Jun 292012

I can’t believe that it is almost July.  For any Strength and Conditioning Coach who works with hockey players in the off season, the summer months are a busy time and the best time to make an impact with our players.  I love this time of the year because this is when it is just the Strength and Conditioning Coach/staff and the players.  No games or practices; just strength and conditioning sessions.

Before I get into what was recently posted on HockeySC.com, I want to post some of the comments that were made by Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf in regards to playing different sports at a young age. This was originally posted on Ducks.NHl.com.  He is a guy that I have been honored to work with over the last 9 years.  He also happens to be a really good hockey player who has won championships at every level he has played at.

On Ryan Getzlaf playing baseball as a kid:

“Growing up, I always believed in playing different sports, and so did my family. We didn’t want to focus on one thing. I played baseball, volleyball, football and all that stuff. As you get older, you kind of have to pick a route and that’s when I leaned toward hockey. “

“I was very involved and I loved baseball. I loved being outside. I was a catcher, so I got to be in control a little bit, which is a good thing for me. I loved football, but I think I was better at baseball.”

Recently at HockeySc, we have had some great contributions:

New Article:

Defensemen Specific Speed by me.


Phase 1 Sprinting Variations by Kevin Neeld

Hip Extension Holds by Mike Potenza


Off-Season 2012 Phase 2 Strength Training by me

3-Day Off-Season Program by Darryl Nelson

On the forum, we have some interesting discussions going on about FMS and Y-Balance tests, Crossfit workouts for elite players, and a post on programming questions.  Please check out the forum the next time that you log on.

That’s it for now.



Jun 182012

Hi Everyone, I hope you are all doing well.  It is has been a few weeks since my last HockeySc.com update.  I’ve been pretty busy lately with trips to Germany, Boston, Toronto, and St. Paul, MN.  It is great to be home with no travel plans for the next month.

The off-season is in full swing as hockey players all around the world are participating in their off-season strength and conditioning programs.  It is the best time of year to be a Strength and Conditioning Coach.

As for what’s going on at HockeySc, we had some excellent contributions since my last update.

For our new articles, we have:

Essential Components of a Strength Training Program by Darryl Nelson

Pro’s vs Joe’s by Jim Snider.

Triple Flexion Training Considerations in Hockey by Kyle Bangen.

We are pretty excited to be able to put up contributions from Jim and Kyle.  They do an unbelievable job with their players at Wisconsin and Michigan Tech.

For our new videos, we have:

Side Lying 1-Leg Hip Extension by me

2 Arm DB Snatch by Darryl Nelson

For new programs on the site, we have:

Summer 2012 GPP Phase 1 by Mike Potenza

2012 5-Day Off-Season Hockey Training Program Phase 1 by Kevin Neeld

On the forum, we have had some really good discussions.  Some of the topics include off-season conditioning and screening with the FMS and Y-Balance test.  Please check out the forum the next time that you log onto the site.


Sean Skahan

Jun 132012

A few of my friends/colleauges have requested that I write up a review of my recent experience at the CK-FMS cert.  Doing this helps me organize my thoughts and comprehend what I have learned from a seminar.  Here you go:

This past weekend, I attended the CK-FMS in St. Paul Minnesota.  For those that may be unfamiliar, the CK-FMS is a certification that is provided by Dragondoor in conjunction with Gray Cook- founder of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and Brett Jones- who is heavily involved with the FMS and the RKC community.  The CK-FMS is 4-days long and consists of lectures and practical sessions on the FMS screen and the accompanying corrective exercises.  That is the most general description of it in the sense that there is way more to it than learning the FMS the correctives.

I’ve always been a supporter of the FMS.  I think it was back in 2005 when I first screened my athletes.  Back then, after I screened them, I didn’t know what to do with the results.  This is something that I’ve been trying to figure out for the longest time.  I’ve been to FMS courses, have watched all the “Secrets” series, and have seen Gray speak many times through Perform Better.  It wasn’t until this weekend that I can say with full conviction “Now I know what to do and how I can use it with my guys”.

Why didn’t I get it?  Maybe because in the back of my mind, I thought that the FMS was impractical in the team setting.  I thought I could use it with my athletes but I really could never “get it” and operate it as a system.  I actually still have an article that I never did finish about using the FMS in the team sport setting on my computer.  It started out with great intentions, but I never finished it because I never could comprehend how to really use it. All I know is that one season; I screened all of my athletes.  I then simply incorporated the in-season strength and conditioning program.  At the end of the season, I looked at who was hurt during the season from an overuse injury perspective.  The guys who were hurt did have some asymmetries on their FMS.  I’m not a brain surgeon by any means; however, this showed me that if I knew what to do with the info, maybe there were some things we could’ve done to prevent.  The point is that the FMS to me has been and continuous to be a learning process.  The goal has always been and continues to be the perfect program for injury prevention and performance.  The FMS simply gives you a compass on which direction to go first in the journey.  The reality is that a score of 14 with symmetrical scores down the board is ok.  Asymmetries need to be addressed.

What also made this course really good was that the RKC community was involved.  Like I’ve written before, my RKC weekend experience was a phenomenal experience.  There are some really good people at these events that I have the outmost respect for.  This includes not only the instructors, but the Dragondoor staff and the students.  I met some really cool people at this event.

Since it was an RKC event, I had the opportunity to re-test my RKC standards which included having proficient technique in the lifts, doing 5 pull ups, and also performing the 100-rep snatch test in 5 minutes.  I was very happy to pass all of these, however what I think is more important is the fact that RKC’s are not only being tested to show that they can do it.  It is so that they can coach their athletes/clients in them proficiently.  Another reason why I think the RKC is an outstanding cert.

One of the highlights for me at the CK-FMS was further solidifying or “Cementing” (which is a word that was used by Brett Jones many times throughout the course- think “Myelinate” from the book Talent Code) why I like the Get Up and more importantly, why it’s good for my clients. It is amazing how much you can do with the different steps of the Get up.  When we look at exercises such as the Get Up and the Bretzel (which I will be writing a blog post/article on soon), we can further appreciate them more as just exercises.  They are actually screens as well.

What I have taken from this experience is that I am more confident in my screening and application of corrective exercises.  I own the map.  Also, as an RKC, and when it comes to my own training and coaching skills, I am setting out to achieve RKC-2 certification. With the new standards now set for that cert, it is going to be a challenge.  Simple but not easy.

Jun 012012

I just checked out the recent copy of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  While I do admit to “skimming” through these journals, whenever I come across a study that interests me, I will read it.

In this issue (Volume 26, Number 5, May 2012); I came across 2 studies that I was interested in.  I would say that I am probably not the best at writing research reviews as I am aware that there might be some specific protocols that need to be done.  I swear that I did pay attention during my research methods class while I was in graduate school.  However, I am now at the point where I basically take what I learn from a study and hopefully apply what I learn.  This is why I am posting my thoughts here.

The first one was Effects of Weightlifting vs. Kettlebell Training on Vertical Jump, Strength, and Body Composition by William H. Otto, III, Jared W. Coburn, Lee E. Brown, and Barry SA. Spiering.  Page 1199. In this study the researchers looked at 2 different groups.  One group performed kettlebell exercises 2 times per week for 6 weeks, while the other group performed barbell only weightlifting exercises.  Prior to the training, each student was assessed for height, body mass, body composition, back squat 1-rm, vertical jump, and power clean 1-rm.  At the end of the 6 weeks, each student was re-assessed.  What the authors concluded was that both groups increased strength and power.  However, the weightlifting group showed greater gains in strength than the kettlebell group.

I think this study is good in that it does show that kettlebell training can help improve strength and power.  For me, I like kettlebells as a tool in addition to the barbell and other methods.  So that it does show that I am not wasting anyone’s time by incorporating kettlebells.  However, it’s important to talk about the methods of training in the study.  The kettlebell group used a 16-k kettlebell for their exercises which included swings, accelerated swings, and the goblet squat.  The weightlifting group performed high pulls, power cleans, and back squats at a load of 80% of 1-rm.  What I think may be misleading (again, I am a Strength and Conditioning Coach, not a researcher or scientist) is that the students who are healthy men, performed the back squat for 6 weeks while the kettlebell group did not back squat.  The back squat post assessment is what the authors used to conclude that weightlifting was superior for gaining strength.  Also, a 16-k kettlebell can be pretty light for some people.  While I also don’t disagree with the fact that it could be heavy for some, I wish there was a way that they could have made the kettlebell load more comparable to the loads in terms of percentage of 1-rm in the weightlifting group.  All in all, I am very happy the kettlebells are being investigated in the training process.

The second study was Relationship of Off-Ice and On-Ice Performance Measures in High School Male Hockey Players by David A. Krause, Aynsley M. Smith, Laura C. Holmes, Corrine R. Klebe, Jennifer B. Lee, Kimberly M. Lundquist, Jospeph J. Eischen, and John H. Hollmen. Page 1423.  Obviously by being a Strength and Conditioning Coach in hockey, anytime there is a study on relationships between off-ice and on-ice performance, I am all ears.  This study consisted of 40 high school age players who were from the junior varsity and varsity levels.  What the authors did was measure horizontal hops (both single and double leg), vertical jumps (both single and double leg), lateral hops, dynamic balance through the Y-Balance test, and a 40-yard sprint.  Then they measured some on-ice tests including a course for short radius turns, crossover turns, and a sprint test (goal line through opposite blue line).  5 of the off-ice variables correlated with all on-ice measurements including  the 40-yard sprint, lateral bound right to left limb, broad jump, balance on right in posterolateral direction  and composite balance performance on the right.  However, the 40-yard sprint was most predictive of on-ice skating speed.  What was really interesting is that the authors said that “Based on our regression equation, for every 1-second difference in the 40-yard sprint time, there will be approximately a .6-second difference in the on-ice sprint.”

Although the authors did say “We cannot say that improving sprint time will result in a faster skater”, at the end of the study, I have to believe that improving sprint performance off-ice should be a priority anyone who trains hockey players.  The faster players have greater chances to be better players on the ice.

It is ok to train hockey players like a sprinter. Although I would probably never use the 40-yard dash in my athletes’ speed training, I do believe in trying to improve acceleration.