May 272011

I am looking forward to the Stanley Cup finals to start next Wednesday. The fan in me wants it to be a Boston vs. Vancouver matchup, but you can’t count out Tampa Bay. Game 7 in Boston Friday night should be a really good game.
We had a great week of content added to

David Lasnier added Hockey Off-Season Periodization. David has added some good articles to the site recently. He gives a good perspective on some periodization models in this article.

Next up was Mike Potenza’s Playoff Training Model. What I like about this article is that the Sharks know how to get it done in the playoffs. They have been to the western conference finals during the last 2 playoff seasons. This article obviously comes from legit hands on experience from Mike.
The video of the week is also from Mike and it is Roller-Static Stretching Combos. These are some really good easy to do but important stretches and rolls that can be done as part of warm up and post-workout.
A New Look at Rotator Cuff Training is a really good piece from Kevin. Kevin gives some examples through video and explanation of some really good shoulder stability exercises. We have actually been doing more farmers walks, and kettlebell overhead and bottoms up walks.

I am beginning to think that some of the isolated rotator cuff exercises with bands and maybe even the YTWL’s are going to become a thing of the past in our program in favor of more work with the kettlebells.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Thanks for your support,
Sean, Mike, Anthony, Kevin, and Darryl

May 232011

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had registered for the RKC.  For those who don’t know what the RKC is or what the certification is all about, check it out here.  Well, I am about 3 weeks into the training for it.  With my injury history, I have been really focusing on my preparation before I touch the Kettlebell.  Foam rolling, static stretching, some corrective exercises, and some work with the Core X have been a part of my daily routine. 

Basically, I really haven’t done any strength work without a kettlebell during the last 3 weeks and right now, I don’t think I need to.  (This is completely different from training my athletes).   For my training, I have looked into 2 programs designed to help me prepare for the RKC weekend and the 100 rep snatch test. 

For the basic work with the kettlebells, I have implemented the circuit training advocated by Brett Jones in this article.  These workouts have been tough, especially at the beginning as I began doing more volume.   I really value Brett’s wisdom and experience with the Kettlebells as I have watched some of his DVD’s on Kettlebell training and the FMS. 

For the snatch preparation test, I referred to this article by Steve Freides.  I am following this one to a “T”.  I started with level 1, and now I am on level 3, as last week I completed 5 snatches each hand on the minute for 16 minutes.  This is definitely not something I could have just jumped into when I began, so progress has been made so far.   For my next workout, I am going for 20 reps or 200 snatches in 20 minutes.  So, Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be Snatch Test prep work, while Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be Kettlebell circuits. 

To be honest, I really love the way I feel right now.  I feel like my form has been good, (I do plan on getting it evaluated by an RKC instructor) and my back pain is non-existent.  All of the work with the kettlebells and also playing hockey 2-3 times per week both in pick-up games and adult league games is perfect for me right now in my quest to stay strong and in condition.

May 202011

I hope everyone is doing great. We have had some great contributions on  during the past week or so.  We also continue to have some good discussions on the forum including threads on power skating, body checking, and sled progressions.  Make sure you log on and check out the forum. 

Here is what we have added during the past week:

Training For Speed by Darryl Nelson.  Darryl explains the importance of developing speed properly for hockey.  Like myself, Darryl preaches the development of acceleration over top-end speed.  The game of hockey is all about acceleration as rarely do you a see a player achieve top-end speed.  Darryl does a great job explaining the importance of acceleration. 

The Hang Clean Breakdown and Other Olympic Lifts by Jaime Rodriguez.  This is a good article on Olympic lifting and its substitutes.  Jaime also does a great job breaking down a teaching progression for the clean.  This is really good information for someone learning how to teach the clean.  I love the hang clean and use it with my athletes and I have used these progressions as well.

Early Off-Season Program by Kevin Neeld.  This is a good look at a 4-day program that Kevin is doing with his athletes.  I like the focus on increasing range of motion and alignment while also building some hypertrophy. 

ACL Rehab Phase 3 by myself.  This is a continuation of program that worked for an athlete who rehabbed from an ACL tear a few years ago.  It is important to note that this program was implemented by myself daily for 6 days per week for 2 hours per day.  This was after the athlete spent a significant amount of time with a physical therapist.  This is not a program that is to be implemented immediately after ACL reconstruction surgery. 

Thanks for the continued support- Sean, Mike, Kevin, Darryl, and Anthony.

May 182011

I love getting the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in the mail.  There are always some interesting studies to go through.  I was lucky this month as the May 2011 issue of the journal features a hockey study right at the beginning. 

This hockey study, “Physiological Characteristics of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 Ice Hockey Players and Their Relation to Game Performance”, authored b y Karissa L. Peyer, James M. Pivarnik, Joey C. Eisenmann, and Michael Vorkapich,  all from Michigan State University showed more reasons for hockey players to strength train and perform interval training. 

What I really liked about this study is that they looked at how pre-season testing results correlated to overall game performance over the course of a season.  They didn’t just look at a single factor such as on-ice speed or slap shot velocity.  The overall game performance was evaluated through the plus/minus rating and a coach’s perspective where they ranked the bottom 6 and the top 6 out of the total 24 subjects who were men’s division 1 players. 

What the study showed was that leg press, chin ups, bench press, and repeat sprint performance correlated with game performance by the +/- score.  What is interesting is that this study also showed that VO2 max and body composition results seem to not be predictors of playing performance.

The authors state, “Based on these findings, measures of strength and sprint ability appear to be significant predictors of hockey performance.”  From a practical perspective, this shows more evidence and support for hockey players to get stronger and include repeated sprinting for conditioning (interval training).

May 062011

I wanted to get this out before the weekend hits as tomorrow is a big day for the Skahan family.

As a hockey fan, I am really surprised at how the current playoff series’ are going. I would’ve never guessed 3 out of 4 of them could possibly be 4 game sweeps. There is some really good hockey being played on a nightly basis. Still tough to pick who will be in the finals.

On, the forum currently features some discussions on summer seminars, ACL training, and a discussion on the Leg Circuit video. Don’t’ forget to check out the forum.

Here is what we have for new content at the site:

Off-Season Phase 2 by Darryl Nelson. Darryl shows phase 2 of his off-season program. Darryl’s templates and exercise selections are very similar to mine.

Mental Toughness Training for Hockey Players by Brijesh Patel. Brijesh is not only a great writer, but also a great coach. He does an outstanding job at Quinnipiac. This is a great read.

Slideboard Hamstring Curl Variations by Kevin Neeld. Kevin shows some good videos of how to progress the slideboard leg curl. Like Kevin, I love the slideboard leg curl. These are exercises that can be loaded with a little creativity.

Leg Circuit by myself. I added this to the hockey site a few days before I posted it to the blog.

Thanks for your continued support,

Sean, Mike, Anthony, Kevin, and Darryl

May 042011

Here is an example of a leg circuit that I use with hockey players.  I learned about the leg circuit years ago from Vern Gambetta videos and from Mike Boyle.  It is still a great tool for us today.  I really like it because it really focuses on developing leg power, strength, and endurance- both bilaterally and unilaterally.  It serves as a good transition from or conventional strength and power work to more circuit based work.

What I also like about the leg circuit is that it is a great tool for youth players.  When  I begin working with a youth team or individual, we will start with the leg circuit.  I am always coaching proper form and technique with each aspect of the circuit.

When we have the ability to perform the leg circuit properly with body weight, we will then add resistance.  We will progress to a weight vest or dumbbells and then progressd to a bar with added weight as necessary.

May 032011

The beginning of the off-season is always a tough time.  In sports, the plan is to win a championship each season.  Unfortunately, as we know, only 1 team gets to win. 

When athletes and staff have been working and competing on a daily basis for 7 months straight, the off-season is welcomed with open arms.  Although we would like to still be working, we will take the rest at the same time.  This is the time to get away from the game and recover mentally and physically from the daily grind.  It is also time for a hockey player to think about goals for next season.  As a player, what do you want to improve on in the off-season?  Do you want to get faster on the ice?  Do you want to be stronger on the puck?  Better conditioned? 

For me personally, this is the time for me to re-focus and re-energize.  Most importantly, I am looking forward to spending some time with my family and welcoming our new son into the world real soon.  I am also looking forward to relaxing a little bit and finishing up some unfinished books and articles that I have started.  I will also start posting more on the blog. 

From a training perspective, I will start working with players who are in town in a few weeks.  I am already looking forward to getting our guys going for next season.  The longer off-season will only help us come back stronger next season. 

For my own training, I am taking a radically different approach.  I just registered for the RKC workshop in San Diego in August.  I am really excited for this as this is something entirely different for me.  I wanted to do something different from a continuing education perspective this off-season unlike in the past where I go to a seminar and listen to lectures for a few days (although I will go to the Perform Better Summit in Long Beach).  At the RKC, I am going to get a hands-on coaching experience unlike any other.   Besides learning how to teach Kettle bell lifts properly to my athletes, a huge reason that I signed up for it is the challenge.  I really wanted to do something outside of the norm in my own training.  Training and preparing for this workshop will be unlike any training I have done before.  I am looking forward to it and I will keep you posted as I go along.  Thanks for reading the blog.