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Posts Tagged ‘Principle of Specificity’

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