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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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It’s that time of year again at DSC.  A new batch of young interns has joined our staff in hopes and aspirations of becoming strength and conditioning professionals.  Whether the end goal is the University/College setting, or the private sector this experience will help “set the table” for their future endeavors.  Over the years our internship program has evolved into a formal application and interview process.  Well before an intern sets foot into the confines of our facility, it’s important that our staff feels that he/she will be a good fit for the DSC family.   Pulse, passion, and purpose far outweigh diplomas, pre-conceived opinions, and certifications.  We have been pretty lucky over the years to have a very good mix of interns, some better than others.  Below are five keys for young coaches to have success, and a memorable internship experience in the strength and conditioning field. 

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

I am pulse, I am purpose, I am passion…I am Coach.  I am discipline, I am desire, I am determination…I am Coach.  I am teacher, I am mentor, I am leader…I am Coach.  I am thermostat, I am temperature, I am regulator…I am Coach.  I am detail, I am fine print, I am “the little things”…I am Coach.  I am transformational, I am inspiring, I am caring… I am Coach.  I am energy, I am enthusiasm, I am motivation…I am Coach.  I am not reality TV, cable boxes, gaming systems, quick fixes, infomercials, false bravado, or transactional.  I am the person that seeks to lead, guide, blaze, live, learn, fail, fall, stand, walk and breathe with the best interest of “my team” in mind.  I am Coach! 

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

Some may choose to call it a box with old iron, rust, rubber, infused with the smell of sweat: a place where testosterone reigns free and emotions freer.  An atmosphere clouded in chalk and saturated in sweat.  I choose to call it a classroom: a classroom for both Coach and student.

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Posted by on in Youth Strength & Conditioning

Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from too little iron in the body.  I’m not talking anemia, hemoglobin, red meat or oxygen transport; I’m talking about barbells, dumbbells, and free weights.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with parents who are concerned that young 13-year-old Tommy who plays hockey, one of the most physically intimidating, bone crunching sports in the world is concerned that weight training may cause adverse effects.  Never mind that young Tommy is built like a coat hanger, can’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag and that the organized chaotic demands of hockey stress a young body far more than a well organized, structured strength and conditioning program.  This leads to a condition I refer to as Iron Deficiency.  Iron deficiency is a dangerous condition where the musculoskeletal system is not prepared to meet the demands of the stress imposed on it.  It affects a large majority of the youth population who spend the summer’s playing Nintendo, running long distances, and engaging in non-external resistance training such as boxing, MMA and Insanity.

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I am convinced that if you want something bad enough, you have to roll up your sleeves, buckle up your chin strap and be prepared to scratch, claw and grind for every inch of greatness you can attain before it’s too late.  All athletic careers have expiration dates!  You have to be ALL IN! There is no “I think I’ll go play Nintendo today” or “I’ll just have Mom and Dad say I’m not feeling well”, or “I don’t feel like rehab today on my injury” at the elite level.  You’re either all in OR your all gone!  Recently “rare air” has been attained at DSC as three of our elite athletes have attained Championships at the International and National Levels respectively:  Lisa Chesson (USA Women’s National Hockey Team World Champion), Connor Murphy (USA World Junior Hockey Gold Medalist), and Keith Gavin (USA 84KG Freestyle Wrestling Champion).  To say that we are proud would be an understatement.  They embody what it means to be “ALL IN”.  Yes, they all have great genetics, BUT more importantly, they are “Everydayers”!  Their work ethic and drive matches their attitude and desire to get better, get stronger, listen to their bodies, rest, recover, regenerate, and attain “consistent greatness”.   Weather it’s focusing on lifting heavy weight, breathing patters, diet, rehabbing an injury or getting more sleep, they spend just as much time “working in” as they do “working out.”   Bottom line: they are prepared! 

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

“There is no progress without change, but not all change is progress.”  (Wooden) There have been many advances over the years in the field of strength training: new technology, cutting edge equipment, advanced recovery tools, means, methods, published studies, internet “experts”, technical cuing, progressive motor learning and an ever-changing “ideal” of the perfect program.  With all of these variables, have we forgotten the Coach?  After all who is it that controls them?  Which means, methods, equipment, and recovery need to be used under differing circumstances?  Most importantly, who has the ability to change lives through discipline, motivation and realization of potential? 

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

DSC is pleased to announce the release of our new Athletic Development/Sports Performance video.  This video details our training philosophy, training environment, exercise protocol and coaching style.  We take pride in providing unparalleled strength and conditioning services in a safe, team oriented atmosphere.  We believe in work ethic, attention to detail, commitment, determination and accountability.  Educated, caring Coaches fueled with passion for exercise protocol, make DSC an ideal environment for athletes of all ages.  Welcome to DSC!

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Posted by on in Programming

At Donskov Strength and Conditioning we have the unique opportunity of training athletes of various training ages (Beginner, intermediate and advanced athletes’ populate our programs).  As our business has grown over the years, so too has the number of athletes’ considered intermediate/advanced (4-5 training years) based on experience and years “under the bar”.  With this demographic, comes different programming variables.  No longer can these athletes make gains with progressive overload by simply adding 5 pounds to each side of the bar.  The load needs to fluctuate and “wave” allowing for periods of brief intensity coupled with periods of lighter dosing.  Our waves at DSC are three weeks in length with total volume dropping 40-50% in the final week to “realize gains” and stay fresh.  Here is how a single wave may work:

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