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

Body composition matters in ice hockey.  Here’s why!  One of the most important physical abilities needed to be an effective player is acceleration or the ability to win 10-15’ puck races. Excess body mass negatively affects acceleration.  To see why, a basic understanding of physics is needed.  Newton’s second law states that force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration (F=ma).  A simple manipulation of this formula allows us to solve for acceleration leading us to the conclusion that acceleration is equal to force/ body mass.  Larger body mass leads to a decrease in acceleration.  It’s important for players to focus on foods that promote the growth and maintenance of lean mass throughout the course of the off-season.  Poor body composition leads to decrease efficiency on the ice.

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#OneDayBetter

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Earn It:

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Positive Attitude:

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Be an “Everydayer”:

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The good old days --- a time when hard work, commitment, discipline and positive attitude were expected, not rewarded.  Failure was not final and earning meant sacrifice. These lessons have stood the test of time.  Growing up in Canada, I never played AAA hockey, I got cut from most of the teams I tried out for.  I knew at an early age that hard work, desire, determination and discipline were the keys to success.  My father never responded by formulating a new league, moving across town, getting involved in “politics” or buying me something to ease my self pitied state. By doing so, he taught me a very valuable lesson that would pay off later in life:  In the real world NOT EVERYONE GETS A TROPHY. 

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In my opinion, it’s extremely important to understand the tools of the trade for various sports and their requisite performance underpinnings.  In the world of hockey, perhaps no tool is as important as a player’s choice in both skates and sticks.  The hockey skate consists of a hard-outer shell, a rigid toe box to withstand the velocity of flying pucks/sticks, a padded tongue, which may, or may not be manipulated for increased range of motion, an Achilles guard, heel counter and skate blade.  Players traditionally choose a skate that provides the most comfort while ensuring performance needs.  The balance of this so called “performance teeter-totter” typically resides in a personal choice between rigidity and range of motion (frontal plane stiffness and sagittal plane mobility).  For example, defensemen may choose a stiffer boot due to the fact that backward skating (C-Cut) does not have a swing phase only a stance (foot is on the ice the whole time).  In addition the trunk segmental angle (relative to the horizontal axis) in forward skating is significantly less than backward skating which indicates that players lean their bodies significantly forward during forward skating and not nearly as much in skating backwards [1].  More can be found here.  This choice has direct impact on biomechanics, and foot contact within the skate [2]. 

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Posted by on in Programming

Reflecting on my hockey career, I always remembered the first few days of training camp.  Those were intense times.  I also recollect questioning my off-ice preparation during these times?  Why did my legs feel so heavy?  Did I not train hard enough?  Time and time again, I didn’t feel I had my “hockey legs” underneath me.  For someone who took so much pride in off-season preparation, why did I feel this way?  It took me many years to formulate a working hypothesis.  They say experience comes at the user’s expense, if only I knew then.

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Posted by on in Rehabilitation

The adductors are a series of long muscles that originate in the pubis (pelvis) and insert into the femur (leg).  In the sport of ice hockey, their function is to eccentrically decelerate hip extension during push off, while concentrically contracting during swing.  In other words, as the player pushes off, the adductors are lengthened.  As the player recovers his/her foot, the muscles are shortened.  Adductor strains are amongst the most common form of soft tissue injury experienced during competitive ice hockey.  Adductor strains are prevalent and accounted for 10% of all injuries (10 of 95) in elite Swedish ice hockey players [1], while others have reported that 43% of injuries (20-47) resulted from adductor strains in elite Finnish ice hockey [2].  In a study from Tyler et al. [3]   researchers found that National Hockey League players with adductor to abductor strength ratios of less than 80% were seventeen times more likely to experience an adductor strain.  In order to understand these implications, one must dive deeper into the biomechanics of the sport.

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

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).  Ankle mobility may play a role at increasing stride efficiency.  Increased range of motion, in particular dorsiflexion (think toes pointed up towards the sky), may aid the skater in assuming a lower skating position, thus reducing air resistance, while simultaneously increasing impulse, or the time the player has to produce force.  In addition, pre-stretching the achilleas may increase kinetic energy thus increasing propulsion.  Using electrogoniometers, researchers measured foot kinematics on the ice during a parallel start from defensive-zone face-off circle to offensive zone face-off circle.  The acceleration phase occurred during the first 5 steps with steps 6-10 representing steady state.  The following findings were recorded based on the average measurements of the sample size:  (Pearsall et al., 2001)

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