Name:
Email:
 

Posts Tagged ‘assessment’

Specific and measurable off-season training

In the last post I explained how hard work and consistency of training do not necessarily translate to improved on-ice performance for hockey. As well, they are no guarantee that the potential for injury will be reduced. In this post I’ll share what the components of a off-season hockey training program should be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Skating is a huge part of the game of hockey. Everyone has heard the stories of players who were gifted in certain aspects of the game or who had all the other requisite tools but didn’t go far or didn’t get drafted. Read the rest of this entry »

A couple of weekends ago we hosted the Okanagan Strength & Conditioning Conference.

This was an ambitious undertaking as we went out to bring in 5 of the top coaches and researchers in our industry to Kelowna for a few days. This was ambitious because there are fitness conferences in Canada already learning about Zumba insn’t going to help your on ice performance.

But learning from Sean Skahan probably will.

Sean’s the strength & conditioning coach for the Anaheim Ducks. He’s been with the team through a few different coaching changes, had nine players in the 2010 Olympics, three of which won gold for Canada. And he was with the team when they won a Stanley Cup in 2007.

So you could say Sean’s been around and worked with some successful hockey players.

Wouldn’t it be valuable to peak inside his training program? Wouldn’t you want to see what he considers important to the development of an NHL player? Wouldn’t it be helpful to ask him some questions as to what is working with him in his training?

Absolutely it would!

And Sean, like many top flight coaches, is a big proponent of the Functional Movement Screen. If you’re not familiar with the FMS don’t worry about it. It’s a tool used by coaches to screen movement patterns of players. From this screen the coach can then tell which movement patterns are deficient or unbalanced. And this then provides an appropriate starting point for helping offset potential injuries during the season.

The FMS involves 7 tests but I’m going to talk about one in particular which is the Hurdle Step.

This test looks at three things:

* stability of the stance leg

* hip mobility of the stride leg

* core stability

When scoring an FMS you can assign a score of 0 to 3 depending on the quality of the movement. A zero indicates pain when performing the movement and a 3 means the movement met all the desired criteria.

Sean mentioned that he believes hockey players need a 3 on the FMS in this test. This is because the test challenges the stride mechanics. And striding is an integral part of the game of hockey. It also provides feedback on the coordination and stability of the hips and torso. Lastly it is a test performed on a single leg which is sport specific to hockey.

When looking at the hockey player performing the Hurdle Step we want to look for a number of things.

1. Stability of Stance Leg

One of the aspects of the Hurdle Step is that we want to assess the stability of the stance leg. Are the toes and knee pointed forward? Are the pelvis and hip neutral? Are they balanced on this stance leg or wavering?

If they are scoring less than a 3 it may be due to a weakness of the muscles providing the base. Think of your hip abductors such as glute medius. Sean mentioned he likes to use side lying leg lifts to activate this muscle group.

2. Mobility of Stride Leg

While one leg is supporting the body the other knee lifts the leg up and over the hurdle. A common issue for hockey players is psoas weakness.

With this test you want to make sure lifting the knee is not accompanied by lumbar flexion. In other words in order to get the knee up the low back should not round.

3. Core Stability

You can think of core stability as the ability to maintain proper alignment in the presence of movement. In this case the movement would be the lifting of the stride leg. Does the body dip towards the side of the unsupported leg? Does the hockey player get shorter when they lift one leg off the ground? If they had lasers coming out of their hips would the laser light move when the leg lifts?

There are a number of ways to assess core stability on this test. Use the previous cues if you like. The key is to be able to generate movement in the extremities without moving the rest of the body.

In our hockey training program, Premier Hockey Training, we give you a cheat sheet to be able to correct any of the movement dysfunctions you may have. Give it a try and see the impact in has on your ability to stay healthy and play at your highest level.

Here’s  a look at the cheat sheet I put together in Premier Hockey Training.

Corrective Exercise Treatment Table ‘Cheat Sheet’ (sample)

Compensatory   movement Tight/over active muscles Weak/under active muscles Treatment
1. Foot   turns out – externally rotates in anterior view
Calf complex:  gastrocnemius,
peroneals, soleus

 

Gluteus medius, gluteus
maximus, medial hamstring
(posterior tibialis)

 

SMR (foam roll) calf complex,
static stretch calf complex,
lateral band walking

 

2. Knee   moves inward – adducts
Adductor complex: (peroneals,
lateral gastrocnemius)

 

Gluteus medius and gluteus
maximus (posterior tibialis)

 

SMR adductor complex, calf
complex, lateral band walking, supine     bridging

 

7.   Upper body – arms fall forward
Latissimus dorsi, pectoral
major and minor

 

Mid-lower trapezius,
rhomboids

 

SMR back and lats, foam roll
on length of spine with arms
outside, pull overs, prone cobra

 

Pick up a copy to get your own cheat sheet for correcting your movement dysfunctions.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              onsidehockeytraining.com

Well our hockey players are entering the final phase of their off-season training program. Some of the guys playing in Europe this year have booked their flights and are heading overseas in the next couple of weeks. And the junior guys have about another month to go.

As this point in the training there should be certain changes that take place. Drills and exercises become more intense. Volume is scaled back at this time. And conditioning drills should become more specific such as starting out with low impact, more aerobic based activities such as riding the bike, progressing to land based shuttles and tempo runs, moving to slideboard work and eventually culminating with on-ice sessions.

These things shouldn’t be new to any hockey player working with a competent strength & conditioning coach. They should understand the concepts of periodization and how your training should change throughout the off-season.

But that doesn’t mean we do everything the same as any other strength coach would. And we also do other things other gyms and trainers don’t.

Here are a few things we do differently at Okanagan Peak Performance Inc. where we train our hockey players in Kelowna. And many of these principles carry over to the programming in Premier Hockey Training.

The first thing we do differently is send our hockey players for a physiotherapy appointment before we dive into the training. Just as the absence of illness does not equal health so too the absence of pain does not mean optimal joint function. I’m always reminded of the study in the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine that found 70% of hockey players studied presented with abnormal hip and groin MRIs although they were asymptomatic.

And when you consider the tough nature of many players it’s not uncommon for them to downlown injuries and joint pain. This becomes even more problematic when nothing hurts or appears to be an issue.

So we make sure we send them for an assessment at the beginning of the off-season.

Another thing we do is arrange for weekly massage appointments. This allows for quicker and more complete recovery between training sessions. And it always helps to follow up with the therapist later to see what they discovered during the appointment that may go un-noticed during training.

The hockey player also learns which areas of their bodies are chronically tight and need extra attention at the start of the training session. When players show up for a training session they are always directed to grab a lacrosse ball, slip off their shoes and begin rolling out any trigger points they may have. Going hand in hand with this is rolling out with a foam roller.

One of the other unique things we do for our players is to get in contact with the team they plan to play for in the fall. Usually this involves an email or phone call to the team’s coach and strength and conditioning specialist. This does a number of things.

First it lets the team know the player is serious about the upcoming season. Secondly, it gives confidence to the team that this player is doing the right thing to prepare. Lastly it lets our team of coaches and trainers in Kelowna know what the expectations of the team will be for this player. And this last point cannot be understated.

Recently we had the coach of an NHL team want to see a particular score on an aerobic test for when this player would return in the fall. It didn’t matter that this test is not relevant to success in hockey. It didn’t matter than aerobic fitness may be less important than anerobic power. All that mattered was that this coach wanted to see success on this test and the success of our training program would be partly tied to this test. Had we not talked to this coach we would have not put the same emphasis on preparing for this test.

While some of these benefits are only available for the hockey players we work with in person we still apply the same methodology for all of our training programs. And the same offer of contacting a player’s team is available for all our hockey players, even the ones who follow our Premier Hockey Training program.

If you like to benefit from our training style and the benefits listed above give Premier Hockey Training a try. We can get on skype and figure out which teams and coaches you’d like me to talk to for you.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           onsidehockeytraining.com

 

 

Unless it’s an opponent I hate seeing people wasting their time and money.

There are enough things to think about and prepare for in hockey that we should be as focussed and efficient as possible.

Too often I see hockey players do too many drills and exercises not relevant to improving their performance. I put their in italics because the best hockey program for you is the one that addresses your needs and goals.

The best hockey program for you is not necessarily the one being followed by the highest scorer on your team.

Or by the strongest, most powerful player on your team.

Or the one used by the top players in the NHL. You’d be surprised how many times coaches, players and parents will tell me they got a copy of (substitute your favourite hockey player’s name)’s training program and could we follow that in our training?

Sure. We can do anything we want.

But would this program get you the best results? Would it prevent you from suffering from non-contact injuries? Would it be the best investment in your time and money?

Probably not.

Let me put it you this way.

Imagine you got sick. And the doctor said you needed a specific prescription. And this prescription would be dependent on your size, age, severity of symptoms and the time you had been sick.

Let’s add to this that this prescription was new to you and you wouldn’t know how you would respond. Heck, the doctor didn’t even know for sure if the prescription would work for you. Plus with every prescription there are always side effects. So even if the drug works for you you may still suffer from other symptoms by taking this drug.

Now let’s say your friend had a prescription filled for him or her a while back. And there was some left over. The prescription may or may not be for the same illness and symptoms you are experiencing. But we do know the following:

* you and your friend are different ages

* you are totally different sizes

* you don’t have the same experience (tolerance) to prescriptions

* the severity of your symptoms was quite different

Would you take your friend’s prescription?

Nobody would. In fact even if you had your own left over prescription from a previous illness you wouldn’t be allowed to bring this in to a hospital with you.

The prescription has to be specific to the individual.

That’s how your hockey training program should be. It should address your weaklinks and be specific to your goals.

Guess what?

This is exactly the first part of Premier Hockey Training (www.premierhockeytraining.com) the complete off-season training program for hockey.

In this program you receive an Assessment Package and Corrective Exercise Cheat Sheet.

This package walks you step by  step through the various tests to identify what your weaklinks are and what needs to be addressed first.

But knowing what your weaklinks are is useless you know how to fix them. This is exactly the purpose of the Corrective Exercise Cheat Sheet.

Does your knee collapse in when you stride? The Cheat Sheet shows you how to fix this.

Do you have one foot that turns out when you squat, lunge, step or run. The Cheat Sheet fixes this one too.

And here’s the kicker.

Not only are you at a greater chance of getting injured with these kinds of compensations but are wasting energy.

That’s right. Instead of directing power into the ice for movement you are directing it into your joints, which stresses the joints, and results in lower power production.

I hope this isn’t you. I hope you aren’t wasting energy. I hope you aren’t a liabilityto get injured.

The Assessment Package and Corrective Exercise Cheat Sheet in www.premierhockeytraining.com can address these issues before they become a problem.

Want a sneak peek? Here you go.

Corrective Exercise Treatment Table ‘Cheat Sheet’

Compensatory movement Tight/over active muscles  Weak/under active muscles  Treatment 
1. Foot turns out – externally rotates in anterior view
Calf complex:  gastrocnemius,
peroneals, soleus  

 

Gluteus medius, gluteus
maximus, medial hamstring
(posterior tibialis)  

 

SMR (foam roll) calf complex,
static stretch calf complex,
lateral band walking  

 

2. Knee moves inward – adducts                                                   
Adductor complex: (peroneals,
lateral gastrocnemius)

 

Gluteus medius and gluteus
maximus (posterior tibialis)

 

SMR adductor complex, calf
complex, lateral band walking, supine bridging
 

 

Sorry that the page cuts off the treatment part on the right. But in that column you are told the exact stretches and exercises to address your compensations. In total there are 11 common compensations laid out in specific detail for you.

Plus there are videos to go with the exercises.

And we can get on the phone and discuss your assessment if you like.

Want to get started on a hockey training program specific to you? Head over to www.premierhockeytraining.com now and pick up your copy today!

Chris                                                                                                                                                     onsidehockeytraining.com