NHL Combine Test Results Revisted

Several weeks ago I put up a post about some of the NHL Combine Testing Results. If you missed it, you can check it out here:

NHL Combine Testing Results

Sadly, this was BY FAR the most highly read post I’ve ever had. In general, I think the readers could be categorized into one of three groups:

1) Curious about how probable future NHLers are performing on these tests

2) Angry about the comparison of my testing results in college vs their testing results as younger prospects

3) Actually read the post and understand the message

I fully understand that I was further along in my development in college/grad school then these kids are (although my bench press numbers were comparable in high school…gotta love chest day mondays!). That wasn’t the point.

My point was that it is ABSOLUTELY MORONIC to compare player’s based on off-ice testing scores!

I realize it’s a widely utilized practices amongst extremely high level coaches and scouts, but that doesn’t make it any less stupid.

If Daniel Carcillo has a higher vertical jump, bench press, and better 40-time than Sidney Crosby, did the Penguins miss out?

The only thing that matters on the ice is how good you are at hockey. Testing is important, but not to compare players (which is moronic…absolutely…incredibly…moronic). Testing is important to guage progress WITHIN a player. If a player is training and they aren’t getting stronger, faster, leaner, and/or adding muscle (depending on their goals and needs), then the hockey training program should be adapated or a closer look into the players dietary and recovery strategies is warranted.

Especially in youth programs, we need to stop emphasizing testing as a form of player evaluation. Everyone grows up at different rates. Players that grow up (read: develop) faster are probably going to test stronger and faster than their teammates. We’re rewarding development opposed to quality training. Even doing pre- and post-testing with young athletes doesn’t make a ton of sense. Avery Faigenbaum’s research has shown very clearly that adolescence that do NOTHING in the form of structured training will test stronger and faster as times goes by.

Intuitively, we all know that, but as Stephen Covey says, “To know and not do do is to not know at all.” If you’re a coach and you feel the need to test your players for accountability reasons, make sure you emphasize that you are testing to guage progress within each player, not to compare players (and do not compare players…ever). If you’re a parent, stop putting any emphasis on testing at all. The craziness around testing needs to stop. Now.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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