Short excerpt from my book Ultimate Hockey Training on the “bilateral deficit”.

There are structural, biomechanical and neurological reasons for why single-leg training is essential for sport performance, and advantageous for general population folks. Of particular interest – fatigue is pattern specific, so a focus on single-leg training leads to fatigue resistance in single-leg patterns, which characterize the bulk of athletic movements.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. If you’re interested in understanding the “why” behind the most effective hockey training methods, check out: Ultimate Hockey Training

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Have you ever had one of those weeks where you feel like you’re just getting CRUSHED with work?

Last week I had to wrap up some work (basically “Finals”) for my Applied Sports Science and Technology & Informatics classes as part of my doctorate program, make some last minute preparations for our upcoming wedding in Costa Rica on December 5th (…can’t believe it’s less than 2 weeks away), and do some mid-season testing on our junior team.

It was in the middle of this that I learned all of the media files on all of my product sites were blocked, which is slightly worse than worst case scenario.

After a long weekend of work, I’m excited to say that all of the sites are up and running again and that the dust has settled a bit. To celebrate making it through the experience without doing anything brash, like deleting all of my websites out of frustration…or smashing my computer through the floor), and with Black Friday right around the corner, I’ve decided to offer my Ultimate Hockey Transformation “Olympic Package” at a substantial discount. This package features  Ultimate Hockey Transformation, the accompanying nutrition manual (which I still consider the best hockey nutrition resource available today), and my book Ultimate Hockey Training.

If purchased separately, this package would cost $182.

Until Friday at midnight, you can get access to all of the material for only $67.

This is less than the price of any of the Ultimate Hockey Transformation packages alone, so even if you’ve already bought my book, this is a great deal.

If you’ve already invested in these products, feel free to pass this offer along to a friend that you think would benefit.

Ultimate Hockey Training-Olympic Package

Common Hockey Training Mistakes & Hockey Training Radio Feature

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article for our Endeavor Sports Performance website on 3 common hockey training mistakes and how to avoid them. The article sparked a lot of conversation (even some spirited debates) through social media, so I wanted to share it with you.

I was also recently a guest on Mike Robertson’s Physical Preparation Podcast. Mike is one of my most trusted resources in the field, and his podcast is arguably the best training podcast out there. Needless to say, I was humbled to be a guest on it. On the show, we discussed:

  • My background and how I got started in hockey.
  • What originally led me to the world of physical preparation.
  • My “Big Rocks” when it comes to athletic development.
  • The physical tools and traits I would bestow upon a perfect hockey player (if I could create one)!
  • Thoughts on anaerobic/glycolytic development for hockey players, and why this may NOT be the best way to train them.
  • How I deal with the short off-season in pro hockey, and attempt to balance true time off with getting back into shape.
  • My experience working with USA Hockey.
  • The BIG Question.
  • And of course a scintillating lightning round, where Mike asks me my favorite hockey team, my favorite non-hockey sport, and much more!

You can check out the article and the podcast at the links below:

  1. 3 Common Hockey Training Mistakes
  2. Physical Preparation with Kevin Neeld

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingMovement.com
UltimateHockeyTraining.com

 

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Get the Ultimate Hockey Transformation Olympic Package Now!

Year-round age-specific hockey training programs complete with a comprehensive instructional video database!Ultimate Hockey Training-Olympic Package

Get access to your game-changing program now >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation “Olympic Package”

“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University

After spending the weekend celebrating the 4th of July, a holiday that drives unthinkable spikes in hot dog sales, I thought it’d be an appropriate time for another guest post from my friend Brian St. Pierre, who wrote the Nutrition Guide for my new program Ultimate Hockey Transformation.

As a quick reminder, you can get ~50% off almost all of my products until Friday using these links:

  1. Ultimate Hockey Training ($35.95 $19.95)
  2. Ultimate Hockey Transformation (Pro: $147 $77 Elite: $117 $57)
  3. Optimizing Movement ($97 $47)

Enjoy!

-KN

Tip #7 – Drink Mostly Calorie-Free Beverages by Brian St. Pierre

Water is one of the most important aspects of exercise nutrition. In fact, your muscles are over 70% water!

If you don’t drink enough of it, and you end up even a little dehydrated, you will suffer. Your performance will decline, your health will diminish and your body composition will worsen.

Not drinking enough water will especially hurt your performance.

Lose anything more than 1% of your body water – which you can do exercising for just one hour in the heat – your endurance drops, strength and power disappear, and your heart starts racing during relatively easy activities.

This is why it is critical you drink enough. It strongly affects everything you may want to improve – how you look, how you feel, and how you perform. Being dehydrated prevents any of the other nutrition strategies I’ve covered from providing you as much benefit.

So, how much water should you drink?

As a hard-training athlete, you should aim for 12-16 cups (3-4 liters) every day.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Here is an easy 3-step process that I’ve borrowed from my colleague, Dr. John Berardi, for drinking enough:

Step 1: fill a 1-liter bottle and drink it during workouts and practices

Step 2: fill another 1 liter bottle and drink it right after workouts and practices

Step 3: each time you eat a meal, drink another 1-2 cups of water

Now, your beverage choices are not limited to just water. But you would be best served by consuming mostly calorie-free beverages, including water. I will go over some of the best ones. Even with these other options available to you, it would be best if water still made up at least half of your total fluid intake.

Black coffee

Coffee is a somewhat controversial beverage, but it really shouldn’t be.

Black Coffee
 

Some people metabolize caffeine poorly, or feel jittery from caffeine. If this is you, minimize your coffee consumption. But for everyone else, 1-3 cups of black coffee can provided a nice dose of health benefits:

  1. Improved athletic performance
  2. Decreased risk of some cancers
  3. Decreased risk of neurological diseases
  4. And more.

Tea

Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. It is loaded with antioxidants and powerful nutrients. A few cups per day has been shown to:

  1. Calm nerves
  2. Decrease risk of some cancers
  3. Boost immune system function
  4. And more.

Drinks to minimize

With the focus on consuming mostly calorie-free beverages, that means there are other drinks you should aim to minimize. These drinks usually just provide lots of unnecessary sugar and calories, and don’t provide much value to the body.

These drinks include:

  1. soda
  2. energy drinks
  3. fruit juice
  4. alcohol

Note, that this doesn’t mean you should never drink these beverages. An occasional soda or juice is not a problem. It is what you do consistently that matters, not what you do on occasion.

Sports drinks

There can be a time and a place for sports drinks too (Biosteel, Gatorade, Powerade, etc.), such as during extended exercise, being active in intense heat, or during competition. But for general hydration purposes, water is your best choice.

In the end, it is critically important that you consume adequate amounts of fluid every day. If you’re working out or competing, and start feeling a little confused, get a headache, feel tired too quickly, get dizzy, get light-headed when standing up, or feel really moody, these are early warning signs; you need to start drinking water immediately.

-Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, CSCS, CISSN, PN1

P.S. For more information on how to get a copy of Brian’s incredible hockey nutrition manual, click here: Ultimate Hockey Transformation

Brian is a Registered Dietitian and received his Bachelor’s in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Maine, where he also received his Master’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition. He is a Certified Sports Nutritionist as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Brian worked for three years at Cressey Performance as the head Sports Nutritionist and as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, working with hundreds of athletes and recreational exercisers of all types. During this time, he also authored the High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide, Show and Go Nutrition Guide, Ultimate Hockey Nutrition and dozens of articles for publication.

Nowadays, he works closely with Dr. John Berardi as a full-time coach and a nutrition educator at Precision Nutrition. In particular, working closely with our elite athletes and fitness professionals. As part of the Precision Nutrition mission, he helps to deliver life-changing, research-driven nutrition coaching for everyone.

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Get Ultimate Hockey Transformation Now!

Year-round age-specific hockey training programs complete with a comprehensive instructional video database!

Ultimate Hockey Transformation Pro Package-small

Get access to your game-changing program now >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation

“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University

What a stretch. With Endeavor closed today for the 4th of July, this is the first time I’ve had to sit down to write in about 2 months.

Over that time, I flew to Colorado Springs to help with the US Women’s National Team Camp, then straight to Provo, UT for an on-site learning week as part of the doctorate degree I started the month before, home/Endeavor for a week (literally drove from the airport straight into work), then back to Colorado Springs to speak at the NSCA Training for Hockey Clinic, then straight to San Antonio to lab assist a PRI course for the NHL ATCs, then caught up on work for a few days before speaking at the first ever NHL Strength and Conditioning Coaches Conference in San Antonio.

Paddle Boarding

Quick paddle boarding break in Utah. I was fortunate the camera wasn’t out when I belly flopped onto the board 3 seconds after standing up for the first time!

It’s been a busy stretch, but very educational and a lot of fun.

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet. Almost two years ago, a kid, we’ll call him Jack…because that’s his real name, that I had trained while he played in the OHL decided he wanted to hang up the skates and pursue another passion of is: becoming a Navy SEAL. This type of training was an adjustment for both of us, as the focus transitions from speed, power and repeat sprint ability, to a much heavier endurance emphasis to develop the capacity and durability to sustain bootcamp and BUDs (“tryouts” for the Navy and SEALS, respectively).

Jack absolutely CRUSHED about two years of training programs, each phase of which was moderately more unpleasant than the one before. And after a long process of submitting paperwork and repeatedly testing, he’s finally shipping out to bootcamp next week. I couldn’t be more proud of how hard he’s worked and am excited to watch him embrace the grind as he attempts to join one of our country’s most elite units.

In recognition of Jack and in celebration of America’s birthday, I’m running a special one-week sale (ends Friday, 7/10) on three of my products, all of which are around 50% off. If you’re interested, click the links below to grab your copy:

  1. Ultimate Hockey Training ($35.95 $19.95)
  2. Ultimate Hockey Transformation (Pro: $147 $77 Elite: $117 $57)
  3. Optimizing Movement ($97 $47)

As always, I appreciate your continued support. Happy 4th of July!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingMovement.com
UltimateHockeyTraining.com

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With the new release of Lee Taft’s Complete Speed Training program, I’ve gotten a few emails from people asking if his system is “hockey-specific”.

Complete Speed Training

Grab your copy here >> Complete Speed Training

In addressing this question, it’s important to note that off-ice speed correlates to on-ice speed (this well-accepted notion even has research support, so it has to be true). Of course, you need to be able to skate well in order to transfer on-ice speed developments. For instance, Matt Siniscalchi (who coaches with me at Endeavor) is very fast on land.

Matt demonstrating a lateral sprint start variation at our old facility
Not so much on ice.

Mastering the skill of skating is important. So is wearing the right type of skate.
However, the postural control, acceleration and transition mechanics and coordinated reciprocal movement between the upper and opposite lower limbs will all definitely transfer to the ice.

The Lateral Speed videos from Complete Speed Training are especially relevant, as the Lateral Shuffle Acceleration teaches skills relevant to transitioning from backward to forward or lateral skating using a pivot, walking the puck across the blue line, tracking players while maintaining a relatively stable position on the ice (as a penalty killer would against a player walking the puck across the blue line), and lateral starts in general.

The Crossover Acceleration section will teach movement skills that transfer more to quick stops/changes of direction that emphasize a “push under” on the ice.

Finally, the Retreating Skills sections provides a great look at a lot of the other transitional movements, such as back pedaling and then opening up and sprinting in the same direction (as a defenseman may do if a breakout is coming at them faster than they can accommodate skating backwards alone).

All of these movement qualities can be significantly improved off the ice, which will make transitioning them on the ice that much easier. From a coaching perspective, one of my favorite features of the program is listening to Lee’s coaching cues. It’s not only important to hear what he’s saying to make quick changes in the mechanics of his athletes, it’s important to note what he’s not saying. The cues are short, simple, and effective. He’s not overwhelming the athletes with information (as I’m prone to), but he uses the least amount of explanation to deliver the great impact on performance. There’s a lesson in that for all of us!

To supplement the great off-ice speed training information in Lee’s Complete Speed Training, today’s Thursday Throwback from 2012 highlights three on-ice power skating tips that will help your off-ice training transfer to on-ice speed improvements. Enjoy the post, and as a friendly reminder, Complete Speed Training is on sale for $100 off until tomorrow, so grab a copy while you can still save some loot!

3 Keys to Developing Optimal Skating Technique

Over the last several years I’ve had many conversations with hockey players, parents, and coaches about skating technique. Given the importance of becoming a great skater on a player’s career, this is a skill that deserves a lot of attention. I often hear coaches say things, accurately, like:

  1. “You need to get down lower”
  2. “Longer more powerful strides!”
  3. “You need to be more explosive”

This feedback can go a long way for a lot of players, as some have simply never (or rarely) been given feedback on things they can do to improve their skating. In other cases, however, the solution to the player’s skating qualms delves deeper than simply providing a few movement cues for them to consider. This is an extremely important topic that I’ll cover in a future post, but before I cover physical limitations to optimal skating technique, I want to start by sharing some of the more basic flaws, either in practice emphasis or in execution, that players can start to work on immediately.

1) Deep Knee Bend
Simply, for every player there is an optimal depth that will allow them to maximize their stride length.The pictures below are taken directly from my book Ultimate Hockey Training, and illustrate the effect that a lower skating position can have on stride length.

Tall Skating Stance

Deeper Skating Stance

In both pictures, the stride leg is in full extension. You can see very clearly that the stride leg travels about twice as far with the deeper skating stance than with the tall skating stance. Longer stride translates into more contact time with the ice which translates to more opportunity to generate power and forward propulsion.

I frequently use this illustration off the ice when teaching younger players proper body position for squats, jump landings and other lower body movements. I’ve found that most youth players, despite their limited attention span, understand how a deeper stance can translate into faster skating, so explaining how them performing certain movements the way I want translates into faster skating helps with buy-in tremendously.

A deeper skating stance also lower the center of gravity, which makes it more difficult to be knocked off of pucks, and more likely for players to win battles in corners.

Deeper isn’t always better, but it is extremely rare for a player to skate too deep. The problem is almost always in the other direction; he/she stands up too tall. This is an important point to hammer home to youth hockey players who are developing their skating habits, but this skating flaw certainly isn’t limited to the youth population. Emphasizing a deeper skating stance (not just a deeper knee bend) is an easy tip that can help a lot of players get a little bit more out of each stride.

2) Finish Each Stride with a Toe Flick
Another major area where players lose a lot of skating power potential is with the toe flick. Whether it’s a forward stride, forward crossover, or backward crossover, each stride should finish with a powerful toe flick such that the skate progressively leaves the ice from heel to toe.

Skating Stride with No Toe Flick

Skating Stride with Toe Flick

This may seem like a relatively insignificant change, but it’s not. Everyone is capable of tremendous power potential through their calves. As an illustration of this, stand on one leg and jump up and down without bending your knees, only using movement through your ankle. When players realize that there is a relatively small amount of muscle mass accelerating their entire body off the ground, they quickly realize how much potential power they can add to each stride. Another way to illustrate this is to have someone do a max effort vertical jump off of their heels, and then again finishing off the balls of their feet (as anyone would do normally). The difference is substantial.

During crossover strides, this same principle applies, but there is a bigger picture. Often times players won’t “drive under” while crossing over, they only “step over”. This “drive under” cue can go a long way in helping players accelerate through turns and get a little more push from each stride. We use this cue constantly during our transitional speed training exercises at Endeavor.

3) Master Your Edges
This isn’t so much a skating flaw as it is an oversight in what most players practice. Forward and backward linear skating are important, as is learning to crossover, but a fundamental prerequisite to mastering all skating movements is to become comfortable on your edges. So much of the game of hockey involves transitional and curvilinear movement. The best skaters in the world demonstrate incredible balance, agility, and resilience to unexpected obstacles or contact, largely becomes of the body positions and edge control they’ve internalized.

When you get some open ice, perform inside and outside edge holds, forward and backward, on one leg while maintaining optimal body positions. Push the depth of your skating stance and the angle at which you lean into the ice. Practice pivoting from forward to backward and backward to forward on one leg, maintaining proper body positions and ensuring that you don’t stand up tall during the transition.

I really like this video which was posted recently by Darryl Nelson and Carrie Keil, the Strength and Conditioning Coach and Power Skating Coach, respectively, of the USA National Team Development Program, because it demonstrates a great on-ice exercise to improve inside edge comfort in a transitional pattern.

There are a ton of applications of this idea, but I’ve found that these very basic concepts can go a long way in improving a player’s edge comfort, which translates into more confident and purposeful skating on the ice.

Wrap-Up
These are three of the biggest areas that most players can focus on to have a huge impact on their skating technique and power. Regardless of what level you’re playing at, check yourself against these recommendations and see how you do. Almost every player has some room for improvement. If any of the above feels unnatural to you, you may have a structural or functional limitation, which I’ll discuss in more detail in a few days. Check back soon!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingMovement.com
UltimateHockeyTraining.com

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“…an extremely rare comprehensive look at the present state of ice hockey training.”
“…a must-have for coaches and strength professionals at all levels of hockey.”

Ultimate Hockey Training