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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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Posted by on in Coaching Development

The best form of off-ice conditioning for young, aspiring hockey players is movement efficiency!   I know what you’re thinking…what the heck is movement efficiency?  Movement efficiency is the ability to effectively and efficiently reach a desired posture or movement.  As we age, many times we lose the requisite mobility needed to attain these postures and in doing so tremendously compromise our conditioning on the ice.  “Wait…wait..wait…” you say, “you mean to tell me that movement efficiency off the ice directly affects my son or daughters conditioning on the ice?”  That’s exactly what I’m saying.   The answer lies in basic physics.  Let’s take a deeper look as we attempt to solve this problem together. 

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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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