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Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

The men’s gold medal game at the Olympics was one of the most entertaining games I have ever seen. From the perspective of having two evenly matched teams play each other for Olympic bragging rights this game had all the drama and excitement you could have hoped for.

First of not many pundits gave the Americans much of a chance to begin with. And I’m not sure why. Simply based on their pre-tournament ranking they weren’t predicted to advance to Sunday’s final. In fact their flights back to their respective homes were booked for Sunday morning before the game had even begun. That’s not putting much faith in them.

When you saw the way the US played through the round robin and playoffs they were on a mission. And their goalie? No disrespect to Luongo but Miller did everything he could to get the US the gold. Did the US peak at the right team? Hard to say. But the were playing at a high level early on in the tournament and it’s emotionally draining to sustain that energy for a couple of weeks.

But what it came down to for Canada was each player playing his role. Every player is a captain, star or points guy from his NHL team. During the Olympic tournament they had to put aside what they normally do with their NHL clubs and do what works for the benefit of the team.

Some may say chemistry had more to do with it than simply filling a role. This is true to a certain extent but the San Jose and Anaheim lines already chemistry and weren’t going to succeed without doing all the little things. And Iginla and Crosby don’t play a lot together and they were effective. And other than Seabrook and Keith the rest of the defensive pairings would not be very familiar.

Lastly, I was really hoping Pronger would be benched for the final. He was a liability through the round robin and quarter finals until he started to play the role he needed to play. In the final he was great at shutting down the US forwards and getting pucks on net from the blue line. In the third I seem to remember him putting one off the side of the post.

The whole point of this is to realize that success won’t come without a total team commitment and solid goaltending. This is just my opinion. If you saw it differently let me know. One thing I do know is that the Olympic hockey gold medal game is going to continue being extremely competitive and exciting.

Chris

onsidehockeytraining.com

Have you been following the Olympics? Specifically the hockey. Both the men’s and women’s tournament in underway and already there have been some great games. I’ve been following more of the men’s games then the women’s for the simple reason that it’s hard to get excited over an 18-0 game. On the men’s side the competition is wide open. The US is definitely strong, the Swedes are the defending champs, the Russians are considered favourites by many, Finland could surprise and the Czechs always seem  to come together at international tournament time. And of course there’s Canada where the goal is always gold. It’s going to be interesting couple of weeks for sure.

In between action I have caught a few of the commercials. Nike in particular is running a series along the themes of destiny and and with the tag line of ‘force fate’. It shows a number of Canadian hockey players training as they explain what destiny doesn’t do and how they will force fate. These are all supposed to be examples of the cutting-edge methods these hockey players are applying with incredible intensity and focus. At one point an athlete says ‘destiny doesn’t run a 5 k before every practice’.

So you’re thinking ‘what’s the big deal?’ Well the thing is hockey is a game of speed, power with many changes of direction and collisions. And there is something in training known as the Principle of Specificity which basically means the training should relevant and appropriate to the sport. Well how relevant to hockey is it to run a 5 K?

Not very relevant at all really. But what about as a warm-up you may be asking? I think there are better ways to warm-up and prepare the body for training for hockey than to spend 25-30 minutes doing a steady state 5 K run. You see a 5 K run  doens’t do a lot to get the hip extensors turned on. It doesn’t do a lot to activate the scapular retractors. And it doesn’t do a lot to get the body going in the frontal (side to side) or transverse (rotational) planes.

But what if you address all of these concerns after performing a 5 K run? Then it should be ok to go for the run right? Well you have to consider that all resources are finite whether it be time or energy. So knowing that their are limits on both of these we need to be a little more careful how we spend our time training and energy. However this isn’t even the most important reason going for a 5 K run may not be a great idea.

Noted strength and conditioning coach Al Vermeil once said ‘train slow, be slow’. Everthing we do has an impact on our nervous system, our motor programs and our ability to call on the appropriate muscles, quickly. While there is a definite need to have a certain aerobic capacity to succeed in hockey we can over do it with our aerobic training. Additionally, there may be better ways to go about improving our aerobic base then by going for a 5 K run.

So while I give Nike credit for some of the gear and appareal they make I’m not sure if I’d resort to their commercial when selecting the components of my hockey training program.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    onsidehockeytraining.com