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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in hockey training

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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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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There is currently a limited amount of information for the sport performance coach pertaining to stride mechanics and bio-motor mechanisms in competitive ice hockey.  The goal of this article is to briefly outline several research articles that may be used by professionals to steer decision making and/or gain a deeper understanding of the kinematic and bio-motor applications involved in the sport.  In other words, here is my brain dump!  A mixture of brief research findings sprinkled with some pragmatic takeaways.  Let’s start out by defining the hockey stride:

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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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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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“Most of the problems that exist in youth sports result from the inappropriate application of the win-oriented model of professional or elite sport to the child’s sports setting (R.E. Smith 1984).”

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

I wish I knew fifteen years ago what I know today.  Not just pertaining to my craft as a Strength Coach, but the valuable life lessons I learned along the way during my career as an athlete!  The importance of realizing inner potential, the necessity of utilizing all resources to their utmost capacity and that “intangibles” are just as important as physical attributes in the journey to success. In fact, the more I look into the process, the more I envision one big assembly line producing specialty vehicles.  The assembly workers (Coaches) ensure that all parts are strategically placed in order for the car (Athlete) to run effectively and efficiently with minimal pit stops.  Each car is different so each worker (Coach) has an important job in the final construction.  Care, concern, and attention to detail are just a few qualities of a good line worker (Coach).  Nobody wants a car that constantly breaks down, is missing an engine or won’t start. 

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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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