Posts Tagged ‘NHL Draft’

Steven Stamkos of the Sarnia Sting. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images for the NHL)

So the NHL draft is coming up at the end of the month from the Staples Center in LA.  Teams will use a variety of criteria to determine who they select.  Players hoping to be drafted will have gone through a number of interviews, psychological evaluations, medical examinations as well as a fitness evaluation. 

Just about a month the top prospects  were in Toronto for the NHL Combine.  This is where the players are put through the physical tests that help teams evaluate the players they have in mind. 

The players will have their height, weight and wingspan recorded.  They will perform a variety of strength and power tests such as the hand grip, push ups, sit ups, bench press, standing long jump, vertical jump, med ball throw, a balance, an agility and a couple of energy system tests.

Each of the tests provides particular information both about the physical abilities of the player, the potential for continued improvement and in the case of the hand grip strength test some information about bilateral asymmetries.

So which ones should you focus on and which ones really matter?

I’m a big advocate of eliminating weaknesses before adding positives. This applies to all areas related to your preparation for hockey. With your nutrition you’ve got to get rid of the processed, high sugar and low-nutritional value foods before you start shopping for healthier options. You need to get your rest in order rather than worrying about an ergogenic aid in the gym or an energy drink to get you going. And you need to eliminate any areas of compensation with the body’s movement patterns before looking to increase load on any of your lifts.

So before you rush off to improve your bench press score look to increase the mobility of your shoulder blades and stabilize the shoulder. As well look to stabilize the core, specifically your ability to resist flexion, prior to increasing your bench. And once you are ready to work on your bench start with the push-ups first and then proceed to the bench.

Prior to getting into your lower body training look to get the frontal plane muscles of the lower body turned on. Before you take that big wind up to test your vertical and long jump abilities ensure that you have spent some time working on your landing mechanics. Very few hockey players ever got hurt from the take off portion of a jump but whenever an injury does occur it’s almost always during the landing.

And lastly, before you begin looking for the energy system workout that will have you emptying your gut make sure you develop the systems in the right order. While you may impress your workout buddies, and unfortunately some coaches, with efforts that exceed your body’s threshold and thus cause you to puke, know that this is your body’s way of saying ‘too much’. You will get greater gains and peak at the right time during the season by training hard but respecting your body’s limits to training.

And the second part of the question above ‘which tests matter’ is they all do. The only one I don’t care for a lot is the bench press but they do all provide valuable info as to the size, strength, power and energy system development of the players. To really stand out however make sure you eliminate your weaknesses first, work to your capacity and perform your training in the proper order.