Anthony Donskov

Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance. Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.

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Anthony Donskov

Anthony Donskov

Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance.  Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.  

The use of debit card transaction has grown considerable over the years. Although I’ve never enjoyed watching money leave my account, the convenience is priceless. One swipe and magic, money has disappeared! With convenience one also has to assume risk. If you overdraw (miscalculate your funds) your account may be suspended, closed and accumulated debt is inevitable. In-Season strength and conditioning is debit card management! Too many transactions/stimulus and athletes fail to recover, leaving their accounts empty and exposed. Below are several major programming differences between an off-season and in-season hockey (insert any sport here) strength and conditioning program.

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Posted by on in Programming

As strength and conditioning professionals our job is to provide a safe platform for our athletes to develop strength, power, speed and other specific variables that can directly impact athletic performance. Simply put, we manage stress for a living. We prescribe specific doses of stress to elicit desired adaptation(s).   Too little we fail to alter performance. Too much, overtraining and organism breakdown are the result.  It is our goal to apply the right amount of stress at the right time to allow adaptation to occur (hypertrophy, strength, power ect.).

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If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years training youth athletes’ it’s to NEVER take anything for granted. Just when you think something is too obvious to be addressed, it reaches out and smacks you right between the eyes. I know that over the years I’ve learned from these encounters and now take every step necessary to avoid the “obvious” mistake of not addressing the obvious (I know the word obvious was used several times over the last few sentences, it’s obvious). Below are three Tips from the Trenches and experiences that I have learned from along the way. Hopefully this can allow you to learn from my mistakes. 

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Posted by on in Programming

Donskov Strength and Conditioning has built a niche over the years training hockey players. I would imagine my previous career in the sport (both at the college and semi-pro level) has led to the large influx of players and organizations entrusting DSC to train their athletes. I would also hope that my thirst for knowledge and professional experience in exercise science far surpasses my so-called career as a player. John Wooden once said “Don’t confuse professional experience with your ability to teach it.” Just because you played, doesn’t mean you’re a qualified coach. Although we take pride in our niche base of hockey players, I’ve never been a fan of what I would call “specificity overkill”, or sports specific overkill. Our job is defined, as Strength and Conditioning professionals not sport coaches. What’s the job of a strength and conditioning coach? Pretty simple; improve strength and conditioning qualities that can tangibly be carried over into competition!  Some qualities overlap regardless of sport. Some do not.

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I have had the privileged of training a youth hockey organization here in Columbus, Ohio for the last five years. To say the experience has been rewarding would be an understatement. I truly believe one of the best ways in which I’ve evolved, as a strength coach is my experience training the youth population. Young hyper mobile Tommy who’s only experience in the weight room was lifting in Dad’s basement doing a heavy dose of arm curls and triceps extensions posses a completely different set of issues than training a college/professional athlete. The former is a novice lifter needing a solid foundation of stability, strength and neuromuscular efficiency, where the latter may be an advanced lifter recovering from a grueling season, hypo-mobile, needing fluctuating stress levels to adapt. I enjoy training both populations. I love my job.

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The current state of youth development is at a crossroads. What we’ve done for the past decade or so has been sub par. Kids have been encouraged to specialize at an early age (year round), play too many games, and parents dream on behalf of their children with the cumulative result to this equation leading to burnout and an underdevelopment of our youth.   Hockey is a glaring example. Here are some of the issues currently plaguing youth development (exert taken from Misha Donskov/ADM presentation):

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Over the years I have had the privilege of working with a diverse population of athletes. Although the niche of Donskov Strength and Conditioning is hockey, we have had the opportunity of coaching athletes at each stage of the development process. I can tell you that regardless of age, our goals are similar: stay healthy, get strong, get fast, and get powerful. In addition, our recipe is very similar: “Think small. Work hard. Get good!” (Wooden) Our goal is to master the fundamentals. Basic addition is one of the biggest problems with youth training AND youth sports. By constantly adding drills on the ice/field, youth athletes fail to master the fundamentals of their respective sport. The same holds true in the weight room. Addition by subtraction is the key to development! Below are three principals of the Addition by Subtraction philosophy that we utilize at DSC.

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I write this article as a Coach, not as a niche strength and conditioning professional, but as a Coach. The word Coach has tremendous meaning and implication regardless of sport or activity, paid or unpaid. We are life changers! We have the ability to instill values, create work ethic, and provide a positive culture for young men and women. Ask any middle aged person and chances are some of the most important and influential people in their lives have been coaches. This is a responsibility, and with great responsibility comes accountability! Regardless if you are a paid professional or a volunteer, you have the ability to change lives! Just because you volunteer doesn’t mean you have any less responsibility!

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It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people confuse strength and conditioning with personal training. Take a look at the chat on web site forums, so-called fitness experts and armchair trainers and you may think that personal training and strength and conditioning are the same. Conversations such as:

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Program design fascinates me!   So many unique elements make up the system that seeks to elicit results for various client populations. It takes years to master and is continuously under construction. As the saying goes, the best program is the one that you’re not currently on. Coach Boyle wrote an excellent article last year called “Should You Stick to the Recipe?”   This article is perfect for young, intermediate coaches who seek to build their own programs/recipes. The evolutionary stages of cook, sous-chef, and finally head chef are excellent analogies pertaining to learning the science of program design. Another important element is the menu. Once the recipe is mastered, there needs to be a menu set in place for your customers. What happens if a certain customer doesn’t eat red meat (they can’t squat) or is a vegetarian (had shoulder surgery)? Menu planning is an art. Here are the three stages of designing your own strength and conditioning menu. As Coaches, our goal is to design a menu that fits the needs of our customers.

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