Hockey Thoughts Day 7: Continually Developing Speed and Acceleration

Anyone that follows me know that I’ve talked a lot about speed and acceleration the last 6-8 months, but I think it’s incredibly important in developing hockey players. Strength coaches will spend time developing strength year round but won’t spend the time to develop speed which to me makes no sense…no one is ever TOO fast, which is why we train the quality consistently in-season.

What really separates players on the ice is their ability to explosively accelerate ➡️ who can gain the most distance in a short period of time to get to loose pucks, catch an opposing player on a backcheck, or the ability to jump up into a play and turn a 2 on 2 into a an odd man rush — so why would we stop trying to train that quality??

Additional Benefit #1: It’s also a great way to get hockey players into hip extension, something they always need more of.

Additional Benefit #2: Though it is rare in hockey, there is some research (Freeman etc al. 2018) showing that sprinting is key for both ⬆️ sprint performance (obviously) but also ⬇️ in hamstring injury risk.

Hockey Thoughts Day 6: Primarily 1-Leg Strength Work

A few days back I touched on how we perform more sagittal plane (really non-frontal plane work to be specific) in-season to try to create more balance across the hips with all the skating that they do. But we also almost exclusively perform 1-Leg Lower Body work in-season for a couple reasons

  1. Spending too much time training bilateral strength and not requiring the hip stabilizers to stabilize in all three planes has the tendency to lead to potential imbalances of the hip abductors/adductors ➡️ 1-Leg training will help train those smaller hip stabilizers in a functional way
  2. Charlie Weingroff’s concept of ‘Lowest System Load’ ➡️ heavy, two leg lifting is a great way to really stress the system — which is probably isn’t something we want to do in-season. We can probably get the same strength benefits from single leg training without putting nearly the load on the system — seems like a no-brainer
  3. 1-Leg Work arguably and probably has more carryover to the sport of ice hockey and/or skating. General in the off-season, specific during the in-season.

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! Here are a few thoughts bouncing around in my head after a week of reading, podcasts and other continuing ed. Enjoy! hello monday

  1. This is a Tweet from Head Strength Coach at Elon University, Nick DiMarco and something that I agree with 100%;
    • “Most of the time we’d rather be wrong with the crowd, than be right with ourselves.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits. A leading reason why bilateral back squats are still performed in 99% of programs. Along with the ‘that’s what we’ve always done’ mentality.
  2. Stop thinking exercise and start thinking movement/adaptation. Chase the adaptation, not an exercise or amount of weight on the bar.
  3. Nothing comes close to sprinting for load on the hamstrings. Sprinting is obviously great for speed development, but they are also great from a hamstring injury prevention standpoint…and the research is starting to show just that.
  4. Transfer is the name of the game for strength coaches.

S&C Week in Review: 2/17

Another week, another group of podcasts and articles to read and listen to that I have dived into. Like every other week, there was a ton of content out there both in written form and through podcasts. Enjoy! Weekend Review

Podcasts

For podcasts, I listened to a bunch of podcasts that were a little old, but a lot that were good nonetheless. If I were to pick one or two to recommend, I enjoyed listening to Michael Vaughn talk about monitoring at Merrimack College and I also enjoyed listening to Pete Dupuis speaking about business on the Business for Unicorns podcast.

Pacey Performance with Geoff Head

Hockey Strength Podcast with Kevin Neeld

FirstBeat Podcast with Michael Vaughn

NSCA Podcast with Devan McConnell and Justin Roethlingshoefer

Business for Unicorns with Pete Dupuis

Articles

For articles, you could go with a classic like Mike Boyle’s article on training hip flexion, which is a great read. In addition, Eric Cressey posted a really cool glute-ham raise variation that people may want to check out.

Master Your Kettlebell Swing by Matthew Ibrahim

Understanding and Training Hip Flexion by Michael Boyle

The Sleep Tip You Should Never Give a Client by Mike T. Nelson

Our Youth Sport Culture is Broken by Brandon Day

Exercise of the Week: Glute-Ham Raise with Banded Reach by Eric Cressey

Top Twitter Post of the Wee

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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In-Season Hockey 🏒Training Thoughts 💭Day 1 of 10 (or maybe 15, we’ll see 🤷‍♂️) .. — 💥Use Contrast/Complex Training for Power Development 💥. . — In-season this year our Wednesday lift has included a heavy dose of contrast/complex training (pairing a biomechanically similar strength exercise with a power exercise) to increase power development. . — We’ve performed a lot of different combos over the last 4-6 months, here are a few 👇 💥 Trap Bar DL ➡️ Jump Squat.. . 💥 Chin Up ➡️ Overhead Slam.. . 💥 Sled March ➡️ Timed 10’s.. . 💥 Alternating DB Bench ➡️ Partner Chest Pass.. . — Though we still focus on developing strength (our Monday lift is much more strength focused) a main of ours this year has been to develop the most powerful, most explosive, and fastest hockey players we can, not necessarily developing the strongest players we can.

A post shared by Craig Edwards (@craig__edwards) on

Hockey Thoughts Day 5: Loaded Jumps for Power Output and Shoulder Health?

Quick 💭 👉 I am a huge fan of loaded jumps for power output for hockey, especially in-season because they are easy to teach, are simple to learn and result in complete triple extension majority of the time. But the biggest reason…

Shoulder Health ‼️➡️ We know hockey players present some issues from a shoulder health standpoint. We know a movement like the Hang Clean requires a decent amount of shoulder internal rotation (otherwise you see the bar drifting away from the body) and external rotation (catch position) to perform correctly. We know it takes a ton of shoulder mobility to get into the correct finish position for a Hang Snatch. But Loaded Jumps place very little stress on the shoulder complex 👉 they are an extremely simple way to give the shoulder complex a little bit of a rest from the demands from a long hockey season.

Hockey Thoughts Day 4: Train Across the Entire Force-Velocity Curve

Hockey is a sport that’s all about speed and power — and we spend a lot of our training time continually trying to develop the quality no matter the time of the year. The reality for us is that we are more concerned with being the fastest and most powerful team in the league, and not overly concerned with being the strongest team in the league.

Each and every lift in-season we try to touch on all ends of the force-velocity curve, even if it’s just a small amount, by training power with different loads through various degrees of velocity, just like we would in the off-season. We try to develop more power via numerous different modalities.

✅ We sprint because it is without a doubt the fastest thing we can do in the weight room — and no one will ever be too fast
✅ We perform bodyweight power through various jumps/plyos
✅ We throw med balls for what we would consider ‘light implement’ power
✅ We perform ‘heavy implement’ power through jump squats, hang cleans, Landmine split jerks and other similar movements

Hockey Thoughts Day 3: Rowing for Shoulder Health

In-Season Hockey 🏒Training Thoughts 💭Day 3

💥 More Rowing for Shoulder Health 💥

🗣 The scapular stabilizers are the most important muscles for protecting the shoulder — Zach Dechant

Really simple thought ➡️ hockey players tend to have pretty cranky shoulders. The position that skating places you in, bent over with the shoulders rolled forward, adds up over the course of a season to some potentially poor posture.

Because of that we make sure to have close to a 2:1 pull to press ratio throughout the course of the in-season period (all year really) with our upper body training, with a large amount of that pulling being focused on rowing.

More Rowing + Less Pressing/More Shoulder Friendly Pressing = Healthy Shoulders (🤞)

Hockey Thoughts Day 2: Sagittal Plane Lower Body Strength Training

A few weeks back I posted something about how we program sagittal based med ball work in-season, staying away from rotational work due to the demands of the sport (i.e. shooting a puck).

Our lower body training is no different. Our goal off the ice is to fill the buckets that aren’t filled in sport, knowing the continually stressing the same movements or movement pattern over and over again is flirting with an overuse injury.

What we know ➡️ skating is a frontal plane movement (yes, that’s overly simplistic) so we don’t program any frontal plane strength work in-season.

A Skater Squat is a perfect example of the thought process. Though almost all our lower body training is single leg in-season, which does require stability in various planes, the movements are essentially sagittal plane movements.

✅ Skater Squat, Split Squat variations, 1-Leg Squat, 1-Leg RDL, Sled Marches, Linear based plyometric Work, etc.

❌ Lateral Squats, Sled Crossover, Slideboard Work, Lateral Bound, etc.

Hockey Thoughts Day 1: Contrast Training

In-Season Hockey 🏒Training Thoughts 💭Day 1 of 10 (or maybe 15, we’ll see 🤷‍♂️)

💥Contrast/Complex Training for Power Development💥

In-season this year our Wednesday lift has included a heavy dose of contrast/complex training (pairing a biomechanically similar strength exercise with a power exercise) to increase power development.

We’ve performed a lot of different combos over the last 4-6 months, here are a few 👇
💥 Trap Bar DL ➡️ Jump Squat
💥 Chin Up ➡️ Overhead Slam
💥 Sled March ➡️ Timed 10’s
💥 Alternating DB Bench ➡️ Partner Chest Pass

Though we still focus on developing strength (our Monday lift is much more strength focused) a main of ours this year has been to develop the most powerful, most explosive, and fastest hockey players we can, not necessarily developing the strongest players we can.

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! Here are a few thoughts bouncing around in my head after a week of reading, podcasts and other continuing ed. Enjoy!hello monday

  1. As a strength and conditioning coach, sometimes a conversation can be your most effective athlete monitoring tool. – Joel Jackson
  2. Teaching movement should always be the highest priority. Too much weight alters movement patterns. An altered movement pattern can lead to compensations, to potential breakdowns, and ultimately injuries.
  3. Culture is more important then sets and reps.
  4. In the weight room, when you find something that is really simple that also works, you win. Simple and effective is the name of the game.