Oct 022017
 

I had the privilege of attending the Athletic Performance Summit Featuring the Legends of Strength and Conditioning back in May.  It was a seminar that I heard about only a few weeks before.  When I saw the lineup of speakers, I knew I had to attend.  What really attracted me to this seminar was that most of the presenters worked in the team environment successfully for several years and have the championship rings to prove it.

While the format of the seminar was outstanding, it wasn’t necessarily the information that these guys shared on their power points that made it worthwhile.  It was more of their ability to share experiences with the teams and individual athletes that they coached with the attendees.  This is something that I find extremely valuable.

These men opened up about their philosophies and programs and were accessible throughout the weekend.  For example, Johnny Parker, who was the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Giants, Patriots, Buccaneers, and 49ers, gave out his phone number and email address to everyone.  Talk about a humble human being.

What I also found refreshing was that these guys were truly there to teach, share ideas, and learn.  Their passion for what they do really showed.  These are coaches who I aspire to be like someday.

These coaches clearly have learned and helped each other with their coaching philosophies as their messages were very similar.  For example, Charlie Francis was referenced by all of them numerous times.  Tempo running was a staple for a few of them.  Also, the Javorek bar complex was also a common theme from an evaluation perspective.

Here are some takeaways that I thought were great quotes or something that I can use now with my athletes:

 

Al Vermeil

Need to create impulse- explosive power

Never take an athlete to maximum

Adapt to what the athlete can do

Clyde Emerich- “Its not about you, its about them”

Have some speed development drills in your program all the time

Best test- “Can they play?”

 

Al Miller

Get players best at the start of the season

All players are novice lifters. Takes 10 years to develop an athlete

2400 yards maximum for Tempos in a given workout

600 yards maximum for sprints

 

Johnny Parker

Cleans and squats should occupy the greatest % of your program

Work on all qualities all of the time

Don’t be afraid to lead

Real players want to be pushed

Don’t let the star mentality affect your program

 

Rob Panariello

In Season- need intensity, need to have unaccustomed stress

Butt wink- spiderman stretch and hamstring stretch

Eliminate the shift in squatting

 

Don Chu

Skills:

Start Speed- Jumps in place, standing jumps, multiple jumps, depth jumps

Acceleration- Multiple jumps, box drills, bounding

Change of Direction- Standing jumps, multiple jumps, box drills, depth jumps

Vertical Jump- Jumps in place, standing jumps, multiple jumps, box drills, depth jumps

Horizontal Jump- Standing jumps, multiple jumps, box drills, bounding

 

Derek Hansen

Elite sprinter- 35%  high intensity work, 65% low intensity work

Hamstring injuries are brain injuries- software problem, not hardware problem

Rehab- start short and progress to long

Always finish training with low intensity cyclical activity

May 232017
 

I recently attended the RPR Level 1 Coach Certification in Edina, MN.  For more info on it, check out  www.reflexiveperformance.com/about/

This is what I took away from it:

Background- I had previously heard about Cal Dietz doing RPR with his athletes at the University of Minnesota and I was intrigued.  I heard some vague descriptions on what he was doing from some of his athletes and some Strength and Conditioning Coaches.  However, to hear athletes say they felt great and to hear several Strength and Conditioning Coaches whom I respect refer to it as a “Game Changer”- I had to find out more.

Back in the fall, I was fortunate to visit with Cal and see what it was all about. For me, I have had several injuries and surgeries over the years.  I think that has made me try to become a better Strength and Conditioning Coach so my athletes can best avoid what I went through.  My body has been beat up and I feel that I have learned to live in pain.

What I found out was that I was weak in several of the muscle tests that Cal performed.  For example, my hip flexors tested pretty poorly while lying supine while my glutes tested weak while lying prone.  Cal performed the resets on me and then I re-tested.  The change in not only my strength, but the initial action of the test was unbelievable.  My posture was dramatically improved and I felt different while walking.  I was now using the right muscles in the proper sequence to move.  More importantly to me, my pain was relieved.

Over the years, I have learned that some protocols either can be short-lived or can be B.S.  Honestly, I was a little skeptical of it before hand.  However, the reality is that I felt great and the effects lasted a few days versus a few minutes.

The certification was a great experience and Cal did a terrific job ensuring that the students learned the information.

Some of my thoughts and questions about it:

  • I really think the breathing reset is key.
  • I’ve always been a believer in activation exercises but also believe something may be missing. There is something more than stretching the hip flexors and performing glute bridges to activate the glutes.  What if the psoas is stuck and we are performing glute bridges?  Are we facilitating compensations even more? Do the resets fix these compensations?
  • Is this the best way to turn on the lights on quicker when our muscles are called to action to produce movement?
  • I believe in the process of strength and conditioning and understand that processes take time. Is this a shortcut?  Could some of what I have been doing be eliminated- especially if compensations are taking place?
  • Would like to FMS an athlete and then perform RPR and re-screen. If FMS corrections are performed to help get positive changes and if RPR produces a positive change, then is it ok?
  • Should RPR be performed by Strength and Conditioning Professionals or Personal Trainers who aren’t P.T.’s, ATC’s, or massage therapists? This is interesing.  I think the system is easy to learn and execute properly.  Sure, a newly minted professional with less experience may not be ideal but who says they can’t practice?  My observation at the clinic was that each person there got it.  Is that a bad thing?
  • I do know that athletes believe in systems that help them feel and perform better. Helping them achieve that is all that matters.  Is RPR a tool that can help them do that better?
  • Strength and Conditioning Coaches are implementing RPR and are doing a good job in team settings. For example, I’ve seen some videos of it being done with athletes of performing the resets on their own during warm up periods.  Here is one of Merrimack College Athletics:

Honestly, I think that’s great.  If it is something that has a positive effect, and doesn’t take long to perform, then why not?

For me, writing this helps me with getting my thoughts about it out of my brain.  I know that I will perform the resets on myself and use it appropriately when the opportunity arises with my athletes.

Feb 182016
 

 

Total Hockey Training

Today is the official release date of my book Total Hockey Training. I can’t believe that today is actually here. The reality is that there were several days when I thought that this wasn’t going to happen. Whether it was self-doubt or I didn’t feel that I had enough time to hit certain deadlines, the completion of this always seemed way down the road.

 
I had the goal of writing a book about hockey strength and conditioning by the time I was 40 years old with an actual publisher.  The reason why I wanted to go that route is because of a few reasons:

 
– I didn’t trust my writing ability. I didn’t want to make an e-book that may have contained grammatical mistakes. The people at Human Kinetics take care of those things for a living.

 
– I remember a conversation with a friend of mine back in California several years ago about internet gurus and e-books. I remember him saying “Unless a sports or strength training book is published by a reputable publisher such as Human Kinetics, I won’t pick it up.” Now, I am not saying that e-books aren’t any good or worth the read but, hearing him say that always stuck with me.  I trusted Human Kinetics to help me create a solid product that I believed in.

 
– I wanted the challenge of going through the process from start to finish. I wanted to go through this to accomplish something big. As a result, I can say that I have a huge amount of respect admiration for anyone that has written a book.

 

 

Total Hockey Training encompasses everything I’ve learned over the years training the beginner to the professional hockey player.

 

 
You can get a copy at Amazon and Human Kinetics. I hope you enjoy it!

Oct 262015
 

Some of the best coaches to have ever walked the planet were known as coaches who emphasized the details.   Details have always been emphasized by the best.  No stones are left unturned when it comes to planning and organizing every aspect for their team.  John Wooden, for example, was known for not only being a winner, but for spending time with his players on some of the basic tasks such as teaching them how to properly put their socks on to prevent blisters.  Coach Wooden also spent most of his day planning the days practice.  Every aspect of practice was planned for and organized to run the same way that Coach Wooden envisioned.

The best coaches also embrace the process.  It is the day to day grinding of helping their teams prepare for every little challenge that their teams may face in any situation.  Great coaches also stay in the moment.  It isn’t necessarily the next game or the next couple of games.  It is the details of improving for the next drill at practice, or the next play or shift during a game.

As I transition back to the collegiate strength and conditioning environment, I find myself planning training sessions well in advance.  Not to say that I didn’t previously.  However, the difference is now I have the opportunity to take entire teams through training sessions from start to finish.  I try to always have a vision of how the session will flow.  How much time should I dedicate to foam rolling?  How long will they take to go through hurdle mobility?  At what point in the session will they progress to the power racks?  Etc.  Everything from when they walk in the door through their last repetition of the last set of the last exercise is planned for accordingly.

The longer I do this, I realize that it really is all about the process.  Its trying to do the little things better over and over again on a daily basis.  The better athletes that I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years always embraced this.  They enjoyed the monotony of doing the little things continuously to help them succeed.

Strength and Conditioning coaches should have a plan every time their athletes come through the door.  They need to be prepared to help them get the next rep and/or the next set.  Training sessions need to be scripted out so that nothing is left out or not prioritized- everything is important.  “Today is the only day.  Yesterday is gone” is a John Wooden quote that I found on the internet.  Strength Coaches need to coach and help their athletes through every little aspect of their program on a daily basis.

Oct 202015
 

Before this past Saturday’s game against Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to talk training with Jim Snider, the men’s hockey teams’ strength and conditioning coach.  Jim is a really bright coach who has done a great job while working with current and former Badgers over the years.

As we were talking, we got into a conversation about squats.  Jim said “Better skaters are good squatters.”  I totally agree with him.  When I think about some of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with over the years that were fast, explosive, and low to the ice skaters, it’s not hard for me to think about guys like Selanne and Kariya (although I never got to work with them at the same time (I wish I did).  These guys absolutely loved to squat and in fact- had to squat during the season.

Now, was it their ability to squat well that helped them skate great?  Or was it their ability to skate great that made them good squatters?  I’m not sure but I do know that for those guys, they were back squatting way before I knew them.  In fact, Teemu was learning how to squat and Olympic lift with broomsticks when he was 8 years old!

The point of the post is not too say that hockey players need to put lots of weight on the bar and start performing heavy back squats.  However, the movement of squatting bilaterally shouldn’t be neglected in training or ignored.   Even though our program consists of many variations of single leg exercises, we will squat bilaterally in warm up often and we will front squat during the off-season and perform clean+front squat combos.  I really believe that squatting well and squatting often will help any hockey player not only produce more force into the ice but also help maintain a lower center of gravity for longer periods of time.