First things first. I want to personally thank you for continuing to come here to read up on various aspects of hockey development and for your help in spreading the word about this site. Last week, the site hit a milestone that a year ago I would have thought was impossible: over 10,000 visits in the previous 30 days.

If you’re involved in some aspects of fitness or business, this number is probably staggeringly low. However, for a hockey-specific training and development site with an array of content ranging from basic exercises to advanced scientific theory, I’m psyched! A year ago it was less than half that and growing extremely slowly. As I’ve said in the past, this site exists because of you. As you continue to help spread the word and communicate with me about what you want to me to write about, the site will continue to evolve into a better resource for you.

Random Thought 1: After my post last week on my Soft-Tissue Stress Overflow Theory, I got an email from a parent with a few kids that we’ve trained at Endeavor that read:

Her coach is so old school and is demanding at 12 years old that they only play soccer.  Otherwise they aren’t committed to the team. Yeah we’ll, we’re on our third kid.  Nice try but we aren’t buying it.  Hopefully your article will help the parents of the first borns not to believe that stuff and feel like their kid is going to be behind other kids or not “make it” because they haven’t given up their life to a travel team.

This example doesn’t pertain to hockey, but I think we all know there are hockey coaches out there like this. With every year that passes I gain an increasing appreciation for the importance of active recovery. Playing sports certainly plays a large part in developing the personality and characteristics of our youth. Things like courage, confidence, leadership, and teamwork are all life-skills that people develop through sports that will benefit them in other aspects of life. That said, sports should be a piece of a kid’s life, not all of it. Coaches, in all sports, need to remember that there’s more to life than playing sports.

Son. It’s time you stopped messing around with those “other sports” and really started focusing on hockey.

Random Thought 2: Last week I had a meeting with the president of a local youth hockey organization about a year-round development plan I had worked on. We had a great meeting. Luckily he and the coaches within that organization recognize and appreciate the importance of training as it pertains to developing elite level hockey players. They also know that it’s not a quick fix solution, but a long-term process. Because Endeavor is a private training facility, we get a lot of the “make my kid faster yesterday” parents. I wish more understood that short-term improvements in performance can be expected, but that shouldn’t be the goal. Especially with younger athletes, performance doesn’t matter nearly as much as instilling proper training habits and reinforcing proper movement patterns.

Random Thought 3: At this meeting, the idea of testing was brought up. I still whole-heartedly believe that doing performance testing with middle school and most high school athletes is completely senseless and it amazes me that so many people disagree. It is UNARGUABLE that athletes at this age are maturing, and at different rates. We’ve all seen PeeWee, Bantam, and Midget teams with players that look like giants AND players that look like they’re too small to be on the same ice. What do you think is going to happen if you compare the test results of someone that develops early and somewhat that develops late? The early maturer wins, every time. What is this system rewarding-rapid maturation? Even if you’re only comparing testing results within an athlete to monitor individual progress, which is a much more valid and desirable approach, it’s still impossible to rule out what proportion of gains are related to training and what is the result of natural maturation. Athletes naturally get stronger and faster as they get older. We need to remove the emphasis on testing and improve the emphasis on training.

“I don’t care how good you say this Crosby kid is. His 40 time was below our team average; I can’t take him.”

Random Thought 4: Over the last year I’ve gotten some hate email about some old posts I had on the NHL combine (NHL Combine Testing Results and NHL Combine Test Results Revisited).  I should probably write an article about this, but I haven’t made the time to do it. It’s not just the NHL combine that doesn’t make sense to me; the NFL one is just as bad. Last week Stephen Paea broke the NFL combine bench press test record by pressing 225 lbs 49 times. This is an amazing feat, but what does this test even tell us? Is it a strength test? Not if he’s doing over 8 reps. Is it an endurance test? Maybe in this case. Do any of these things even matter as it pertains to on-field performance? Not likely. Check out the top performers in NFL combine tests from the last 10 years. How many of those guys are NFL stars right now? A few, but certainly not enough to justify the “if you do well on this test than we’ll pay you lots of money” approach that the NFL has taken, a direction that youth sports is mimicking. The most important test is how players perform on the ice, NOT how strong, fast, or well-conditioned they may look off the ice.

This guy doesn’t look like he’d finish near the top of the pack for waterboys in combine testing. Yet, he’s an inevitable hall of fame quarterback. Maybe there’s more to success than just strength and speed for Mr. Brady?

That’s all for today!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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Hopefully you’ve enjoyed “Theory Week” here at In case you missed them, I put up two posts discussing a new way to view an athlete’s muscle fiber make-up (Neeld Muscle Fiber Continuum Theory) and long-term soft-tissue stress accumulation as it pertains to common injuries and performance limitations (Soft-Tissue Stress Overflow Theory).

It’s also been a busy week over at

Sean Skahan added Phase 1 of his ACL Rehab training program. I’ve been reading up on ACL research this week because Endeavor has partnered with a local youth Soccer organization. As you know, ACLs plague soccer players and are often career-limiting injuries. Anything we can do from a strength and conditioning standpoint to improve the athlete’s likelihood of competing at their pre-injury level after surgery is a life changing opportunity. Timely program from Sean.

Check it out here >> ACL Rehab Phase 1 from Sean Skahan

We also added a couple videos. Darryl Nelson added videos of two Olympic Lift variations that he uses with the NTDP. He also points out that the players in one of the videos are goalies…Yes…goalies need to lift too.

Watch them here >> Olympic Lifts from the Hang Position from Darryl Nelson

Mike Potenza added a few exercises to help restore function and balance across the hip joint. In my opinion, having multiple exercises in your “toolbox” that serve a similar function is a great way to add variation in your programs (at least in the athlete’s mind) without neglecting the necessary creation of stress to certain structures/patterns. Mike shows a couple exercises using a somewhat specialized piece of equipment, but these could also be done with a slideboard and some resistance bands.

Watch them here >> Abduction and Adduction Exercises from Mike Potenza

There are also some great forum discussions that you should check out. If you’re in charge of making equipment purchases for a training facility, you’ll want to read up on the thread that’s shedding some light on the differences between the Woodway Curve and Woodyway Force.

Jim Reeves has posted some enlightening comments in response to a question from a member asking what he should do for his players to stay in good shape for a tournament they have 3 or 4 weeks after the season ends. I face a pretty similar situation in that a lot of our athletes finish the season and immediately want to prepare for tryouts. It’s a difficult thing to balance actively reversing some of the negative adaptations of the season while also continuing to prepare them for a hockey-related assessment.

Lastly, Mike Potenza started a thread on an interesting assessment designed to assess neural fatigue in athletes. This piqued my interest because of my background in exercise neuroscience and because I had no idea such a concept existed. I’ll be interested to read more about this in the future and look into it for our guys here.

Enjoy your weekend!

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To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Try for 7 days for only $1! It’ll be the best dollar you’ve ever spent.

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