On Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting Brijesh Patel, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Quinnipiac. Brijesh primarily works with the mens and womens hockey and basketball teams there. We spent about 7 hours picking each others’ brains about everything from groin and hip flexor injuries to speed training to program design.
I probably took home about a dozen exercises, coaching cues, and program design techniques that I’ll start mixing into my programs, but there was one thing we talked about that stood out above everything else:
The difference between a championship team and every other team is the collective ability of each player to sacrifice personal agendas for the betterment of the team and outwork their opponents every second of every shift.
It may seem counterintuitive that two strength coaches would agree that the secret to on-ice success is almost entirely mental, but it’s true. Commitment to something greater than yourself will always beat out raw athletic ability. This means:
Whether it’s off-ice training, practice, or a game, the mentality has to be that you’ll do whatever it takes to take your game, and your teams performance to the next level. The best training program, practice structures, and game systems in the world won’t overcome a lack of team determination: the inability to accept defeat as an option.
Ask yourself before every off-ice session, practice, and game, “Am I willing to give everything I have?”
Ask yourself after every off-ice session, practice, and game, “Did I give everything I have?”
Until you can say yes to both of these questions, you shouldn’t be worried about off-ice or on-ice practice drills, line combinations, or your coaches.
The prerequisite to success is 100% effort.
To your success,
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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
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.