Posts Tagged ‘Masters golf’

Were you following the Masters golf tournament on the weekend? It was a great final day for a number of reasons.

First of all there were at least eight players who had a share of the lead on Sunday which makes for an exciting finish. And one of these players was Tiger which in the past was enough to intimidate the rest of the field.

But for me the last reason was the one that really got my attention. And it was this guy wasn’t in the running.

And by this guy I don’t mean John Daly specifically but instead the guy who is out of shape and not conditioned to perform at all.

Think back to what Tiger and the seven other final players looked like.

Not many of them had poor posture. Not many of them had bellies hanging over the belt line. And not many of them looked fatigued coming down the fairway on 18.

And while he may not be the first to have adopted fitness to improve his game on the course, Tiger is probably the best known. Younger players over the last 10 years have modelled everything he does in order to try and replicate his success.

But what about hockey?

Would you say there has a been similar change in the game of hockey? Are players more aware of the need for off-ice training? Do they now come into camp in shape instead of using camp to get in shape?

To be fair to players of previous years, I don’t mean to suggest for a second that the current batch of hockey players are harder working. Instead it’s a case of economics.

If you played before the modern era in hockey you didn’t make enough during the season to relax during the summer, go fishing, play a few rounds of golf and hang out with your buddies. Instead in meant getting back to the farm in Saskatchewan and working until the call for camp came.

So the current generation has benefited greatly from what the increased cable contracts, advertising revenues and luxury box sales. This has afforded them the opportunity to focus solely on the game of hockey, year round.

But when I say year-round hockey obviously I don’t mean on-ice the entire year. The best players know to take some time to get off the ice. This is important to allow for the mental and physical recovery that must occur.

This also allows these players to continue to improve on the athletic abilities that allow them to dominate on the ice. This includes things such as addressing their weak links, correcting movement dysfunctions, building whole body strength and translating this strength to power.

Eventually once there has been enough time away from the ice to rest and recover from the tolls of the game as well as to develop the requisite athletic abilities, then a hockey player can look to return to the ice.

Unfortunately there is a knee jerk reaction that sometimes happens where the hockey community believes the only way to get better at playing hockey is to get on the ice and play more hockey There are 2 problems with this.

1. Practice doesn’t make perfect

A noted physiotherapist once told me ‘practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect makes perfect’.  

Imagine if you’re a right handed shot and you place your right hand up high on the stick and your left hand down low. Now go out there and take 1000 shots a day from now until camp opens.

Do you think you’ll have the hardest shot on your team? You could take over 100,000 shots between now and training camp. That’s a lot of practice. And if we believe practice makes perfect you’d be well on your way.

But this will never work, will it?

The same goes everything else you do to prepare for the game of hockey. It’s about the quality of the preparation rather than the quantity of preparation. 

2. You are only as good as your weakest link

Imagine a piece of chain with a broken link in the middle. You want to hook the chain on to a sled and pull it. But it always breaks at the same point.

You can try pulling harder. You can get friends to help you. You can grease the bottom of the sled and add extra links to where it isn’t broken.

But the chain continues to break at the same spot and you make no progress.

This is very similar to what happens to many hockey players.

In the off-season they do what they’ve always done. They do what are familiar and comfortable with.

But they never take the time to determine where their weakest link is. And as a result they spend their off-season spinning their wheels and making minimal progress.


This off-season make sure to take some time to get off the ice. Take stock of what worked well this past year and what could be better. Talk to your coaches and get some feedback on where they feel you can improve. If your team has a strength and conditioning coach on staff make sure to get some feedback here as well.

Next invest in an assessment with someone who can identify your weak links, explain to you why this matters and most importantly provide solutions to address these weak links. Once you fix your weak links pulling that sled gets a whole lot easier.