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Critical thinking is the art and science of rationalism.  It’s the foundational belief that science starts and ends with problems.  The goal of the pursuit is iterative in approach with each failure leading closer and closer to a better explanation.  The result is a temporary theory or conjecture.  Supreme theories offer superior explanations and are tested/criticized more often. The “game” of science is a game with no end. 

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What makes a great skater?  This is a complex question to answer. The truth is, no two strides are the same and there is no perfect answer.  Skating, like playing the guitar, is a skill.  There are plenty of players playing at high levels that have unorthodox stride signatures.  The game of hockey is complex, and although skating comes at a premium, one also must consider hockey sense, technical, and tactical tendencies as all may lead to efficiency on the ice. 

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Strength matters in ice hockey!  Here’s why.  The ice is a near frictionless environment.  This is a distinct disadvantage during acceleration when the player must overcome inertia and accelerate.  In order to be effective, the player must possess large amounts of strength in order to create a large propulsive angle between the ice and skate.  In addition, large step widths and single force peaks are reliant on both strength and coordination.   Recent research has correlated single leg broad jump (strength reliant) with on-ice acceleration abilities of competitive hockey players.  Take home message:  get strong!

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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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