Athletic Development vs. Strength and Conditioning

I recently started training a very talented goalie, with high aspirations. Her goal is to prepare herself physically to tryout for the Olympics.

With this in mind, I think I should point out that I, as an athletic development coach, do not have any illusions of off-ice training making anyone Olympic-worthy. On-ice talent is by far the most important thing, for goalies and players. Having said that, within any given talent range, maximizing your athletic potential will certainly help you stand out on the ice.

I’m reminded of something Brijesh Patel said to me when I visited him at Quinnipiac a couple months ago. He just started this year at Quinnipiac, so I was interested in how he addressed a large new group of athletes. That conversation lasted about an hour, but one thing he said really stuck out: He told his athletes that he had no intention of making them better hockey or basketball players, but that his job was to make them better athletes.

I couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the reasons I prefer the label “Athletic Development Coach” instead of “Strength and Conditioning Coach”.

Athletic development encompasses qualities other than being strong and in good shape, notably movement quality, which is essential in all sports.

Keep checking back. I’m going to spend some time on training goalies as I think athletic requirements between goalies and other hockey players are often overlooked.

– Kevin Neeld

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