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Train Smarter This Summer, and Step Ahead Next Season.

May 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi folks, time for some shameless self-promotion :)  This post was featured as a printed article in the April 8/11 issue of “The View” in Lake Country, BC.  It deals with some thoughts on summer hockey training.  Seems appropriate as every hockey team in the world (besides the Cup finals teams) are in their off-season now.  Have a read, and feel free to get in touch with me if you wanna talk training this summer, or ever!

-SDC

 

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When I was playing minor hockey in the 90’s, seeing other players participate in off-ice training was a rarity. After all, hockey was all about having fun. As I got older, I realized I wanted to play as long as I could and at the highest level possible; and that to do that’d I’d have to take the game more seriously. As I progressed up through my junior, college, and pro career, it became pretty obvious that these higher level leagues were filled with players who had been devoting time to their off-ice fitness, as well as further developing their on-ice skills; and that the players who chose to rely purely on their natural talent to progress, rather than add any extra-curricular fitness methodologies to their repertoire, all seemed to vanish from team rosters. As the level of play I competed at elevated, my natural skills for the game seemed to average out compared to other players; mostly because the level of competition and talent I played against increased at every increment. Moves I could make and goals I could score at lower levels became progressively more inadmissible the higher level I played at. I had to find a way to adapt my game if I were to have any success, and advance further in the game, as I aspired to. Devotion to off-ice training became an absolute necessity, and without it, I doubt I would have made it as far in hockey as I did. One of the most inspiring and applicable quotes I’ve heard in regards to this transition is, “Hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard.” Just ask the 8th seeded 2010 Montreal Canadiens about this idea, after beating the talent laden 1st place Washington Capitals and the previous year’s Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in that year’s NHL playoffs.

Sled Pulls. One of many miserable exercises that will get you in tremendous shape.

The difference in hockey training that sticks out most to me when I compare my generation to the current one is that, unlike when I was young and only a few players were committed to their off-ice training, it seems that nowadays any player that is remotely serious about furthering their hockey career has acknowledged the need to improve their physical fitness away from the rink. So now that the secret is out and the standard just to be average is set so high, the challenge for young hockey players hoping to move up the ladder is to decipher a way to rise above the already high median and stick out in a positive and attractive way.

My suggestion for accomplishing this task is the notion of training smarter. While it’s great to attend summer hockey camps, spring leagues, enroll in hockey academies, and explore other methods in getting ahead of the curve, those large group setting models may not be the most beneficial for player improvement, and can prove quite costly as well. Individual attention may be minimized, and a personalized program tailored to a player’s unique goals and attributes likely gets waived in favour of a general set of standards that everyone is expected to achieve. Whether you’re a centerman, left-winger, right-winger, defenceman, or goaltender; every position has a unique on-ice job description that requires different motions and actions to be performed, and different muscles to be activated in different scenarios. So how would a goaltender specifically benefit from partaking in the same program as a forward, when both will need to be strong in completely different ways in a game?

You may or may not be familiar with the term, “Periodization”. This is breaking a season up into smaller focus points: pre-season, in-season, post-season, and off-season. The concept helps to identify which training methods are most appropriate to a player’s development, and when. For example, the way off-season weight training focuses on heavy weight/low repetitions for maximum strength gains is nearly polar opposite to the post-season phase (playoffs), where players focus on simple maintenance of their strength and cardio, and may not lift more than their own body weight while weight training. Because different levels of hockey hold their playoffs at different points in the season, it is imperative that a player’s workout routine enables him or her to peak at the correct point in the season. Minor hockey will generally finish around March, while junior hockey can continue on until May, college hockey can last until late March/early April, and of course the NHL can take until June to complete. If a player’s body is not trained to adapt to and endure this changing but predictable schedule, they likely will not compete at their optimal level, at the time when their team needs them the most.

This is where a Personal Trainer can become an invaluable resource to a player. Often times, players will string together routines based on what others have told them, or perhaps on their own intuition. And more often than not, these workouts degrade into “beach workouts”, featuring chest, biceps, and abs exercises only. While they may indeed put on size and strength this way, their sport specific improvements will likely be limited. Working with a fitness professional can optimize a player’s development by maximizing their off-ice efficiency and gains, translating those improvements into a more effective on-ice product, showing you testable results, and navigating you down the quickest route to obtaining your fitness goals.

If you are a hockey player aspiring to advance to the next level and beyond, do yourself a favour and seek out a qualified Personal Trainer to keep you on track, no matter what phase your season is in. After all, the last day of the season is also the first day towards next season. Use your training time wisely and give yourself the best chance possible to be a stand-out player next year. If training smarter sounds like something you would benefit from, I’d be more than happy to work with you this summer to motivate, educate, and create a program that will spur you on towards being the best player you can be next season and beyond.

If you live in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Winfield, or Vernon I’d be happy to meet you at one of the facilities I’m affiliated with; otherwise, get in touch with me via email.

Blog:http://davecunning.wordpress.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Twitter: @davecunning                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Email:davecunning09@shaw.ca                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Phone: 250 826 7489

 

Hockey Talkie: Boogaard, Roenick vs Marleau, Uptown Sports/Todd Reynolds vs Sean Avery, and Some Thoughts On Free Speech.

May 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Wow, lotta action in the hockey world lately….

Firstly, Derek Boogaard.  I hope not to say anything inflammatory on this issue, because I really do think it’s quite a tragedy that he has died at the age of 28.  The guy was a world-class athlete who had to be in that kind of shape to play in the best hockey league in the world.  Every tweet and every interview comment I’ve heard from other players was about how great of a guy he was.  So all that said (and respect to all of it), why did this guy die before the age of 30?  I heard on a TV report that he had been partaking in the NHL’s substance abuse program, which may answer some questions.  Bob Probert, another league toughguy, was known to have a drug problem, and also the donation of his brain to science after his death revealed significant brain damage as a result of a career full of taking fists to his skull.  Boogaard was 70 NHL fights deep himself, and will also, reportedly, have his brain examined;  it’ll be interesting to see what is revealed as a result.  Whether his death was a result of a drug overdose, brain damage, enlarged heart, or somehow natural causes, it’s an absolute shame that someone so young (my age, actually) is no longer around, especially someone that no one has a bad thing to say about. 

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more civil times.

Secondly, Jeremy Roenick vs Patrick Marleau.  I love JR’s outspoken persona, and his fearless attitude to call it “as it is”, or at least, as he sees it.  Frankly, it’s good for TV.  He tore into Marleau for having zero points, and for playing gutless, earlier on in the San Jose/Detroit series.  Marleau shrugged it off, and then scored the series winning goal in game 7, subtlely jamming those comments right down Roenick’s throat (non-confrontationally, of course).  Though Roenick wouldn’t stray from his original opinion, he tried to skew it into some twisted form of inspiration that was meant to motivate Marleau on to offensive contribution.  Well whatever it was, it worked; but I doubt Jeremy was as happy about it as he attempted to let on.  At least it made for some good TV drama.  Is it an easy for you to tell when the NHL tries to sell the game to Americans as it is for me? 

 

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And further on the right to one’s opinion….

Thirdly, Todd Reynolds, Vice President of Uptown Sports, an agency representing 11 NHL players.  On May 9th, he tweeted, “Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender “marriage”. Legal or not, it will always be wrong.” , after Sean Avery publicly supported gay marriage, and any gay hockey player in the NHL who had yet to make his sexual orientation public knowledge.   Immediately the media and public backlash painted Todd as a hateful, intolerant bigot; amongst other things. 

I honestly don’t have much of a problem with any of this.  Here’s why: we live in a democratic society, gifted with the right to free speech.  Mr. Reynolds has an opinion, and he spoke it in a public forum.  By the same token, he should be prepared to receive free speech criticism in return, no matter how uneducated and inaccurate those opinions may be.  Todd believes same-sex marriage is wrong – so what?  That’s his opinion, based on his belief system, which he has every right to.  It’s not like he just passed a law, he just said what he believes; which is something many people are too afraid to do.  People can disagree with what he said all they want, but calling him hateful seems a bit of a stretch; not to mention, attention-starved.  Reynolds also tweeted later, “… I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I Do not hate anyone.”   I don’t see why it has to go any further than that.  The fact is, everyone that expressed their disagreement of Todd Reynolds’ opinion, just did exactly what he did: speak their opinion.  Should they all be judged for it too?

I know another staff member at Uptown Sports whom I know is a Christian, and I don’t think it’s a leap to assume Reynolds is too; nor that they believe in the Biblical definition of marriage.  The gay-marriage topic has been a “hot-button” issue for some time now, and it seems the assumed opinion of Christians (that only men and women should marry), or really, anyone opposed to gay-marriage, is increasingly more and more wrong according to the general populous, and that people who share that opinion are archaic and need to be corrected (in a less polite fashion).  I am a Christian myself.  I know one gay guy and girl, and they’re great people that I have no problem with.  Their lifestyle is not for me (whether they chose it, or were born that way), but I respect that it is theirs and not mine.  To be honest, I don’t know where I stand on the marriage issue, but I do know that people should be more concerned about who people are in character rather than what they’re labelled as before telling them what the correct way to live their lives is.  I’ve met black people, Asian people, gay people, disabled people, white people, women, Muslims, Americans, and a lot of other people that have been labelled into minority groups.  The fact is that some of them have been awesome people, and some have been total jackasses.  Not the entire group, the individuals.  The government will pass laws and people will always disagree with them; I’m more concerned about learning what kind of a person someone is on their own, apart from everything I’m supposed to believe they are because of what I’ve heard from others.      

Now what did bother me was hearing that Sportsnet announcer, Damian Goddard, was fired for supporting Reynolds in his opinion.  Goddard tweeted, I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”  Sportsnet then cut ties with Goddard, saying in a press release,

Damian Goddard is no longer with Rogers Sportsnet. Mr. Goddard was a freelance contractor and in recent weeks it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization. As this is a confidential personnel matter, we will not be commenting further except to say that views expressed by Mr. Goddard on Twitter are his own and do not reflect the views of Rogers or Rogers Sportsnet.”

While it may be inappropriate to make public, opinionated, comments while you’re supposed to be an unbiased reporter, especially while working for a national broadcaster, I don’t see why a guy is no longer capable of performing his job and earning a living based on speaking his democratic right to his opinion.  This is the sort of thing I have a problem with, and I respect Rogers Sportsnet a lot less for it.  And I already disliked Rogers a lot to begin with.  Goddard doesn’t have to support gay-marriage if he doesn’t want to, nor does anyone else.  If anyone in this situation has a right to be angry, I think it is probably Goddard.  I guess he should have added his later tweeted disclaimer, “…damian goddard’s tweets reflect the views of damian goddard” on a little sooner.

Hockey Talkie: Bobrovsky, Skinner, Worlds, Chi-Van for Winter Classic, Quiet Room Exploit, Coyotes, and Thornton in Flip Flops.

May 9, 2011 2 comments

I love TSN analyst Jay Onrait’s comparisons of Sergei Bobrovsky’s pulls and starts to a cop being pulled off a case, surrendering his gun and badge/getting them back & being reinstated on the case.  The frequency of his being “hired” and “fired” from the “force” is comparable to George Steinbrenner’s yo-yo’ing of Billy Martin.  It’s a classic tale of guy who’s dug himself a hole with a shot at redemption; but instead of realizing that potential, blows it and finds further condemnation, constantly restarting the cycle.  For all we know, he could be living out a real-life hockey player/fictional cop version of Groundhog Day; having to get it right to proceed in life.  The vids will clutter the blog up, but below are some links if you ‘re totally lost on what I’m talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyGSH4Ofuxw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps5IPq7DAgE&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0M9F6GN2Ng&feature=related

Also, why do Philadelphia and Washington refuse to spend money on a dependable goaltender?

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Some perspective food-for thought…. With 63 pts this season, Jeff Skinner entered himself into the all-time-leading-scorer-as –an-18-yr-old conversation.  As remarkable as it was for him (while simultaneously nullifying the Taylor/Tyler debate), that total still put him behind Sidney Crosby’s mark as an 18 year old…trailing him by 39 points (102); and also behind Wayne Gretzky (110 in WHA, 137 in NHL).  As good as Skinner’s numbers were, they’re barely halfway to the best ever. 

BUT consider this too:  Skinner and Ilya Kovalchuk both had 31 goals this year, and Skinner ended up with 3 more total points than Kovy.  The fiscal difference between them? $97.3 million in salary.  So there’s that side of the coin as well. 

Now Skinner’s competing for Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championships, and doing just fine for himself.  I may have touched on this before, but this tournament just isn’t a fair portrayal of the world’s talent in the game; and I maintain that the Olympic tournament should be the measuring stick in world rankings.  Currently, Canada is ranked #2 behind Russia.  But why?  Because Russia does better in tournaments where the world’s best talent is still competing for NHL teams?  In a tournament where rosters are seemingly allowed to change as frequently as teams desire?  Canada destroyed Russia in the Olympic tournament where the world’s best players were ALL playing for their respective country.  A true world championship should be contested by the world’s best players; the IIHF Tournament does not offer this.  Why do they refuse to hold the tournament at a time where all players are available?  The potential for credibility is right there, but it seems more like pride that is holding the IIHF back from changing more than anything else.  In the meantime, Canada will continue to send the best they have available at the time and on short notice to top up their roster as best they can.

And a little further on Worlds rosters…. Toronto Maple Leafs’  Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer, and Luke Schenn were all good to go for Canada at the Worlds, but Phil Kessel said he was too tired to play for the US.  Feel free to insert your own American joke.  On the one hand, I think Kessel deserves the lambaste for this, but on the other, I think it speaks at least a little to how unimportant  some players view this tournament.  Playing for your country is an absolute privilege; it’s too bad that the IIHF refuses to present a tournament that all players wouldn’t waste a second thought on whether they would join their country’s roster or not. 

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If these two ever get teamed up in the announce booth, I'll quit watching hockey.

Can the NHL go ahead and book the Chicago Blackhawks/Vancouver Canucks for next year’s Winter Classic?  Great rivalry that has developed there; would make an entertaining HBO 24/7 special too.  They’d need to do it in Chi-town though, unless they’re prepared to deal with hockey’s first ever rain delay.

Glen Healy is approaching Pierre McGuire-level ridiculousness in some of his HNIC on-air commentary.  Though I hate the Vancouver Canucks, and a high-percentage of their fans, I do at least respect the Green Men.  Healy has, for whatever reason, decided to make it his mission to slag these guys at every on-air opportunity he gets.  Truth is, as annoying as they are, the Greenies  are just fans who have paid their ticket money, are excited about and supportive of their team, and aren’t hurting anyone around them.  If Glen Healy has a problem with fans, he might want to remind himself of who paid him his 14 years worth of NHL salary.

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I thought about this when Brent Seabrook got concussed by Raffi Torres in the first round….The NHL’s new “quiet room” rule (a player that receives a headshot has to sit in a quiet room for 15 minutes and be evaluated by a doctor, good idea) seems easy for a team to exploit to get an opposing team’s good player off the ice for 15 solid minutes.  I don’t know that any player/team would stoop that low, but when you think about it, if you can get a dangerous scoring threat or an impossible to beat defenceman off the ice for nearly an entire period, that doesn’t hurt your chances of winning the game.

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I love DJ Steve Porter’s sports interview remixes, especially these NHL ones: http://t.co/cwXdc6V  http://t.co/Uax93Bc

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It’d be too bad if the Phoenix Coyotes ceased to exist; I do like their red and white howling coyote jerseys.  It’d be a shame to have to ditch them.  Also, how unfair was it to the Coyotes that the media decided to talk about their pending relocation the entire time they were in the playoffs?  They never had a chance this year.  Oh, Glendale’s going to bail them out again next season now?  Wow, glad we had to go through that unnecessary hype and conversation a few weeks ago. 

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Everytime the San Jose Sharks lose a game in the playoffs, I’m pretty sure Joe Thornton thinks to himself about how much more comfortable his flip-flops and boardshorts are than his hockey equipment at that moment.

Conserv-Nation: Thoughts on the 2011 Canadian Federal Election.

May 3, 2011 4 comments

I don’t care to comment on politics too often, and am far from an expert on the topic, but I do have a few things to say about May 2nd’s Canadian Federal Election.

First thing, if you didn’t vote, shame on you.  A lot of people from our military’s history have died in battle to give you and I that right, and it’s pretty despicable that you would waste that right; especially when you look at the eastern world and see how many dictatorship regimes are dominating countries over there, depriving their citizens of human rights, and attacking them if they protest.  If you have a grandparent, relative, or any family member that has served in our military, go ahead and tell them that you didn’t vote last night, and see how they react.  Voting may not seem like a big deal to some, but realize that people that you never met, seen, or heard of, literally died so that you could keep that freedom.  Our freedom to choose is invaluable, and whether or not the guy (or girl) you want to get elected does or doesn’t, it’s imperative that you exercise your right (spoil your ballot if you have to).  If you don’t, you have absolutely zero credibility when you complain about who’s in office, and quite frankly, you should keep your mouth shut altogether.

I, along with 40% of Canada, am glad Stephen Harper is still our Prime Minister.  I am also happy that Jack Layton and the NDP will be the official opposition.  Thrilled and ecstatic are words I would use to describe my feelings about the brainwashing separatist Bloc being reduced to less than an official party, the dirty Liberals (who gave Quebec all that money in the sponsorship scandal and lost all my trust) are running on fumes,  and that both Ignatieff and Duceppe couldn’t even win their own home ridings, and have quit as leaders.  Absolutely beautiful.  Also, good on Elizabeth May and the Green Party for getting into the House of Commons. 

Reading through Facebook statuses, I really feel like people want to complain about the current leader just for the sake of being argumentative.  That is, I feel like no matter who’s in office, people will complain.  And again, as I said, if you voted, that’s totally your right, and you can complain all you want.  40% of the country wanted the Conservatives, but that also means 60% didn’t.  I think all I’d ask is that if you’re going to complain, have some backing to your argument, not just propaganda you can’t prove, or petty shots like you don’t like Harper’s hairstyle or something.  At least offer an alternative with your whining.  Better yet, tell it to your MP, and hopefully it’s something that can be discussed in Parliament.

What I like about the new majority is that we won’t have any of these BS yearly campaigns and elections for another 4 years, and (ideally) productive time in the House of Commons; instead of MP’s in a minority constantly droning on about how awesome they and their party is, how horrible the Prime Minister is, and voting against budgets and bills just to cause an election; all the while avoiding having to do actual work for Canadians they’re supposed to be representing.  It’s pretty clear that Canadians aren’t interested in that crap, especially when you consider the parties that wanted an election (Liberals) got absolutely swashbuckled in the polls (much to the chagrin of the biased CBC), while those who didn’t (Conservatives) were upgraded from minority to majority.   

What I don’t like is that a majority can easily defeat ideas from the opposition, no matter how good and productive they may be, simply based on party unity.  But again, in an ideal government, everything that was promised will be delivered, egos are put aside, and everyone should be happy (of course, we know how often that happens). 

I really didn’t mind the minority government we had, because of the potential it had for all parties to work together and come up with policies that were mutual across the board.  Nothing could pass without everyone’s consent, and that boded well for Canadians.  The majority vetoes that potential, but again, if everything works out, there won’t be anything to balk at it the first place (not likely, I know).  But of course, the opposition was far more concerned with themselves than Canadians, and it didn’t work.  So now, we have this.

Don't blow this, Steve.

At the end of it all, there’s no way all of us will agree on our country’s leadership; but instead of arguing with each other, if you don’t like something, argue with your local MP, instead of other Canadians who can’t change anything until next election.  And if after that, you still can’t get your thoughts across, do the right thing and vote next election!  Dialogue is great, and when you think about it, it may be as valuable as voting itself.  Voting, protest, and support, are all freedoms and rights that our democracy grants us; don’t take them for granted!

Mission (Actually) Accomplished.

May 1, 2011 1 comment

I don’t often give praise to the US, but I gotta hand it to them right now.  Well done, America.

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