This Week at Hockey Strength and Conditioning

David and I made the trek out to Chicago (just a quick 14-hour road trip) for Perform Better today. This is the first full Perform Better Summit I’ve ever been to, so I’m really looking forward to hearing all the speakers. It’ll also be great to catch up with people like Mike Boyle, Darryl Nelson, Maria Mountain, Kyle Bangen, Josh Bonhotal, and Charlie Weingroff (among others). If you’re in the area, shoot me a quick note and we can meet up for a beer protein shake.

I hope you’ve appreciated the value in this week’s posts. Hip assessments are really of paramount importance for hockey players. This week we had a new player start with us from Northwood Prep that I had never met before. Within 15 minutes of meeting him I was able to establish that he had CAM impingement in his right hip (and likely a more mild case in his left hip), instruct him on what “full” range of motion was for him, what feelings to avoid, how to move, and a focused soft-tissue/long duration stretching/breathing program for him to ensure that his CAM impingement doesn’t progress to a same-side sports hernia like they frequently do. Catching this early is huge. This player is now in a better position to avoid surgery secondary to a sports hernia and/or labral tear, and has an understanding of his mechanics that will help delay the development of osteorarthritis in that hip (which almost always follows CAM impingement). If handled correctly, this means improved performance levels and a longer, healthier career.

Unfortunately, the majority of the older players we see have some sort of anatomical “abnormality” that warrants consideration in their training programs. This week’s posts shed light on some of the anatomical asymmetries that predispose athletes to certain, somewhat predictable injuries. If you missed them, I encourage you to check them out here:

  1. The Myth of Symmetry
  2. Hockey Hip Assessment

We added a bunch of new content over at Hockey Strength and Conditioning this week.

Darryl Nelson added a video from USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) conference a while back of him running a younger group of athletes through some off-ice training exercises that are more fun than regimented training in nature. The cool thing about the way Darryl runs this is that the kids probably don’t interpret it as a chore. It feels like playing to them, which is something a lot of kids miss out on the way that sports society has drifted over the last decade. For the youth programs that are looking to add an off-ice training component to their U-12 teams, this is a great place to start.

Check out the video here >> Off-Ice Games from Darryl Nelson

I posted the 2nd Phase of our 4-Day Off-Season Training Program at Endeavor Sports Performance. Many of our players will be entering this phase next week. This phase ramps up the amount of speed training work considerably, especially that geared toward improving transitional speed. We also increase the emphasis on conditioning. The resistance training aspect of the program is designed to improve maximal strength levels before we transition into more of a power-driven phase leading into pre-season camps.

Check out the program here >> 4-Day Off-Season Training Program: Phase 2 from me

Mike Potenza added a 4-day off-season training program with an emphasis on speed strength. This was cool to look through because there were a few things I was completely unfamiliar with, which will inevitably stimulate some good forum discussions in the near future. Mike writes his programs a little differently than I do in that he uses 3-week cycles instead of 4 and the speed, core, and conditioning work are pulled out. He has separate progressions for those things, so they aren’t included on his training sheets. Great learning opportunity for other hockey strength and conditioning coaches out there.

Check out the program here >> Speed Strength Phase of Training from Mike Potenza

Lastly, Cristi Landrigan, who is one of the most dedicated parents I’ve ever met, recently forwarded me a link to a great audio interview with Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock, which I added to our site. I think it’s a great opportunity for everyone in the hockey community to hear from the head coach of one of the top hockey organizations in the world and get an idea of his mentality. Despite all of his success, he’s still constantly looking for ways to improve as an individual and as a team. I think everyone would benefit from adopting that “never satisfied” mentality.

Listen to the interview here >> Mike Babcock Interview

As a parting message, I’ve talked with a handful of players that compete at the semi-pro level recently that strongly recommended that we make a stronger effort to let players at that level know about our site. Their feeling was that many players at those levels have trained in an organized hockey training setting before, but don’t have anyone to provide quality programs for them to use. Because we constantly post 4-day off-season programs and 2-day in-season programs throughout the year, a membership to our site would be a great option for players that would benefit from professional strength and conditioning instruction, but don’t have the resources (money, time, qualified professional) to hire someone locally. If you know of anyone currently playing at the OHL, ECHL, IHL, CHL, AHL, or any of the professional leagues overseas that you think would benefit from following a professionally designed hockey training program and from having forum access to high caliber coaches, please forward this along to them.

And if YOU aren’t a member yet, fork out the $1 to test drive Hockey Strength and Conditioning for a week. If it’s not the best buck you’ve ever spent , I’ll have David Lasnier personally refund you!

To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

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