Posts Tagged ‘strength and conditioning coach’

Every now and again I’ll take some time and check out what’s happening online related to hockey training. I like to check out my colleagues sites and see what’s happening. As well, as with any random internet search, you can stumble across some previously unknown sites out there. When I come across something new, to me anyways, I’m always critical of who’s providing the information. Here’s what I mean.

Does the person posting the information have an educational background as a strength and conditioning coach? Or maybe as an athletic trainer? Possibly a personal trainer? Maybe the background is in rehabilitation? While these are all honourable professions they all have slightly different areas of emphasis. If your goal is to improve your strength and fitness level as a hockey player than a strength and conditioning coach is the best choice.

The other benefit of working with a strength and conditioning coach is that this individual will possess a university degree. While having a few extra initials after your name can be impressive it’s not the key point. A university background shows a dedication to higher learning. It shows perserverance towards a goal. And it shows achievement. With a science degree it demonstrates that the individual understands the scientific method, has a critical mind and lets the research, rather than their opinions, guide them.

On one of these sites there was a article on creatine. Interested I clicked on the link to read further. The article basically told hockey players that creatine may be carcinogenic and therefore should be avoided. What? How irresponsible is that? They make reference to the fact that the a couple of NCAA schools have restrictions on the use of creatine as support for this claim. First of all, the author only mentions a couple of schools that adopted this policy. Secondly, creatine is not a banned substance by the NCAA.

If an NCAA school adopts a policy to restrict the use of perfectly legal supplements than that is their right. While I sometimes believe supplements can be over used there is a definite advantage with the use of certain supplements. I’ll usually evaluate a supplement based on the amount of research that exists, the purported benefits  as well as the potential side effects. If there are any questions regarding ethics or legalities of the supplement than it doesn’t even enter the the possibility of consideration. Safety has to be the first consideration then the benefits should be evaluated next.

The next thing I try and determine is whether the author has a background training athletes. Often times what we know to be true in the real world is followed by a  few years in the research. As well when you are working with hockey players on a day in day out process you get a better sense for the demands of the game. You understand what type of injuries occur more often. You understand how to work around these injuries. You understand the need to communicate with various other levels of the organization from coaches through management to achieve a common goal. And lastly, you have a better knowledge for what made a big difference in last year’s training, and therefore should still be included, and what training can be tweaked the following off-season.

The take home message here is to be very critical in terms of what resources you rely on with your internet searches. It takes nothing more than a url and some hosting to put content online. And for people who like to post on others sites or forums, not even that much. Before the electronic age it used to be that ‘if it was in print, it had to be true’. Really question and evaluate the information you are coming across related to hockey training on the internet. By doing so you will be in a much better position to weed through what is quality info and will help your game and what to avoid.


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.