Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Goalie-specific training & lessons for the general trainee

A few months back, there was an excellent article on goaltender training on the National Hockey League website.

Goalie-specific training paying dividends

It's mostly interesting if you watch, play, or train people for ice hockey. But even if not, it's got nuggets of value for any trainee, athlete or not.

You need general and specific training.

The goaltenders do both general improvement and position-specific training.

"With Lack, who started working with Francilia in September, the focus began with nutrition and building up his immune system. "

That's general training. Nutrition - what you eat, how it affects you overall. Nutrition affects all aspects of your training, for good or for ill. Building up his immune system? Same. General. Stay healthy, feel well, be able to train and play regularly. The article doesn't make clear how these interact, but they're almost certainly the same approach - fix the diet, and fix the immune system in the process.

Your goal determines your methods.

The article says, "We're not doing heavy squats, we're not doing deadlifts, we're just doing stuff that is super specific to goalies." Why no heavy squats and no deadlifts? Because the goal is better goaltenders, and the trainer has determined they aren't going to improve the goaltenders as goaltenders.

"In simple terms, Francilia has figured out what muscles need to fire, created exercises that elicit the proper firing pattern, and can now use them in a repetitive fashion, with proper puck-tracking stimulus, to make the response more automatic for his goalies."

That's what training is about - find out what you need, get better at that. General strength is always useful, if you can apply it. You need to develop those aspects of your abilities that feed into what you are trying to do. Don't train with 5K methods to get your bench press up, don't use a bench press program to get your running times down. Identify what you need to do and build a program off of that. Don't start with the program and then determine your goals.

Learn to stop before you start.

That's not what happened to one of the goaltenders in the article. He learned to generate great starting power but couldn't stop effectively. This is why it's worth learning to land first - being able to generate a strong start but having a rough stop is wasteful and potentially dangerous. But they eventually hit on the need to deal with the stop. Sometimes this is inevitable - you can't determine your lack of landing ability until you jump a little. But your stopping and landing ability will always limit you unless you develop it before, or in conjunction with, your ability to start or jump.

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