|Akin to; seatbelts are overrated, smoking isn’t bad for you, and the earth is flat. Bag skates belong in the past, when we didn’t know better.
There’s a reason the Zamboni comes out and resurfaces the ice as much as it does. After twenty minutes the ice is cut up, messy, and nothing on it is moving as well as it should. Sure, some of the speed drop off is due to the ice, but the more important factor is what’s going on inside your body.
Cut up, slow, battered ice gets resurfaced. But, slow, battered hockey players, at the end of practice, get lined up, and conditioned. I use the word conditioned loosely because they're actually being conditioned to move slow. Yes. You are teaching your body to move poorly. Have you ever watched good push-ups turn into bad push-ups? Well bag skating is the bad push-up equivalent. Sloppy, saggy, slow, and can end up leading to overuse injuries. Sure, there is an element of mental toughness and bonding with a bag skate, but that’s where the benefit ends. How about we dial back the mental toughness training, and get hockey players the performance improvements that they’re capable of? No matter how tough you are when you body is not functioning it is not functioning.
Every coach wants sharp minds on the ice, so let’s condition your body to move that way. Untrained athletes have around six seconds of that wild, unpredictable energy. That mom picking up a car to save her kid type of strength. Or that blinding flash of speed we see in the news every so often as someone avoids being crushed. Worse still it will be at least 2 minutes before the athlete can repeat a 6 second blast, and then only be able to do it a few times in a game! Good news though! This energy system can be trained… but you aren’t going to touch it with a bag skate – if anything you may hinder it. You need professional strength and conditioning coaches, but not just any S&C coaches. Coaches who understand the science behind impulse and power, coaches who work as hard as the athletes while coaching a conditioning session. Someone like that can bump this energy system from six seconds up to thirty. And I’m not talking about one effort. Repeated. Full speed efforts. With the ability to recover faster than your opponent. How insane is that?? What does that do for your game? Repeatability is key. Repeatability wins championships. Thirty seconds of flat out ludicrous mode, as well as the ability to recover drastically faster than those around you… that’s something that will really stand out during evaluations next fall.
The moral of the story is to condition your body to move how you need it to move on the ice. You only have so much time and energy to train. Start using it wisely.
In an exciting move, the Athlete Factory, has put together a package of on-ice energy system work. Open to both players and coaches interested in learning how to better serve their teams. This is not hockey practice. This is not hockey ice-time. This is real hockey conditioning. Conditioning backed by the latest sports science from world renowned S&C coach, Paul Balsom. There’s only one place you can practice the Propulsive Coordination Method (PCM) – and that is at The Athlete Factory. What is PCM? Find out here www.pbspeed.com. If during your current energy system sessions, you’re practicing poor movement patterns repeatedly you are inviting an over-use injury! Remember over-use injuries are the slowest to heal, because in order to heal them successfully you have to deal with the mechanism of the injury not just the symptoms. Invariably they are created by poor movement patterns. Poor movement patterns will hurt you; it’s just a matter of time.
Click HERE for details on the AF on-ice energy system sessions or contact AF Performance Coach Matt Howatt.
Mark Salkeld Jr.
AF Performance Leader