So the other night I was at a hockey game and grabbed a copy of the program. Inside there was an article about strength and conditioning for hockey.

The article was referencing a number of former professional hockey players who are now involved in the off-ice demands of the game. And I think this is a great thing.

Great that more hockey players are recognizing the necessity for complete hockey development. Great that more hockey players are realizing the benefits to being off the ice for part of the year in order to rest, recovery, develop and come back stronger. And great because it adds credibility when a former pro shares with a young prospect the need to put in off-season workouts and training.

But the article left me wondering if there was a problem developing?

I mean it’s great to have passion and want to help people but it’s another thing altogether to have the theoretical knowledge and practical ability to in order to help someone. Additionally, there is a necessity to commit to your craft 100% in order to stay up to date on the latest training developments and research.

Think about it this way.

Imagine you have the most caring person in the world. Someone who devotes their entire life to helping others. Their biggest concern in the whole world is making sure you are looked after and cared for as well as possible.

 Former Pro May Not Be the Best Choice for Hockey Training

Would you let this person perform brain surgery on you?

No way you would!

You would seek and possibly demand the most qualified and experienced surgeon there is. Even though this other person has the very best intentions and is intensely passionate about helping you it would not be worth the risk to hand them the scalpel to see what happens.

In much the same way there are a number of people out there would are interested in helping you with your hockey training. But sometimes their energy, passion and interest does not make up for what they didn’t take in school. It doesn’t make up for the information contained in scientific journals. And it doesn’t automatically update the information, methodology and training programs they learned and used when they played the game.

Case in point…a number of former players that would consider themselves ‘in the know’ may have performed the bulk of their hockey training on and with a stability ball. And this may continue to have a large influence in their current hockey training practices.

But stability balls have a very small influence in current hockey training practices. And this isn’t simply for the sake of change or to be different. There is a reason why the approach to hockey training has moved away from using this tool during a workout.

Would someone that still uses a stability ball for as much of their programming for hockey know this? Probably not.

Which is unfortunate for the young prospect who respects everything the former pro tells them yet doesn’t recognize their scope of authority is limited to the on-ice aspects of the game.

When it comes to the off-ice they should defer to the experts in this field. What qualifies someone as an expert for training hockey players?

Well usually it includes individuals with a degree or even a graduate degree in kinesiology, exercise science or human kinetics.

It includes indivuals who are certified to coach performance training. Sometimes you’ll see the letters CSCS or PES after their name.

It includes indivuals who practice what they preach and are fluent in all of the drills and exercises they would prescribe to you.

And lastly these individuals should have a passion to continue to learn, question, discover and develop better ways of doing things.

Because if you ignore all of these pre-requisites you may as well book your next major surgery with the most passionate, likeable and enthusiastic guy or girl you know. Because that’s all you’re probably going to get.


2 Responses to “Former Pro May Not Be Best Choice for Hockey Training”

  • Dave Cunning says:

    I get the point of what you’re saying, but I think you need to be careful in your condemnation of former pros’ ability and credibility in training younger players. While some trainers may, as you say, not have any education in the field (besides playing experience) or letters behind their name, a lot of others (myself included) do have training and education to back up their training methods, and shouldn’t be ruled out as viable trainers. In fact, I’d say a former pro with trainer education might be an ideal for a young player to train with; given their educational expertise, and knowing how to help the player apply and relate that teaching to a game the trainer knows like the back of their hand. I think the trainer needs to stay afloat of ever-evolving training methods, but credible certifications require their trainers complete ongoing education to keep their certification valid. I fully agree that it’s a good practice to check a trainer’s qualifications before signing/paying anything; I just think the assumption that a former pro won’t have the cred is a little hasty.

    • admin says:

      Hi Dave: Thanks for your comments. I guess I didn’t make my points as clearly as I could have. Let me try again.

      I’m referring to the situation of former pros who do not have a degree in a relevant field. Nor do they hold a top quality certification. Nor do they subscribe to journals, attend conferences or present themselves.

      Does this mean that no former pro will have have or do any of these things? Definitely not.

      But if a young hockey player works with someone who played the game yet does not the qualifications stated above the athlete is at a disadvantage and potentially not getting the best training experience.

      Thanks for reading and posting.


Leave a Reply