Kevin Neeld — Hockey Training, Sports Performance, & Sports Science

Three Things I Wish I Told You Months Ago!

Monday’s post dove into some of the common misconceptions about elite hockey development (and athletic development in general for that matter), with cameo appearances from a young Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby. In case you missed it, you can check it out here: Random Hockey Development Thoughts

Writing that post made me think about a couple other things that I probably should have told you a long time ago.

Endeavor Internships

First, and probably most time-relevant, we’re currently accepting applications for interns at Endeavor Sports Performance this summer. A few people have hopped on the forums at Hockey Strength and Conditioning (which is an awesome use of the very talented/experience audience on the site) and inquired about good hockey training internships. We have 3-4 spots available. Last year we drew interest from people ranging from local universities to Canada to Australia.

Our past interns have gotten a lot out of their experience with us. On top of being surrounded by passionate people that continually want to learn and get better (both coaches and athletes), our off-season hockey group includes a wide variety of skill (on- and off the ice). I know it’s a lot “sexier” to work with NCAA D1 and professional athletes and that’s what most interns are looking for. In truth, these experiences are great for networking (and general exposure), but probably not as good for coaching. Athletes at these levels tend to move extremely well and don’t require a lot of coaching, just some simple cuing.

In contrast, younger athletes need A LOT of help (turns out sitting on your ass for 22 hours a day isn’t great for building athleticism), and it’s the practice you get coaching these athletes that really helps you understand how to use efficient coaching techniques, change your language based on the athlete, and ultimately to become a better coach. Because we have players ranging from Tier II youth PeeWee programs to those in pursuit of permanent NHL roster-spots, you get the best of both worlds.

In addition to experience, the other two main reasons to pursue internships are to network and potentially pursue employment. Since I’ve joined Endeavor, we’ve had 6 interns. We hired 4, one went on to pursue a different career path, and another had a job lined up for immediately after his internship and is now going back to school in pursuit of his DPT. If you’re interested, go to the link below to read more information and to download the application. You can email the finished ones to me or fax them to Endeavor at (856) 269-4153.

>> Endeavor Sports Performance Internships <<

Endeavor Sports Performance Website

I’ve alluded to this in the past, but I do a lot of writing for the Endeavor site. Because we work with athletes in all sports, the writing tends to discuss sports other than hockey (although I do write about hockey too), general athleticism, and research related to performance enhancement. If you don’t work with hockey players and/or just want more of the good stuff, I highly encourage you to go over to Endeavor’s site and check out the blog:

>> Endeavor Sports Performance Blog <<

And follow us on youtube:

>> Endeavor Sports Performance YouTube Page <<

You’ll get all sorts of great stuff…like how to eat fruit, functionally:

…Never give a Canadian a camera

A few noteworthy posts to get you started:

The Truth About ACL Injury Prevention

High Quality Breakfast for Teenage Athletes

Long-Term Athletic Development: Training Youth Athletes

Strength and Conditioning Programs for Youth Athletes

Why Every Athlete Should Get Hurt…Once

USA Hockey’s ADM (American Development Model)

The more I learn about what USA Hockey is doing with their new ADM the more I support it. Since I started playing, it seems like the American development model has simply been wrong. We play way too many games, we practice too little, and most practices don’t make good use of the ice to enhance skills. There is a reason why, in general, the NHL’s most skilled players are consistently from overseas. From what I understand, Canada is similarly “backwards” in their systems, but hockey is so much more popular there that more talent seems to rise through the ranks, possibly despite the overall development structure.

This certainly isn’t to undermine the jobs that the thousands of coaches in both countries are doing, only to say that we need a better development framework so that new coaches have better plans and philosophies to draw from and so we can be more consistent in our teachings across the country. Naturally, I’m also of the opinion that off-ice training is a necessity, not a luxury, at least not for players that are serious about pursuing elite levels. USA Hockey has done an outstanding job of “righting the ship” so to speak. If you aren’t familiar with the ADM, you can read up on it here:

>> USA Hockey’s ADM <<

If you’re coaching, I urge you to look into this and do your best to begin implementing these concepts immediately. On an international level, it seems that the US has found some success because of their heart, not because they have comparable talent to their Canadia, Russian, Finnish, and Swedish competitors. I think, if coaches and parents buy into what USA Hockey is providing in the ADM, we’ll start to see the U.S. dominate internationally because of improved skill sets. Of course, if everyone takes the “what we’re doing now is fine” approach, we’ll simply continue to tread water.

It’s up to us to make a change! I’m in. Are you?

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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Kevin Neeld

Kevin Neeld Knows Hockey

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.