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Finish First Insider, Issue #51
March 30, 2009
Welcome Back

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Sports Performance Programming for Ice Hockey

By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

After reviewing thousands of research articles, countless hours learning from expert hockey coaches, players, and strength coaches, and from experience training hockey players for over 10 years, I have found that there are specific areas that need to be addressed in order to best physically prepare hockey players for successful competition. Each of these key areas easily deserves book-length descriptions, but for the purpose of this article, they will be briefly addressed. Additional information or specific supportive research articles can be obtained by calling Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

Key Performance Areas (need to be addressed in an off-ice hockey performance training program)

1. Mutli-planar Movements—almost all sports require movements in all three planes of movement (sagittal—ie. Forward and backward; frontal—ie. Side to side; transverse—ie. horizontal rotation), and many sports movements occur in all three planes at once—think hockey shot while skating forward

2. Mutli- Muscle Actions—due to the changes of speed and direction in hockey, the ability to accelerate and decelerate is extremely important—for this to happen, concentric, eccentric, and isometric muscle actions need to be trained. The body must be able to reduce force, and produce force for safe, efficient mutli-speed movements.

3. Core Training (lumbo-pelvic-hip complex)—while ‘core’ may be a fitness buzzword, it doesn’t deny the fact that it exists. The core needs to be trained for strength, speed, stability and power, using multi-planes and multiple muscle actions.

4. Corrective/Prehabilitative Exercises—the body functions best when it is in balance. Compensation from previous injuries, muscle tightness, or weaknesses may cause imbalances that could predispose a hockey player to an increased risk of injury.

5. Balance/Total Body Stability—yes, research has shown that balance is important in ice hockey. For more skilled players, balance training specific to skating is best done on ice. But, balance training is also beneficial because it creates a greater neurological demand which creates greater muscle recruitment AND proprioception helps create co-contractions and other neuromuscular actions that help promote improved stability.

6. Uni-/Bi-Lateral Movements—both single (uni) and double (bi) leg movements are important, such as squats and lunges (multi-planar); recent research has shown that there was a greater transfer of single leg movements to skating performance (when compared with squats)

7. Strength Training—skating performance (especially top speed) is directly influenced by force production; additionally, strength training helps improve muscle fiber recruitment, which promotes greater neuromuscular control and greater force production

8. Speed Training—speed is extremely important, and needs to be addressed not only in the weightroom (with specific programming), but also on dryland (drills) and on ice

9. Power Training (including plyometrics)—recent research shows that plyometrics that focus on greater stretch shortening cycle response (reduced time from force reduction/muscle stretch to force production/contraction) have a greater effect on acceleration and quick starts, while power training that focuses more on greater force production (with less emphasis on contact time) will have a greater effect on top speed skating

10. Flexibility Training—muscles perform optimally at a specific length—this is known as the length-tension relationship; when muscles are too tight, the nervous system inhibits force production to prevent injury; when muscles are over stretched, they are usually overactive so they fatigue easily, and again, physiological and biomechanical issues exist that prevent optimal force production; the research on the role of flexibility training in injury prevention is still inconclusive, so flexibility training is recommended for optimal performance and to enable the hockey player to achieve better skating technique (stride length, proper mechanics, etc.)

11. Specific Metabolic Conditioning—hockey players need to be conditioned specifically to achieve multiple maximal sprint efforts on an intermittent/shift basis. Sprint interval training also improves aerobic performance—so it is not necessary to execute any long distance running. In fact, research has shown that long distance running can impair one’s sprint performance.

12. Dynamic Vision Training—research over the last 10 years has shown that it is possible to improve a hockey player’s ability to ‘see the ice,’ ‘pick up the puck,’ or anticipate where other players will be on the ice—this type of training is called dynamic vision training, and it is especially important to goalies.

Additionally, each athlete’s needs will need to be addressed, along with specific positional demands. During in-season training, hockey players that do not receive much ice time during the game will need to do extra workouts to prevent losing any conditioning, speed, strength, power, or flexibility benefits achieved during training prior to the season. Players that receive a lot of ice time during the game will need to adjust additional workouts accordingly. Lastly, research has shown that skating along is not sufficient stimulus to elicit strength, power, or speed gains, or for maintenance during the season.

Once again, it has been brought to my attention that, despite the vast amount of research available on performance training, and the large number of so-called performance enhancement experts, many strength coaches do not fully understand how to correctly address the unique demands of the sport of ice hockey. Now, in defense of the so-called experts, there is a lot of research supporting that performance training programs are only as effective as their transfer to the specific sport, and that many forms of the trendy training techniques (fitness buzzword training for ‘balance,’ ‘core,’ etc.) have absolutely no transfer or application to sports. Additionally, there is research that shows that some athletes get sufficient core stability training through squats, deadlifts, cleans, etc., and that it is not necessary to address core stability outside of these exercises. However, due to the unique nature of ice hockey, there are specific areas that need to be addressed that are not usually addressed by training for other sports, or by general sports programming. It has also been shown that core stability can be addressed during normal weight training activities, but is most effective during single leg (uni-lateral) exercises, and in multi-planes, which is significant to the sport of ice hockey. Remember, all programming utilized at Finish First Sports Performance is based on peer reviewed scientific research, unlike many other companies that use anecdotal evidence (which is flawed) for their programming.

Finish First Sports Performance Welcomes RMU Men's Division 1 Hockey Team

Finish First Sports Performance would like to welcome our newest team:

RMU Men's Hockey

We look forward to helping you prepare for your best season ever!

Important!!! New Hours Effective March 30th, 2009

Attention All:

Beginning March 30th, 2009, and continuing through April 24th, the world headquarters training facility will not open until 3pm, Monday through Friday.

There will be teams using the facility prior to 3pm on these days, so no one else will be permitted to use the facility during these times.

Again, beginning March 30th, 2009, regularly scheduled workouts will not begin until 3pm.

Normal hours will resume following the week of April 24th, and summer hours will begin mid-may. The new summer hours will be disclosed at a later date.

I apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to continuing to better serve your needs.

Scheduling for ALL Workouts

Effective April 1, 2009, all athletes will need to be scheduled for ALL workouts.

By scheduling all workouts, we will be able to better plan to prevent overcrowding and allow for optimal training conditions.

If you have any questions, please call Jeremy (412-787-5070).

Motivational Quotes

"Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference."
-- Nolan Buhnell

"Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was."
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."
-- Orison Swett Marden

"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."
-- Dale Carnegie

ATTENTION: April Member Referral Bonus

Attention All Members:

During the month of April, all new member referral fees are doubled--yes--that is not a typo. Instead of the normal $50 credit towards your next membership, for every new member you introduce to Finish First Sports Performance, you will receive a whopping $100 credit towards your next membership (renewal).

Remember, in order to qualify, you must be a current/active member (with no outstanding balance) and the new member must commit to a minimum of 8 sessions or 1 month.

Spread the word and get $100!

(for more details, contact Jeremy 412-787-5070)

2009 NSCA PA State Clinic, April 4th

This just in...

Coach Jeremy will be speaking at the 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association's PA State Clinic on April 4, 2009.

He has been selected as one of the few strength coaches in PA that will be presenting training information at the clinic. Coach Hoy will be presenting on the topic of performance training for ice hockey.

Anyone interested in attending, please contact Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

WPIAL Wrestling Legends Night

Saturday evening, April 4th, 2009, Chartiers Valley High School will host the 2nd Annual WPIAL Legends wrestling classic featuring some of the best WPIAL wrestlers ever assembled under one roof!!!

Finish First Sports Performance will be sponsoring a weight class and will be in attendance to cheer on our sports psychology advisor, Dr. Mark Marshall in his match.

Please join us for an evening of great wrestling and fun.

More information about the even can be found here.

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

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