Posts Tagged ‘Hockey Training’
Yesterday I played in the Kelowna Rockets Alumni Golf Tournament. This is a definitely a fun event to participate in as it’s at a great course and involves some great people. Director of Marketing for the Rockets Anne-Marie Hamilton does a great job to make sure everyone is well looked after and has a great experience.
The Rockets have a great tradition going here so it’s no surprise that NHL players like Josh Gorges, Duncan Keith, Blake Comie and Shea Weber come out year after year to support the Kelowna General Hospital. You’ve heard about this Weber guy, right? He just re-signed for $110 million for 14 years with Nashville. Way to go Shea!
As for the golf this a great tournament. It’s definitely fun to play in a every pairing includes at least one current or former player. And these guys know their way around the course and tend to get out fairly often. As a coach I enjoy this as you can pick up little tricks here and there as to what works for them.
And even if they aren’t the most technically sound golfers they excel for a number of reasons primarily due to their athleticism.
For example, when they tee off they are very effective at finding a balanced position on their feet from which to generate power through the upper body. And if they can become effective at doing this standing on a narrow blade and a slippery surface it only makes sense they are going to be able to do that much better a job at generating power on a stable ground.
Now I realize a snap or slap shot are different from a golf swing. But there are a number of things that are similar to both movements. And if getting off a harder shot is one of your goals then look to apply the following to your training. By the way you can find a complete core training guide in Premier Hockey Training if you would more detail as to how to incorporate this into your training.
So here are the five keys to increasing the speed of your shot.
1. Ensure Everything Lines Up -
Before you even think of movement you need to know your body is properly aligned. One colleague likes to say that the joints stack one on top of the other. Why is this important?
Well if the joints don’t align stress is placed on the joint rather than transferred through the kinetic chain. So in other words you put more force on the joint, which could lead to in injury, and less force is transferred up through the body.
The picture below shows what this looks like with a valgus (or knee caving inwards) stress.
2. You Need Optimal Mobility -
Certain joints in the body need to move. Think of the ankles, hips and thoracic spine. If any of these are limited in their ability to move a couple of things can happen. First the body may try and achieve this range through an alternate joint. For example, if the hips are tight a player may move the low back in order to rotate the torso. Or the player may move only as far as the hips allow and thus not create the pre-load tension needed for a booming shot.
3. You Need Adequate Stability -
There are a couple of key things to make note of here. One is I mentioned you need mobility first. Remember this order and apply it in your training. Secondly the term ‘adequate’ stability was used. Why do I say adequate? Well because your core stability can be thought of as the body’s brakes.
Now which type of race car would bet on? The one that uses just enough brakes to control speed going into a corner? Or the one that hammers the breaks as hard as possible at each corner?
Even if you don’t race cars you’d know that it’s faster to apply only as much braking as is necessary to control the car and prevent it from slamming into the wall.
When loading up for a shot you want your core to fire. But you don’t want to fire your core so aggressively that the body cannot move as quickly and freely as possible. This is common mistake of hockey training where players practice training their cores with high threshold drills and exercises and wonder why their speed doesn’t improve. It’s like wondering why they are slow out of the corner when the brakes are still applied in their race car.
4. Appreciate Weight Transfer -
This is easier to appreciate in hockey than it is in golf. In hockey there is a weight transfer from rear to front leg during the shot. This is evident when the trail leg kicks up on the follow through.
In the same way on the golf course there needs to be a balanced position and a weight transfer to the front leg. In your training you want to make sure to incorporate lower body training that is unilateral, acceleratory and deceleratory to develop these weight transfers.
Want to find the short cut to a faster shot? Pick up a copy of Premier Hockey Training and you’ll have access to all the mobility and stability drills plus lower body exercises to add speed to your shot.
Chris Onside Hockey Training
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.
During the school year we run an afternoon Youth Fitness Training program. This is a non-specialized program meaning it’s not geared towards any one particular sport.
Athletes that participate will learn proper warm-ups and mobility drills. They learn proper posture and stabilization. They learn 3 dimensional movement and are able to control their bodies in all planes before they begin to handle any type of load.
Even once they learn many of the basics described above they still won’t move on to external load. They’ll start with a number of variations of bodyweight squats, push ups, chin ups and get ups. At the end of the training session they’ll do these as a circuit or relay and compete against each other.
Last week these got a special treat however.
Josh Gorges from the Montreal Canadiens stopped by. And the guys were pretty excited about this. Not only to meet an NHL player but one from their home town playing for the most successful franchise in hockey.
Josh grew up Kelowna, played minor hockey here as well as junior for the Kelowna Rockets. He even captained the Rockets to their only Memorial Cup win in 2004. From there he went on play for the San Jose Sharks and now to Montreal with the Habs.
So you can understand the excitement of these young hockey players when one of their own drops by for a visit.
They were so in awe they couldn’t speak to him or ask any questions. Basically we ended telling the guys to show Josh what they had been working on in their training. This allowed them to relax a little bit and demonstrate the skills they had been working on.
And as for Josh he’s just about to get started with his training. Not making the playoffs makes for a long off-season. And Montreal has also gone through a number of management and coaching changes in the past year or so. So it’ll probably be nice to start getting in some training sessions and work on getting ready for next year.
How did last year go for Josh? Well, I think you’d have to say that personally he had a successful year.
Coming off ACL reconstruction surgery this year was also a contract year for Josh. He played in all 82 games for the Habs, led the league in blocked shots, won the Jacques Beauchamp Trophy and signed a new contract with the Habs.
He’ll now spend the off-season in Kelowna getting ready for next year in Montreal. The Canadiens strength & conditioning coach was recently out west to check in with Josh and their number one goalie, Carey Price, who hails from Anahim Lake, BC.
It’s great to see a local guy do well in the NHL. And it’s even better to have him check in with young players trying to get where he’s at. Going un-drafted and having to earn tryouts throughout his career have defined his character and endeared him to teammates everywhere he has played.
Maybe one of the young guys in our after school training program will follow Josh’s footsteps and play in the NHL one day as well.
Summer’s are fun because of the nice weather, the chance to go boating or golfing as well as taking a road trip or vacation.
However summer is also the time for making big gains in your hockey training. It’s the time to address nagging injuries that you couldn’t deal with completely during a playoff push. It’s the time to put on the mass that helps you control your space and impose your will more easily on your opponent. And it’s the time to be able to focus on the recovery between training sessions.
There are lots of great reasons to look forward to the summer.
But as we see with many of our players they also like to take some time and get away. As well, they also have friends who spend their off-seasons elsewhere. And when they come through Kelowna they know they have a place to come and train.
They don’t have to settle for local ‘meat-head’ gym where the squat racks are busier with guys doing biceps curls than they are for squatting.
They don’t have to settle for the local community gyms that prefer that every lift be done slow and controlled. Plyos, med balls throws and Olympic lifts would be out of the question.
Besides hockey players that roll through town in the summer we are also a common training centre for the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team. So you may cross paths with snowboarders and skiers all trying to shine in Sochi in 2014.
But anyways we want to make this same offer available to our friends of onsidehockeytraining.
So if you are a subscriber of this site you are considered a friend of Okanagan Peak Performance, which is the physical home of our athlete training centre. And therefore I want to welcome you to access our facility when you are in the Kelowna area.
So how do you take advantage of this offer?
Simply leave me a comment on this blog and I can let our staff in Kelowna know to welcome when you are passing through.
We have almost 2500 square feet with four racks and platforms, 5 benches, over 3000 lbs of weights, TRX, GHD, slideboards, sandbags, kettlebells, sleds, battling ropes, plyo boxes, bands, tubing and lots of other toys. Basically everything an athlete needs and nothing they don’t.
Take a look at the pictures below to see what the facility looks like.
Besides the great location and equipment we also provide towel service, training and recovery drinks to our training clients. And for our hockey players we include weekly massages with their training to enhance the recovery process.
The last thing to mention about our facility, and maybe the best feature, is the people. Not only do we work with some amazing athletes we also have a great staff here. They’re all about making sure our clients have the best experience possible.
So if you have plans to be in BC this summer hopefully you can stop by and get in a training session or two.