Slideboards have become an integral piece of equipment in our training programs at Endeavor. I’m sure I could design programs without them, but I’m glad that I don’t have to. For those of you that have read Ultimate Hockey Training, you’ll notice that we use slideboard for a lot more than simply slideboarding. Slideboards work their way into a lot of our exercise progressions and can be used for things like posterior chain, medial hip, upper body pressing, and core work.


Over the last week I’ve gotten a few emails asking about what lengths we use and if it’s necessary to get an adjustable board, so I thought I’d address that question today. At Endeavor we have 10′ UltraSlide Slideboards, which we bought (like all of our equipment) from Perform Better.

If you’re using the slideboard for all the auxiliary exercises like lateral slideboard squat, slideboard body saws, slideboard hamstring curls, etc., it really doesn’t matter what size board you have. All that matters is that it slides. You can also do these exercises on turf or carpet with Val Slides or furniture movers. If however, you want to slideboard on them, then the 10′ adjustable boards can make a huge difference in the way you’re able to program slideboard work.

Slideboarding
Hip-Resisted Slideboarding
Slideboard Hamstring Curl Variation
Band-Resisted Lateral Slideboard Lunge
Slideboard DB Reverse Lunge
Slideboard Push-Up w/ 1-Arm Reach
Slideboard Fly
Slideboard Army Crawl

The UltraSlide adjusts to 6.5-9.5′ in 1′ increments. For the overwhelming majority of our athletes in most conditioning protocols, we’ll use the 7.5′ setting. However, we also frequently utilize the 6.5′ and 8.5′ settings frequently. The shorter setting is beneficial for younger, weaker, or less experienced athletes that simply don’t have the gusto to make it across the board with authority on each push. For our athletes that are above ~6’2″, we slide it out to the 8.5′ setting to accommodate their longer stride length. If I had to ballpark the equivalent for the shorter setting, I’d say it’s for athletes around 5’6″ or shorter, but this is really dependent upon their strength and familiarity with the motion. Those distances for athletes at those heights tends to normalize stride frequency within a reasonable margin.

 

Last Summer we started putting an emphasis on either keeping a steady pace or on maximizing the reps per set. Keeping a steady, intentionally slower pace within the intervals we programmed allowed us to do a few things:

  1. Spend some time cuing the movements and reinforcing proper posture
  2. Develop the aerobic system in a sport-specific pattern
  3. Develop local muscular endurance while minimizing more global fatigue

Even more recently, we’ve started programming slideboard work with the intent of maximizing alactic power. Within this paradigm, the goal is essentially to work as hard as possible within a ~6s time frame and then recover completely. This idea can be modified slightly to train alactic capacity by not allowing complete recovery between bouts, but in both cases the goal is to work as hard as possible within the work intervals. This “work as hard as possible” descriptor is slightly different than “get as many touches as possible”, and highlights another reason why I really like having adjustable slideboards. Because the focus of these intervals is to push the rate at which energy can be produced, it’s essential that the athletes are actually doing WORK during the interval. With longer board settings, the glide phase of the movement is accentuated so the amount of work in any given time frame will be less compared to that same athlete on a shorter board. When we’re using slideboards with these training goals in mind, we’ll typically shift it one setting shorter than where we’d typically have an athlete go based on the height ranges above.

In short, I think it’s important to have adjustable slideboards, as it allows you to program more specifically to the individual in a group setting or to a growing individual (e.g. all youth hockey players). UltraSlide Slideboards aren’t cheap, running in the realm of $400-$600. I think people get too caught up in the ticket price and overlook the value. Aside from the fact that hockey parents are notorious for buying their kids new $300-$600 skates every year when their kid’s feet grow, and new $200 one-piece sticks (which are unnecessary and potentially counter productive for youth players…a rant for another day), it seems inconsistent to scoff at a $500 slideboard that, in one form or another, could get regular use year-round for a player’s entire career. When we’re making equipment purchasing decisions, I always try to keep the life of the implement in mind. For example, a $50 medicine ball that we’re going to break after 2 months is an expense of $25/month, an investment we make regularly because we value this type of training.

Med Ball Graveyward

Med Ball Graveyard

A $500 slideboard that we’re going to use daily for 20 years is ~$2/month. Viewed in this light, it’s actually a better value, and given the diversity of uses, a much better investment. If you have any slideboard-related questions, please feel free to post them below!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
UltimateHockeyTraining.com

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On Saturday I had an opportunity to present at the USA Hockey Level 4 Coaches Clinic in New Jersey. I was fortunate to sit in on the presentations from John Riley, Kerry Fraser, and Ryan Walter, all of which were insightful and inspiring. It makes me miss being on the ice!

As is often the case during events like this, the schedule was changed a bit and I had about 40 minutes to get through 60 minutes of material. While I was able to get through most of it, I did have to skim over some of the slides and skip over a few videos, a couple of which I think are extremely beneficial for coaches to see (e.g. the dynamic warm-up and lateral miniband walk videos). As a result, I wanted to post a copy of the power point (in PDF format), and the videos to the presentation below, so anyone in attendance that’s interested has an opportunity to review the material and post any questions they may have below.

Also, I know there was a lot of interest in where to buy some of the basic equipment I reference in the presentation (i.e. foam rollers and minibands). You can buy some of this stuff at any sporting goods store, but I’ve found the quality is pretty poor. The only company we use is Perform Better. Their stuff is high quality, inexpensive, and they have the best customer service out there. For your convenience, you can access the foam rollers (get 1′ 6″ round rollers for your whole team), and minibands (I recommend the yellow ones for younger teams, and green and blue for peewees and above) here: Foam Rollers, MiniBands.

I’ll be posting Q&As and a couple points of clarification on important training methods and their application to hockey performance throughout the week, so please post any questions/comments you have below.

You can download the presentation here: Physical Development for the Hockey Athlete

Videos are below. I also included a few that were in the talk I gave at the USA Hockey U-14 Regional Camp in Colorado Springs earlier in the Summer.

Enjoy.

Foam Roll Circuit

Dynamic Warm-Up

Quick Feet

Front 1/2 Kneeling Start

Side 1/2 Kneeling Start

Lateral Back Pedal to Sprint

5-Yard Sprint to 5-Yard Backward Back Pedal to 10-Yard Sprint

Lateral Bound

Hang Clean

Med Ball Shotput w/ Rapid Step Behind and Partner Toss

DB Reverse Lunge

Reverse Lunge (Front Squat Grip)

DB 1-Leg Stiff-Legged Deadlift

DB Chest Press

1-Arm DB Row

Wall March Hold

Lateral MiniBand Walk

Split Squat IsoHold to Slideboard

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Get an inside look at how I design year-round comprehensive hockey training programs here: Ultimate Hockey Training

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A couple weeks ago David Lasnier and I drove out to Chicago for Perform Better’s 3-Day Summit. We were both excited for the summit, but we were both equally as excited for the drive. I know some people loathe car rides (Emily averages about 3-6 minutes before she falls asleep…even when she’s driving), but we both love them. Aside from enjoying the luxurious comfort of my ’99 Saturn 4-door family sedan, it gives us an opportunity to talk shop, catch up about life, and finally settle the ongoing battle of who has the highest caffeine tolerance.

I win

A few of the highlights from the trip:

Talks

Naturally, it would be impossible for me to recount everything I learned from an event of this magnitude. Below are a few of the more “big picture” take homes:

Success Secrets from Mike Boyle
This was arguably the best talk of the event. As far as I know, this was the first time Boyle told his story publicly. Not exactly the “overnight success” that so many young coaches seem to be chasing (myself included at times!)

  • It’s not a goal until you write it down. Write down your goals, specifically, and great things will happen.
  • Your income is directly proportional to the number of people you help. Help more people achieve their goals, make more money.
  • “Most people give up right before the big break” Keep building positive habits and opportunities will come.
  • Anyone who is excellent in anything gets paid. “This is not about putting in your twenty and getting a pension. It’s about changing people’s lives and leaving a legacy.”
  • During the apprentice years, be prepared to work two jobs and volunteer. Not an easy time, but a great opportunity to develop a lot of experience and hone your coaching skills.
  • Pay it forward. Help as many people as you can. This just comes down to being a good person, but you never know how/when things will come back around for you.

Building Better Athletes from Robert Dos Remedios
First time I heard Coach Dos speak. Awesome presentation and great guy. Inspiration below:

  • “The harder you work, the harder it is to give up.”
  • Don’t allow athletes to bend over. “Don’t show the world you’re tired.”
  • “The will to win is nothing compared to the will to PREPARE”

Anatomy Trains in Training from Thomas Myers
This was the second time I got to see Myers speak in a 3-week time span. Major take homes:

  • All symptoms are patterns
  • 10x as many nerves in fascia as muscles; fascia is an incredible sensory source
  • Experimentation becomes gesture. Gesture becomes habit. Habit becomes posture. Posture becomes structure.
  • Fascia transmits forces; idea of tensegrity.
  • Fascia is elastic and plastic, and typically gets injured as a result of moving too fast.
  • The entire concept of individual muscles is a result of scalpel-driven dissections. Idea that we have 600 muscles is not as accurate as us having 1 muscle in 600 fascial pockets
  • Concentrically loaded structures need manual work along fibers; eccentrically loaded structures need work across fibers.

Evolve or Die from Thomas Plummer
First time I’ve heard any of Plummer’s information. Calling him animated would be a drastic understatement.

  • This is the “results age”. People don’t want features; they want progress
  • People buy expertise, not motivation (we have energy drinks for that).
  • 3,000-8,000 sq ft is an ideal facility space
  • “Up your presentation” If you want to have a premier facility, make it look that way.
  • Facilities should offer 5-6 price points for services scaling from basic to very in-depth.

Barefoot Training from Mark Verstegen
I’ve followed a lot of Mark’s work, but I had never heard him speak. Great presenter (as was the case with most of the presenters I saw).

  • Shoe-wearers demonstrate a progressive narrowing of the anterior portion of the foot and degradation of joint ROM
  • Idea is that modern “stability” shoes lead to decreased proprioceptive input to foot and lower body, which may lead to decreased arch and foot strength
  • 30-75% of runners get injured every year. Knee is most common injury site.
  • Before ANYONE starts barefoot training, they need to demonstrate some basic level of overall fitness and have proper running mechanics
  • Barefoot training will not automatically correct poor movement patterns, but may help expose them.
  • Big take home concept from this presentation was that people shouldn’t blindly dive into switching all of their training over to barefoot or minimalist shoes. Like every aspect of performance training, precautions and progressions are of paramount importance.

The Compliance Solution from John Berardi
Dr. Berardi is another guy whose work I’ve studied for the last 5 years or so. His perspective was refreshing and dedication to continual improvement was inspiring.

  • Take responsibility for client’s results AND compliance
  • Talk to clients in a way that is more likely to make them change (don’t be an asshole; be inspirational)
  • Coach both sides of the brain (Left: Logical, analytical, scientific, etc.; Right: Emotional, artistic, questions reason, etc.)
  • Give 1 habit at a time; make them small, clear daily habits. Compliance drops from 85+% to <35% when moving from 1 to 2 habit assignments.
  • Ask “how confident are you that you can do this habit?” before letting them loose. If they know in advance they can’t do it, adjust to make it easier.

Social
With the caliber of speakers at this event, I knew I’d come away with a few new ideas on how to improve our programs at Endeavor. That said, I learned just as much outside of the presentations as I did in. David and I stayed with Kyle Bangen, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Michigan Tech, so the three of us spent a lot of time together. On Friday, we grabbed lunch with Coach Boyle and got to catch up a bit about how things are going at BU and MBSC. What really stood out to me is how “famous” Boyle was at this event. It literally took us 30 minutes to walk a couple hundred yards from one end of the conference center to the other because so many people grabbed him along the way. Probably more notable was how genuinely happy Boyle was to see/meet each one of them. Boyle continues to have a huge influence on my career; he’s been a great mentor for me, both in terms of providing current insight into training methodologies and shaping my overall character. I hope to reach a point in my career when I can reminisce about my experiences working at the NHL (still holding out for the Flyers to call) and Olympic levels, and helping other strength coaches do the same.

Me and Coach Boyle in the back of Gray Cook’s talk

About an hour later, David and I were completely tanked and in desperate need of a coffee. Right at that time, Charlie Weingroff walked by with a not-so-inconspicuous ziploc bag full of Red Line, or as he calls it, “liquid courage”. David must have stopped at 4 7-11’s looking for Red Line on that trip with no luck. Charlie must “know a guy”.

Chris Poirier and the PB team hosted a social that night. I spent the majority of the time catching up with Darryl Nelson and Maria Mountain, and I got to meet fellow-hockey strength and conditioning coach Anthony Donskov. I told Chris later that it was cool that the event was so-well attended that we could have a mini hockey-specific mastermind there. It was interesting to learn that we all had very few differences philosophically. The major differences in execution came down to what we were able to implement logistically in our setting, which is what we spent the majority of the time talking about. If I had an opportunity to redesign our facility from scratch I would knock down a few walls to ensure complete visibility. A huge design mistake that is a constant consideration in how we design programs and structure the flow throughout the facility.

After the social we went back to our hotel…slash water park. A view from our room balcony:

Our hotel pool had a moat around it

The next day was awesome. David, Kyle, and I had another “hockey training meeting” at lunch with Maria Mountain and Anthony Donskov. I wish I would have recorded this lunch. A lot of great ideas thrown around from really bright people. Before the day wrapped up I got a chance to catch up a bit with John Berardi. I’ve been following John’s work for several years now, and still believe that his book Precision Nutrition is a must own for athletes and non-athletes alike. The results John showed from his online training clients were pretty remarkable, and as I mentioned above, his realization that a lack of information isn’t as much of a problem as us relying on a poor delivery vehicle for this information is dead on. We talked about the idea of putting together a “dripped” information system so that our athletes could receive nutritional habits based on their body composition goals to focus on every couple weeks with a few tips in between on how to implement or stay on track with the habit. Ultimately I think this is the direction we’ll go with our athletes; it’s just a matter of whether I’ll wait for him to design the product or if I’ll team up with someone to do it myself.

I don’t remember when, but at some point I caught up with Gray Cook and Brett Jones in the lobby. Both of these guys were awesome to talk to. Most of our hockey players have really jacked up feet, so I was looking for some insight from Brett on when he does and doesn’t recommend orthotics. We have an inordinate number of hockey players that present with flat feet and I’m not at all convinced that it’s a purely structural problem. I am, however, convinced that foot alignment and control is of paramount importance in human performance, even in hockey players. Ultimately I think I’ll end up paying Charlie to do an in service for our staff on the issue because he seems to have a better hold on it than anyone else I’ve talked to, but until then I’m still searching for answers elsewhere and Gray and Brett are as bright as they come.

Because we had a 14 hour drive home and we lost an hour with the time zone change, David and I decided we were going to leave first thing Sunday morning. And while I came for training information, I wasn’t going to leave Chicago without a slice of authentic deep dish pizza.

 

Most filling pizza ever

If you’ve been on the fence about attending one of the Perform Better Summits in the past, I highly encourage you to take the plunge next year. The presenters are world class, there is a lot of really bright attendees and they’re just generally fun. Hopefully I’ll see you there next year!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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After hearing the same questions from hockey parents and coaches over the last couple years, it occurred to me that I should just do a quick write-up.

Endeavor Sports Performance is like a playground for strength and conditioning coaches. We have a lot of equipment that people have never seen or used before. Over the last couple years, I’ve gotten the same question from coaches and parents, that usually goes something like:

“Where can I get one of those…?”

While quality training and facilitating recovery doesn’t always necessitate lots of fancy equipment, there are a few cost-effective pieces of equipment that I think every player should own. We get all of our stuff from Perform Better, so if you’re outfitting a facility or just want to pick up a few things, I’d look to them first.



Hockey Training Equipment that Every Player Should Own

In no particular order:

MiniBands
I’ve probably bought over 30 of these in the last few years (they snap with the volume of use they get at Endeavor). They’re so cheap and allow us to do a variety of exercises that I feel are absolutely essential, such as lateral miniband walks and backward monster walks. When they snap, we use them for band-resisted no money drills. When they snap again…we throw them out. They can also be thrown around a beginner’s knees during squatting and deadlifting movements if they have a difficult time controlling hip internal rotation to utilize Gray Cook’s “Reactive Neuromuscular Training” concept. Not bad for $2!



Click here for more information on MiniBands

Val Slides
To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of experience with these until I spent the week last Summer with Mike Potenza at the Sharks prospect camp. At Endeavor, we don’t use them because we have slideboards to do all the exercises we’d use Val Slides for, but slideboards are extremely expensive (for most players). While I wouldn’t recommend duct taping Val Slides to your feet and trying to slide between two walls in the house, Val Slides do allow you to do a number of other slideboard-based exercises like, reverse, lateral, and diagonal lunges (great for lower body strength, hip stabillity/control, and adductor strength), bodysaws, alternate arm jigsaws, 1-arm push-up with reaches, and army crawls. In a nutshell, they allow you to do about a dozen great core exercises that aren’t possible without them.



Click here for more information on Val Slides

Foam Roller
In my mind, this is the most important piece of equipment on this list. EVERY player should have one of these and should bring it with them on all road trips. Most of the parents I interact with at Endeavor end up asking where to buy one because their kids can appreciate how much better they feel after they use it. I think stretching is important, but nothing will help stretching be more effective than using one of these beforehand. They come in a bunch of different sizes, but I really only recommend buying the 3 foot long 6 inch circular ones. If you don’t know how to use these yet, buy one and learn. It’ll be the best thing you do for yourself.


Click here for more information on Foam Rollers

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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I’m breaking my usual Monday-Wednesday-Friday update routine because I wanted to let you know about something I’m really excited about. As you know, I’ve been a huge promoter of Body By Boyle Online since it was first launched several months ago.

Mike Boyle’s work has had a profound impact on my training philosophies and methodologies. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to read his books, watch his DVDs, attend his seminars, and visit his facilities at BU and MBSC. He’s also been an incredible mentor, always making himself available to me if I have questions about anything from sports hernia referrals to running a private training facility. Moreover, I’ve learned and continue to learn a lot from his disciples (Sean Skahan, Mike Potenza, Darryl Nelson, Devan McConnell, Kim McCullough, and Jaime Rodriguez…to name a few).

In short, Boyle has had a remarkable impact on the hockey training and development industry as well as strength and conditioning as a whole. This is, in large part, a result of his dedication to continuing education. In fact, if there’s one thing that he taught me that I had to highlight as THE most important thing, it’s that I should never stop learning. In this way, I’ll always stay on top of my game, be aware of new information, and put my athletes in the best environment to succeed.

It is for that reason that I place so much value in Body By Boyle Online and why I know you’ll benefit so much from it as well. That brings us to today’s exciting announcement.

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from Boyle and Kevin Larrabee about them relaunching their site in a way that makes the content more easily accessible and costs less. Instead of having me try to describe all the changes to you, I thought it would be easier if I had Kevin (the other Kevin) come on and do a quick interview about it.

Enter Kevin:

Me: First off, congratulations to you and the rest of the Michael Boyle Strength and Conditioning staff for being ranked the #1 Gym in America. That’s quite an honor! As you know, I’ve been a huge supporter of BodyByBoyleOnline since you guys first launched it. Looking through the programs provides invaluable insight into Coach Boyle’s underlying philosophies and methodologies, and the constant content updates are outstanding. In fact, we use many of the presentations as continuing education for our staff during our weekly meetings. Can you talk a bit about what changes you’re making to the subscription options with this “re-launch” and what lead you to make these changes?

KL: Thank Kevin! We are bringing everything that has helped make MBSC the #1 Gym in America to BodyByBoyle Online. With the relaunch we had two major goals. First off we wanted to make the content as easy to assess as possible. For us, that meant duplicating all of our content for a website, and in doing so offering multiple qualities of the videos for those with fast or slow connections.

Second, we wanted to created a second membership level for those that might not want to do online training and just want the rich educational content that we have put together. To be honest over half of our members simply come to watch the staff meeting videos as well as the exclusive seminars that we film. For example we just filmed the 2011 MBSC Winter Seminar that featured Dan John as well as Mike. We understand that many people want to go to more seminars, but the time and cost of travel is just too high. So for those people, we now offer a standard version of BodyByBoyle Online at a reduced rate of $39.97/month (for now). Of course all of our current members will also be given access to the website as part of their Platinum membership ($59.97/month).

Me: Although the site is “Body By Boyle”, he’s not the only content contributor to the site. Can you provide some insight into some of the other guests you have add content?

KL: I think that is what makes BodyByBoyle Online so great and a pleasure to produce. We have had speakers come in to the facility to do private seminars for our staff. In the last couple months we have had Sue Falsone form Athlete’s Performance present and do a hands on about the thoracic spine, Nick Tumminello came in to talk rotary training, Chris Frankel did a lecture and hands on about suspension training, and always have guests stopping by, especially when the Perform Better Circuit is coming through town. This just goes to show you how much Mike values continuing education and how important it is for you to be one of the best in this field.

Me: I think one of the things that causes people to hesitate sign up for sites/services with monthly memberships is a fear that the information will stagnate. Can you talk about what plans you guys have for the site in the future and what members have to look forward to?

KL: Trust me when I say you have an ongoing stream of new content. We film our staff meetings each week, our guest speakers, F.A.Q. with Mike where he goes in depth on subjects and answers questions from the members, and we are even dipping into the vault with some classic Boyle videos. All you need to do is take a look at Mike’s shorts to see the videos are 15 years old or so. But the best part, is that the videos from the past are even more relevant now than they were then. One of the VHSs that Mike has converted to digital video is his olympic lift video where he goes through the various lifts. Guess what, we still use the same coaching steps as he did back then.

We have also made digital versions of Mike’s current DVD offerings such as the three DVD set he just produced and released a few months ago.

Me: Thanks Kevin. I appreciate you taking the time to be with us today. I look forward to seeing the content additions over the upcoming months!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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