Growing up I was a huge Gretzky fan. I can remember so many of his milestones.

Like scoring 50 goals in 39 games. I was in Edmonton for that game against the Flyers and he scored 5 that night.

Or the little drop pass he made to Lemieux in the Canada Cup to win the series against the Soviets.

Or how about scoring against the Flames with a rising slap shot in OT. Gotta love that one! Because you can’t be a Gretzky fan and have any love at all for the Flames.

But as great of a player that Gretzky was he was far from the biggest. He was listed at 5’11 and 170 lbs.

And he was far from the strongest. Rumour has it he tested the worst on the Oilers during pre-season camp fitness testing.

He also wasn’t a great skater. But you could tell when he was on his game because he bobbed up and down when he geared up for an offensive rush to light the lamp.

So what do all these facts about Gretzky have to with your hockey training?

Well they should make you realize how nearly impossible it is for someone that lacks in so many physical abilities necessary to succeed in hockey can be the best player ever to lace them up.

And this probably won’t happen again. Ever.

Sure others will come along and match or break some of this records (61). And others may win more rings (4) than him.

But considering how current players are bigger than they’ve ever been.

And faster than they’ve ever been.

With better nutrition, recovery and mental preparation strategies it makes it all the more impressive and rare what he was able to accomplish.

And so knowing all of this should make you realize that, unlike Gretzky, you cannot rely on your vision to see the ice better than everyone else.

You should know that you aren’t going to have the innate hockey sense to go where the puck isn’t, as Gretzky would do, to create space and opportunities for yourself.

So where does that leave you?

It leaves with the knowledge of what you need to do to make it to the next level.

You need to identify where all your weaknesses are and address them.

You need to develop the athletic abilities necessary for success in hockey. Things such as strong phosphagen and lactic acid energy systems. Whole body explosive strength in all planes of movement. A stable core to withstand checks and transmit energy on a snap shot. Not to mention all the best habits related to proper eating, regeneration and mental focus.

And just as Gretzky has just turned 50 and his playing days are only in the record books and archives so too are the days when an under-sized, under strength, average skating player can come along and dominate the game he once did.

If you want to be like Gretzky on the ice you need to be un-like Gretzky off it. And maybe someday someone will be writing a blog post about how great a hockey player you were as well.


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