This Week in Hockey Strength and Conditioning

It’s been a wild ride over the last week. Last Thursday I flew into Boston and spent a few days at a seminar with my friend Devan McConnell, and the guys at Northeastern. Sunday, when the seminar wrapped up, I immediately got a rental car and drove to Lake Placid to join the US Women’s National Team for the tail end of the Pre-World’s Camp, and yesterday we all relocated to Burlington, VT. It’s been a great experience so far, although I had to step up to film a scrimmage against Finland, so I’m a little worried about the quality of that as a resource for breaking down footage (“Why hasn’t the camera moved in the last 5 minutes?”).

Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy and apologize for not putting up much in the way of new content over the last couple of weeks. I’m hoping to get back on track in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, check out some of the great stuff that we’ve been adding at Hockey Strength and Conditioning recently. Before we get to that, have you listened to these three interviews?

  1. Hockey Training Radio Week: Part 1
  2. Hockey Training Radio Week: Part 1
  3. Hockey Training Radio Week: Part 1

Also, if you’re a member of my “Ultimate Hockey Training Insider Section”, I added three new programs a few days ago: Early Off-Season 2-3 Day/Week Phase 1, Early Off-Season 5-Day/Week Phase 1 & 2 so make sure you check those out! The Insider section is available exclusively for those that have purchased Ultimate Hockey Training so check it out if you haven’t already!

Over the last couple weeks, there have been several great additions to the site. Check out everything via the links below:


  1. 4-Day Off-Season Conditioning from Mike Potenza
  2. Level 1 Training Program: Phase 1 from me

This is a 12-week 4-day/week conditioning progression from Mike, and what we’ve used at Endeavor as a basic introductory training program for athletes that are joining us for the first time. Our “Level 1” programs are very heavy on the basics. The goal is always to teach and reinforce proper movement and exercise technique, to build a large foundation to build from in the future.


  1. Ball Squeezes from Sean Skahan
  2. Stagger Stance Lateral Squat from Darryl Nelson

Sean posted two exercises that he uses in players returning from groin injuries and as part of his programs in the interest of minimizing groin injury risk. We’ve used these and several other similar variations for the same purpose. Great stuff. Darryl’s video shows a variation to the lateral squat that I’ve never seen before. This looks like a great option for helping the athlete to find the locked out back leg that we want. I’m definitely going to play with this one over the next few weeks.


  1. Goaltender Specific Strength and Conditioning from Darryl Nelson
  2. Stiffness Isn’t Always Bad from Eric Renaghan
  3. Training Overhaul: Making the Transition from Old School to Current Principles without Pissing off the Coach! (Part 1) from me

Darryl and Eric’s articles both address common “dogma” areas of hockey training. Darryl outlines the physical qualities that goalies need to be successful and addresses how he incorporates goaltender training into the overall team program. While we do things moderately different at Endeavor, our philosophies are extremely similar. The circus acts that are performed in the interest of making training goaltender-specific is laughable. They still need to be strong, powerful, and well-conditioned. Eric highlights that stiffness isn’t always a bad thing (in fact, it’s often a desirable thing!) and suggests a few exercises to improve stiffness strategically.

Finally, I realize how difficult it can be to bring a lot of new ideas to a coach or training program that may have, well, aged roots. Transitioning an old school program to one with more current concepts isn’t easy, and a lot of your success will depend on both the openness of the program to change AND how you sell it. In my article, I’ve presented a progression for implementing new concepts for specific physical qualities and some of the language I’ve used to explain why a change may be necessary to the coach. Being able to speak the same language as the coaches is important in allowing them to understand the benefits of the program. For example, coaches may not care about thoracic mobility, but they will likely understand harder shots. Is the correlation 100% direct? Obviously not, but framing it in a way that helps them understand why something is important may gain you the green light you need.


  1. Hockey Strength Podcast with Dan Boothby

Dan Boothby, who works with Northeastern’s hockey team, hops on the Hockey Strength Podcast to discuss the upcoming Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group Summer Seminar in May. This seminar features a hockey-specific track with a number of incredible speakers, including Sean Skahan. I haven’t missed this one in the 3 years it’s been up and running and it’s the first one I put on my calendar every year. If you train hockey players, I STRONGLY encourage you to go this year. Check out this link for more info: BSMPG

If you haven’t heard already, the membership cost at jumps up to $14.95 on April 9th, but if you sign up for a membership today you can lock in the rate of $9.95/month for life!

That’s a wrap for today. As always, if you aren’t a member yet, I encourage you to try out Hockey Strength and Conditioning for a week. It’ll only cost $1, and if it’s not the best buck you’ve ever spent, I’ll personally refund you!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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