Let’s talk about conditioning for ice hockey, shall we? I want you to ask your self a couple questions about off ice conditioning: 1) Are you running your players endless? 2) Are they running at a steady pace? The answer should be “NO” to both questions. Here are two things you should be doing instead:
Do right by your athletes by spending time working on skating efficiency. No matter how hard you run them off ice, if they can’t transfer the benefits of off ice conditioning to on ice performance via efficient skating, then it’s all for not. But if you train them off ice effectively, and team them to be efficient on ice then it’s a win win situation.
Off ice you should be focusing more on a fartlek style interval training. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s randomized interval training comprising of sprinting, running, and walking. Think about the sport in question, ice hockey, we sprint, glide, skate at a steady state for a moment.
Number should be a no brainer, simply stand around yelling at your athletes to sprint, run, or walk at various random intervals for 10 minutes, then let them rest for 5 minutes then repeat 2 more times. Be creative in those five minutes. However there is a dilemma with number 1! Are you qualified to teach your skaters how to skate efficiently? Having been a skating coach for 9 years, I’ve had the privilege of producing some phenomenal skaters. Most of my skaters have gone on to play AAA, high level prep school, and juniors back east. I’ve also spent lots of time undoing bad skating habits accumulated from years of bad skating instruction. If you have any doubts about what efficient skating looks like, then go talk to a figure skating coach. Yes, I’ve only played ice hockey, but I’ve had the same skating coach since I was 8 years old, Gary Visconti. The skating instruction I pass onto my skaters is a tradition. It’s that simple. If you want to discuss effective ways of creating efficient skaters, please feel free to contact me.
Today’s theme was about connecting the dots. So much of what we do in the world of strength and conditioning is playing connect the dots to formulate that optimal program that will enroll the coach to inspire his athletes to come to us so that we can help fill the gaps with a little S&C to boost them to that next level. Coaching an athlete towards reaching that next level takes understanding, empathy, compassion, knowledge, and building rapport. Few athletes care about the process we go through so that we can provide them with the tools they need.
We begin to see the dots the moment we know the sport we’ll be working with. Name a sport and the dots will start to appear. It’s these dots of information that need to be connected in order to achieve the desired outcome.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself; so what? What’s the practical application of this theme “Playing Connect the Dots”? Take a moment to think about it…
Think of an adverse situation that you’re currently facing. Now that you have it, sit with it. Do you see the dots? If not, you should look at it a little closer. Once you decide to slow down to have a closer look, you’ll notice that this chaos is simply caused by you not taking the time to connect the dots in the way they’re supposed to be. When you connect these dots, everything will become clear.
Remember that these dots represent the life you’re living. See what you want to see.
Are the terms Mobility and Flexibility interchangeable? Before we discuss that, let’s take a look at the definition of both:
Mobility: the ability to move or be moved freely and easily
Flexibility: the quality of bending easily without breaking
Simply by definition, they are not interchangeable. They are however easily swopped out for each other. Training flexibility and training mobility are two totally different beasts! Both need to be respected and practiced.
An example of training mobility is the “Overhead Squat”. Being able to retract your shoulder blades, expanding your thoracic cavity, extending your thoracic and lumbar spine, breathing into the belly, as our hips, knees and ankles flex, preventing our head from protruding out in front of our shoulders. Total body engagement and awareness.
An example of improving flexibility is the splits. Flexibility is about breathing and relaxing into a stretch, allowing gravity or an external force to open or a close a joint by relaxing the muscle that is preventing that joint from going through it’s full range of motion.
There are books, websites, and studies on this topic… My intention is for you to see a quick glimpse of the similarities and differences. And invite you to include both in your training.
Over the past couple months I’ve made myself available as a virtual coach. Providing phone sessions, and posting YouTube video samples of exercise recommendations. This is not a service that I’d ever thought I’d provide, but after being able to change the lives of others from thousands of miles away, I’ve realized that the virtual world has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Now I know that there are people who have been doing this for years, but for me it’s new and exciting.
This new world has given me an opportunity to hone my verbal communication skills. If I am not able to verbally communicate what needs to be done, then I will not have served my client to the best of my ability. The question that pops to mind is; how am I able to deliver what I’m delivering without ever seeing a client in person? Here’s my simple break down!
3. Full commitment to the moment
4. Full commitment to my client’s goals
5. Presence to my client
Yes, I know I’m listing qualities about myself that make me the great coach that I am! The same things that make me a great coach in person, are the same qualities that make me a great virtual coach!