Kick the “bag skate” tradition off the ice

Stop-start sprints that last longer than 10-15 seconds are counterproductive at all ages. Repetitions make permanent neuromuscular habits: slow strides, poor knee bend, inadequate forward lean, weak extension, and therefore, slow acceleration. We’d see each of these faulty habits if we bag skate our team with stop-start shuttle sprints. Stop-start sprints that last longer than […]

Hockey endurance on the slide board

Slide board workouts should feel just like skating. Hockey leaders never bothered to convene a panel of coaches to define “hockey endurance.” If they had, coaches would have said, “It is the ability to maintain (for an entire game) the qualities needed to win: skating speed, agility, efficiency, explosive strength, stick skills, and most importantly, […]

Developing athleticism: It’s a project for the CNS

Challenging the central nervous system (CNS = brain + spinal cord) is the highest priority for young athletes. Metabolic, muscular, and cardiovascular adaptations are byproducts. Success in hockey and many other sports is achieved by combining: a) sport-specific skill, b) read-react creativity and c) athleticism – speed, quickness, agility, coordination, explosive strength, instantaneous reactions – […]

First interdependence, then synergy

Synergy on the rink means that the whole truly becomes greater than the sum of the individual parts. Watching the super-fast hockey of the boys’ Upper Midwest High School Elite League, it is obvious Minnesota’s top players have incredible skills. Unlike the USHL, where preventing offense is a greater priority than featuring it, this style […]

Do you want to score goals and win championships?

Scoring goals is an unselfish, team-building contribution. As a former hook-and-hold defenseman who didn’t score goals, I’m about to let you in on Alex Ovechkin’s secret. Don’t believe pundits who point to special physical gifts that account for Ovi’s dominance as the most prolific scorer of our generation. The pundits are knowledgeable hockey folks, but […]

Is passing/playmaking the difference?

Winners of (almost) all recent major hockey tournaments played a more skillful, passing game This is just an opinion column. I’m not quoting hard data. I believe the winners of (almost) all recent major hockey tournaments played a more skillful, passing game compared to other contenders who tried to overcome superior skills with dump-chase-hit game […]