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

Posted by on in Coaching Development

 The purpose of this brief article is to explain our testing rationale for the hockey playing population at Donskov Strength and Conditioning.  Each respective practitioner has his/her own unique reality.  The goal is to allow one’s unique reality to dictate the model used for the planning of training, monitoring and testing.  All models are wrong, some are more useful than others.  When it comes to testing, I tend to ask myself the following questions: 1.) What test(s) are the most relevant for our hockey players?  What testing resources do I have at my disposal?  Do I have access to ice?  How long do I have to work with the athlete?  How much time, away from programming do I want to allot for testing?  Is testing necessary? 

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Although each child develops uniquely based on their individual genes and environment, young children should not be viewed as miniature adults, neither from a cognitive or physiological standpoint.  From a cognitive perspective, the frontal lobe of the brain is less developed in growing children.  This area is responsible for reasoning and objective thinking.  Young children are much more emotional thinkers than their adult counterparts.  From a physiological standpoint, the heart is not yet fully developed (the greatest increase in heart volume occurs at approximately eleven years of age for girls, and approximately fourteen years of age for boys) and many lack the requisite enzyme glycogen phosphofructokinase to produce energy anaerobically (think of glycogen as gasoline.  In order for the car to work it must use, or break down gasoline.), coupled with the fact that there is a less amount of stored glycogen in the liver and muscle due to size.  Finally, anabolic hormones such as testosterone don’t start making large jumps until puberty. 

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Posted by on in Programming

In a study done by former NHL Coach George Kingston in 1976 he found that the average player in the Canadian system spent 17.6 minutes on the ice during a typical game and was in possession of the puck for an astonishingly low 41 seconds. Kingston concluded that in order to get one hour of quality work in the practicing of the basic skills of puck control, (that is, stick-handling, passing, and shooting) approximately 180 games would have to be played.

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Posted by on in Programming

Welcome back!  Last month we spoke in depth about how movement efficiency off the ice can tangibly aid in on-ice skating performance.  We used basic physics to determine that if we increase impulse (the product of net force and the time the force is applied) we can improve our stride efficiency while using less energy to accomplish a given task.  Let’s stay with basic physics as this helps elucidate just why strength training is important for the aspiring hockey player.  First, we must proceed with an elementary understanding of force.

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The hockey stride has been described by bio-mechanists as biphasic in nature consisting of alternating periods of single leg and double leg support.  The single support phase corresponds to a period of glide, while the double support phase corresponds to the onset and preparation of propulsion (Marino, 1977).  Both stride rate and stride length have been investigated as a means of measuring/separating the skating velocities of high caliber and low caliber skaters. The purpose of this short blog is to investigate the research in order to answer the question:  which is more important, stride length, or stride rate? 

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I’ve gotten several e-mails lately regarding our energy system work for our hockey players at Donskov Strength and Conditioning.  Typically, during the off-season, players start with four weight room touch points/week and slowly move to three as ice touches start to increase (more can be found here).  The plan is under-pinned by the high-low model famously pioneered by Charlie Francis. During a weekly micro-cycle, three high days are programed consisting of acceleration and sprint-based work, and two low days consisting of tempo runs.  This will change ever so slightly three weeks prior to training camp when alactic capacity and lactic power work will be programed in preparation for training camp. A four-week snapshot can be found below.

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It’s that time of year once again.  A time when 100+ of the world’s best young hockey players come together to take place in the NHL combine.  Testing, interviews, meetings and assessments all strategically designed in order to further streamline managements draft day decision making.  The tricky part (aside from evaluating on ice skill and character) is deducing which off-ice tests best transfer into on ice performance. 

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The neuromuscular, mitochondrial and structural changes involved from resistance training have been investigated by several researchers  (Holloszy & Coyle, 1984; Kraemer, Deschenes, & Fleck, 1988; Kraemer, Fleck, & Evans, 1996; MacDougall, Sale, Elder, & Sutton, 1982; MacDougall et al., 1979).

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Skating can be described as a bi-phasic activity involving both a support phase and a swing phase  (Garrett & Kirkendall, 2000; Marino, 1977; Upjohn, Turcotte, Pearsall, & Loh, 2008).  The support phase may be further subdivided into both single leg support, corresponding to glide, and double support corresponding to push off.   Propulsion occurs during the first half of single leg support and commences during double leg support as the hip is abducted and externally rotated and the knee is extended (Garrett & Kirkendall, 2000; Marino, 1977).  Skating is a skill, and the differences between elite and non-elite skaters have been investigated by a number of researchers  (Budarick et al., 2018; McPherson, Wrigley, & Montelpare, 2004; Shell et al., 2017; Upjohn et al., 2008)  

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Recently, there has been some fruitful dialogue by several close collogues regarding how best to lace up a pair of hockey skates for increased performance on the ice.  The idea of leaving the first eyelet untied in hopes of producing greater speeds was reinforced in a December article titled “The NHL’s best young skaters all have something in common-how they tie their skates” in The Athletic.  The purpose of this blog is to briefly outline the biomechanical considerations involved in this decision.  Prior to moving forward, we must first define a hockey stride. According to Marino (1977) a hockey stride is:

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