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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Donskov Strength and Conditioning

I must admit that I’m a principle oriented strength coach.  In other words, our principles dictate our program design and the way we train our athletes.  Our programs are basic in nature but every working part has a rhyme and reason set firmly on a foundation of what we call the BIG three. 

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I’ve been involved in the game of hockey my entire life, first as a player and now as a strength coach.  I remember the demands of testing, the competition amongst teammates and the feeling of self-satisfaction after the effort of exertion.  Testing was, and still is a rewarding time for me.  Looking back, one protocol that has stood the test of time, both past and present, in the sport of ice hockey is the 300-yard shuttle.  I endured this test for many years as a player, and have had it in my coaching arsenal during testing day to see “who was in shape” and ready for the demands of a long, drawn out, grinding season packed with 30mph collisions and large amounts of travel.   However, just like everything else in the biological sciences, the more you learn, the more you question yourself, the more you question your methods, the more you question common practice.  After all common practice doesn’t always equate to best practice.  Below are three reasons we no longer test the 300-yard shuttle at DSC. 

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The role of nutrition in sports performance cannot be ignored.  Eating the proper foods serves as a performance enhancer, recovery stimulator and has a profound impact on body composition and fuel efficiency during exercise.  We are what we eat, and poor food choices may have a direct correlation on the results we seek both on and off the ice.  During the course of the competitive hockey season athletes train at Donskov Strength and Conditioning twice/week.  That is NOT a lot of time when we consider that there are one hundred and sixty eight hours in a seven-day workweek.  It doesn't take a PhD in mathematics to figure out 1.19% of the week is spent in the weight room, leaving 98.81% of the time sleeping, eating, practicing, playing hockey and attending school.  The glue that binds all of these activities is will power and good decision-making. The purpose of this article is to educate parents on the importance of proper nutrition during the hockey season.  This article was written for you because more often than not, you are directly responsible for food preparation, grocery shopping and packing on the road.  So where do we start?  What constitutes a good meal?  What should my son or daughter eat before a game?  After a game? This article serves to answer these questions and provide practical solutions sprinkled in with a little bit of science.

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It’s that time of year again at DSC.  Another long, grinding summer of action packed, electrically charged energy in the weight room.  A time for PR’s, sweat equity, discipline, dedication and a one-day better mentality!  It’s also time for a brand new group of interns to begin their quest in the strength and conditioning field in hopes of gaining valuable hands-on experience and one day becoming a practitioner.   This will be the seventh year since the inception of our internship program at DSC.  The truth is, all interns want to learn, but what they need the most has nothing to do with strength and conditioning methodologies, exercise science, or set/rep schemes, and everything to do with people skills and accountability.   

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The sport of hockey is extremely demanding.  Players reaching speeds of up to 30mph is the equivalent of hundreds of small car crashes occurring throughout the course of a 7-8 month season.  Physiological, psychological and mechanical stressors mount during this time.  It is during this period that the strength and conditioning practitioner faces a major challenge; the law of competing demands; In other words, how to balance stress so that players performs optimally when it matters most on the ice.  This job changes during the off-season when the major stressors of competition are removed.  The off-season, although often limited in time, is paramount in terms of physical preparation and the application of additional stressors that may not be appropriate during the period of intense competition. 

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It’s about that time of year again!  A time where youth athletes’ are finishing up their competitive seasons and looking forward to the summer.  It’s also a time when parents are looking at enlisting the service of a “personal trainer” or strength coach to aid in the athletic development of their children.  This is a big decision for a parent that warrants a little homework.  After all you wouldn’t give your hard earned money to an investment banker without knowing their background, philosophy and practical experience.   The same can be said for physical conditioning.  Health is the most important investment of all, and to place it in the hands of a competent Coach takes a little investigating.   Below are three pitfalls to avoid when choosing where you’re son or daughter will train this summer.

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Posted by on in Health & Wellness

Early mornings are common culture among the strength training community.  Sessions begin at 5:30am with an alarm clock that rings well before this time. Coffee has been a staple of our being (for most), and provides a “pick me up” for the early morning commute, long days on the floor and the hours of continuous education.  Truth is, for the last ten years I’ve drunk enough coffee to support several Tim Horton’s franchises, and ingested enough caffeine to make the FDA reconsider what “normal consumption” truly is.  The result is that I grew more and more mentally tired.  Mid day exhaustion, yawning on dinner dates, and a bedtime that resembled that of a middle school student.  It wasn’t until recently when I started to research the effects of caffeine consumption and adrenal fatigue that I realized the beverage I craved the most, may be the plight of my condition. 

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Posted by on in Youth Strength & Conditioning

Everything comes at a price!  Everything!  The question is: are you willing to pay the cost?  I call it rent, but you can call it mortgage, time, sacrifice, sweat equity, or today’s price for tomorrow’s return!  Success is rented!  That’s right…RENTED!  It’s not guaranteed, promised, or contractually obligated.  There is no allowance, no severance package or golden parachute clause.  Dad can’t pay for it, Mom can’t wish it, and you can’t taste it unless YOU pay the price.  Payment is due EVERY DAY, not at the end of the month.  You can pay rent in weight room hours, film, making good off-ice/field choices, being coachable, a respectable teammate and performing in the face of competition. If you don’t CONSISTENTLY work, you can’t afford to pay the rent.  If you can’t afford to pay the rent things get taken from you.  Houses, cars, businesses, relationships, contracts, material possession and SUCCESS! 

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In school we do what we are taught, in the real world…we do what works.  Today there are countless resources at the disposal of the strength and conditioning practitioner.  Books, DVD’s, lecture series, podcasts and programming manuals all designed with the coach in mind.  Through countless hours of education and enough coffee to kill a small farm animal I have found that many times the real world can be the best teacher of all.  You can have all the scientific reasoning, research and peer reviewed literature behind your program, but if you don’t have the time, resources and athletes’ to carry out your plan, your results will be dead in the water.  Through trail and error, here are three lessons the real word has exposed to me with regards to program design that cannot be found in the pages of a book. 

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I know…there have already been hundreds of articles written about Crossfit.  Some good, some bad and some just for the sake of a few Internet hits, dust up and “debate.”  Truth is most of my thoughts have already been written about by Coaches I hold in high regard, but I still frequently get asked the question, what do you think about Crossfit for hockey players?  Before I dive deeper into my response, let me start by paying a few compliments.  Crossfit has done an excellent job of building a brand (although cult may be a better word) of fitness enthusiasts.  They incorporate high intensity training, Olympic lifting, foundational lifts, and plyometrics into their protocol, all of which can aid in the development of building the athlete.  The major issue is not in these exercises per say, but in the “application” of these exercises, the overdose of stress, lack of technical proficiency and the idea of turning training into a “sport”.  I know, here comes all the hate mail, but as a strength and conditioning professional, I feel that I need to stand firm in my professional opinion, and in doing so inform both parents and young aspiring players.  Below are 4 reasons why Crossfit is not an ideal training regiment for hockey players. 

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