another traffic record (over 16,500 visits in the last 30 days!), again thanks to all of you passing along the posts you like to your friends, and I broke the 1,000 twitter follower threshold. I’m going to be doing more twitter Q&As in the future, so if you want me to answer your questions live, then go here to follow me! Follow Kevin on Twitter

Earlier in the week I posted a hockey conditioning article on a new thought process I have about a specific component of resistance training and how it improves fatigue resistance, as well as a great interview with Sean Skahan of the Anaheim Ducks. You can check out both at the links below:

  1. Hockey Conditioning: Low Threshold Fatigue
  2. Sean Skahan Interview

Hockey Strength and Conditioning featured some great content this past week.

To get the week rolling, I added an article on “directional rolling”. Self-myofascial release work has become relatively accepted by most strength and conditioning programs over the last 5-10 years. That said, our understanding of the exact effects of what it does is still relatively limited, and we’re inevitably going to make changes as we move forward. This article dives into some information from Thomas Myers and how we should change our foam rolling protocols to make them more specific to our needs. Check it out at the link below.

Click here to read >> Directional Rolling

Darryl Nelson followed things up by posting two stretching/mobility/dynamic warm-up routines that he’s using with his players before practices and lifts now.  Players appreciate variety in their warm-ups, especially pre-lift, so if you’re feeling stagnant with your current routine, this would be a great program to grab.

Click here to check out the warm-ups >> Stretching and Warm-Ups from Darryl Nelson

Finally, Jeff Cubos wrote what may be the best “call to action” suggestion on the NHL concussion epidemic that I’ve come across to date. I’ve been somewhat outspoken over the last few months about the importance of distinguishing between actually brain injuries (concussions) and the other few factors that can cause concussion-like symptoms (that are NOT concussions, but may be brought on by the same contact as the concussion, if there was a concussion at all). Jeff took a different angle on the issue and addressed why so many players are taking violent hits to begin with. Frankly, I think his suggestion is an inevitable part of hockey’s future.

Click here to read >> NHL Concussions: Have Our Players “Outgrown” Our Sport? from Jeff Cubos

The forums have also been hopping over the last week. Make sure you log in and check out these threads. And chime in! We’d love to hear from you.

  1. On-Ice Testing
  2. Slideboards
  3. Flyers PreSeason Testing
  4. Flexibility Help
  5. Post Game Snack Variety
  6. NHL Concussions

That’s a wrap for today. As always, if you aren’t a member yet, I encourage you to try out Hockey Strength and Conditioning for a week. It’ll only cost $1, and if it’s not the best buck you’ve ever spent, I’ll personally refund you!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. I have some really exciting stuff lined up for you next week so make sure you check back Monday!

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

Several years ago Eric Cressey introduced me to Sean Skahan, who was then and is still now the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Anaheim Ducks. Since that first introduction, Sean has been a terrific resource and mentor for me. I recently had an opportunity to borrow some of his time to do an exclusive interview for you. Check it out below!

KN: Sean, I think most of the people reading this will recognize your work from HockeyStrengthandConditioning.com, but why don’t we kick things off by having you tell us a bit about who you are, and the path you took to get where you are.

SK: First off Kevin, thank you for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions.  I really appreciate it!

I am a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the National Hockey League.  I’ve been employed by the Anaheim Ducks for 10 seasons.  I’ve been fortunate to work with an organization for that time.  Prior to that, I was a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the collegiate ranks.  Most recently, I was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Boston College for 1 year where I was responsible for the strength and conditioning program for both the men’s and women’s hockey programs amongst other sports.  Before BC, I was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of North Dakota for 1 year.  At North Dakota, I assisted with the hockey program as well as being the Strength and Conditioning Coach for several other sports.  Prior to that, I was a Graduate Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Minnesota where I assisted with the hockey program as well as several others.  Before that, I was intern at Sports Acceleration North, which would now be considered Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning.

I was able to get a lot of hockey training experience in 4-5 years before I worked in the NHL.  I consider myself to be very fortunate and lucky that I was able to work in really strong collegiate hockey programs which prepared me for the professional ranks.

KN: Having worked with three of the top college hockey programs in the country and now having spent a decade in the NHL, you certainly have an impressive track record. I imagine your training philosophy has evolved over the years. How would you describe your hockey training philosophy currently?

SK: My hockey training philosophy would probably consist of doing whatever it takes to keep my players injury free while also improving their performance.  While trying my best to accomplish this, I will do whatever I feel would help them achieve this as effectively as possible.  The key is figuring out what each player will need to help them succeed in the safest environment as possible.

KN: The injury prevention component of a quality program is one thing I see a lot of players overlook. What are some of the common training mistakes you see players make before they get to you?

SK: Some of the mistakes I may see that would prohibit players from progressing would include:

  1. Inadequate nutrition-Elite hockey players are lean.  You don’t see many over-weight pro hockey players.  That is reality.
  2. Lack of leg strength and power- Young players need to develop strength and power in their legs.  Like #1, elite players have an enormous amount of leg strength and power when compared to the average player.
  3. Too much time dedicated to aerobic training- While I am not saying to disregard the aerobic energy system, I do feel that there a many young players and teams that are still training to develop endurance.  The priority is increasing their VO2 maxes by going for long distance runs and bike rides.  They should be using aerobic methods like that way less frequently than being in the weight room.
  4. Not being on an organized training program- There are still many young players and even some pros, who still may just “go to the gym” 3-4 times per week in the off-season.  They also sometimes have no clue what they will do before they get to the gym.   I really think that those players are going to be left behind as quality strength and conditioning programs continues to grow.

KN: Great stuff. It amazes me how many high school players I run into that claim they want to play elite level hockey, but just want to do the same bodybuilding routines their non-hockey buddies are doing.

You recently released two new DVDs, Kettlebell Lifting for Hockey and Slideboard Training for Hockey. Tell us a bit about the DVDs-why you decided to make them, who they’re for, what customers can expect to get from watching them, etc.

SK: Honestly, I wanted to create my own information products, but I really didn’t want to develop an info product just to say I did it.  I wanted to develop products on thoughts, philosophies, and equipment that I really believed in.

Slideboard Training for Hockey was developed in conjunction with my good friend, Barry Slotnick, from Ultraslide.  This was a project where we both put our heads together and came up with an idea for a DVD.  I am a big fan of Barry and his company Ultraslide, which manufactures the slideboard.  Using the slideboard has been a big part of my philosophy for a long time.  Not only is it a frontal plane conditioning tool, but it’s also as a piece of equipment that aids in the strength training process.

Kettlebell Lifting for Hockey is a result of seeing the proper application and benefits of using the kettlebell in the training process.   Although I am recently RKC certified, I would not consider myself to be a kettlebell only guy.  I think that the kettlebell is a fantastic tool when it is applied appropriately.  Prior to getting my RKC, I was using kettlebells with my players.  Even though I was incorporating them in my programs, I thought that I could improve my coaching by becoming RKC.  I learned so much at the RKC that I felt that I needed to help other hockey strength and conditioning coaches and trainers who use kettlebells with their players and teams.

KN: It seems like kettlebell training is a hot fad right now. As you know, sometimes implement-centric training fads come and go in a few years. Are kettlebells here to stay? How are you using them in your programs?

SK: I really think that kettlebells are here to stay.  They have actually been around a real long time and have recently been re-discovered.  I think that when more coaches learn that there are some awesome exercises and progressions that can only be done properly with a kettlebell, then they have the best chance to stick.

Honestly, I only use them in my program for a few exercises- swings, goblet squats, get ups, carries, and presses- which includes bottoms up variations.

KN: I was really impressed with the variety of exercises in the slideboard DVD. When I was first introduced to the slideboard as a player, it was only used to closely replicate the skating pattern for conditioning work. Talk to us about how you’re using the slideboard and where you got the ideas for all of the unique exercises in the DVD.

SK: We are using the slideboard for many different reasons.  We use them for abdominal/trunk exercises, lower body exercises, and upper body exercises.  Where we also spend a great amount of time with it is in the rehab/return to play phase for our injured players.  One of my goals in the DVD was to not only show the exercises, but to explain to the viewer why we use each exercise.

Most of the exercises in the DVD, I have seen them somewhere else, while some were just a result of  looking for a way to challenge an injured athlete who may have needed a progression to help them get better.  

KN: A lot of youth players/parents ask me what equipment they should buy so they can train at home. Naturally, it’s not possible for them to build a fully equipped weight room, but I think your DVDs provide a great framework for how kettlebells and slideboards can be used separately and together to train every major physical quality.

SK: What I think is important to mention is that the slideboard and the kettlebell are 2 different pieces of equipment that are huge parts of my philosophy.  I am currently at a point at my career where I know what I need to help train a hockey player.  These are 2 different pieces that I feel are absolutely necessary to me for to train a hockey player properly.

KN: Sean, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about hockey training and your new DVDs. Where can people learn more about you and pick up a copy of Kettlebell Lifting for Hockey and Slideboard Training for Hockey?

SK: Thanks for having me. People can check out my site www.SeanSkahan.com. The DVDs are available on the “Products” page there!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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