A couple years ago I was invited to go speak at and run the off-ice training for a USA Hockey Regional Festival for 14 year olds.

I was really excited about the opportunity for a lot of reasons.

First off, I love working with players at that age. They’re sponges for information and are at an age where quality training can have a HUGE impact on their development, and how they stack up against their peers.

The neat thing about this age group is that almost all kids start training, Unfortunately, most players do what a lot of high school athletes do and hop on the Monday: Chest Day, Tuesday Legs (e.g. skip this because your legs are big enough, right?), Wednesday…you get the point. They follow bodybuilding style programs that aren’t even remotely close to what a hockey player should be doing to improve their speed, power, strength and conditioning.

This is actually good news for the players that do it the right way, as it gives them a distinct advantage over their peers at an age where players are starting to play in front of more scouts.

Secondly, I’m a huge supporter of what USA Hockey is doing at the youth levels, both in terms of on- and off-ice development. I’ve been saying for years (long before I started working for USA Hockey with the Women’s National Team) that their American Development Program is really special, and is by far the best system to encourage long-term development of elite players that our country has ever seen. That said, I was excited to have an opportunity to work with them and to influence such a great group of young talents!

Finally, I love Colorado. Emily and I have always said that if we could pick up and move our lives to one city, it’d be Denver (Boston is a close second…it’s just MUCH colder there). Unfortunately for this trip, my plane landed in Colorado Springs during the worst of the fires that broke out that Summer. The fires were so bad in the area I wasn’t even sure they’d hold the camp. We ended up having to change our training venue from Air Force (which was evacuated the day before we were supposed to start) to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) headquarters, which was a pretty cool experience for me and for the kids. Air Force would have been awesome too (their weight room has glass windows with the mountains as a backdrop…unbelievable), but you know, safety first.

Anyway, someone forwarded me an article from USA Hockey’s site because it had a picture of me working with some of the kids from that camp.

USA Hockey Camp-Kevin Neeld

These kids were awesome.

After I read the article, I read through a few others (it’s easy to lose track of time with all the information they have on the site) and came across another one I thought you’d really enjoy. I think a lot of parents have questions that are addressed in these two articles and they’re both pretty quick reads. Check them out at the links below:

  1. 14U Q-and-A: Can you recommend a workout program?
  2. 14U/16U: Profiling True College Hockey Prospects

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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“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