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Finish First Insider, Issue #77
October 12, 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.

FACEOFF Hockey Magazine Article

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

I would like to thank FACEOFF magazine for the article in their most recent issue (Oct-Nov 2009, page 12). It's great to see that what Finish First Sports Performance has been doing to help athletes for almost 10 years now is continuing to get recognized in the athletic community.

For those of you who do not receive the magazine, I am here to tell you it is a FREE publication. All you need to do is go HERE and sign up to start receiving your FREE issues.

Additionally, you can pick them up at any ice rink in Pittsburgh, some YMCA's, or at the Finish First Sports Performance world training headquarters.

Finally, for anyone who is not able to get a copy of the magazine, but would still like to read the article, here it is.


Workout Mecca

Robinson Township gym helps athletes achieve optimal fitness

Story by Matt Grubba

Hockey has always been a sport that rewards the most-skilled players on the ice.

But as players from juniors to the pro ranks continue to get stronger and faster, keeping pace physically requires a hefty commitment off the ice, as well.

With that in mind, Jeremy Hoy saw an opportunity.

Hoy, a certified strength and conditioning specialist with a degree from Slippery Rock University, founded Finish First Sports Performance in Robinson Township, a gym with focus on athlete-specific workout programs that has drawn top area athletes.

Since opening its doors in 2007, Finish First has helped train pros such as Toronto Maple Leafs center Christian Hanson and former Robert Morris and Current Johnstown Chiefs forward Sean Berkstresser, right down to high school and amateur players.

While hockey players aren’t the only ones getting the benefits of Finish First’s training, they make up a good percentage of Hoy’s business because of his background in the sport.

“When I graduated, I went to Lake Placid, N.Y., to be an intern at the U.S. Olympic Training Center,” Hoy said.

“I got to work with a lot of really cool sports like skeleton, bobsled and luge, as well as the women’s gold medal ice hockey team, which was one of my first exposures to high-level hockey.”

For Hoy, a wrestler in high school and college, that would be the start of a connection to hockey that continues today.

After his internship, he returned to Western Pennsylvania for a job as the director of sports performance at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center, a position that gave him even more exposure to top-flight hockey.

“I got to pick the mind of Kevin Constantine, who had just finished up with the Penguins, Dave Hanson, who is still at the Island Sports Center, and Marianne Watkins, who is one of the best power-skating instructors in the country,” Hoy said.

“I would have to say that after the success I had at Lake Placid and working with the Pittsburgh Forge (Junior A team) at Robert Morris, I tended to fit in well working with hockey players because they’re all so hard working and have good values.”

Finish First’s “Total Athletic Performance System,” a gym trademark, takes into account age, skill level, development level and injury history, as well as other factors, to determine an individual workout plan unique to each person and his or her sport.

“(For hockey players) we do a lot of single-leg, multi-plane movement. We do a lot of stopping and starting and working on the first three steps, getting that strength and acceleration,” Hoy said.

“(Hoy) really cares and really knows his stuff. He’s always doing research,” said Christian Hanson, a Venetia native who played his first five NHL games last season after graduating from Notre Dame.

“I’ve had strength coaches through juniors, college and now with the Leafs that will talk to Jeremy about me during the offseason. They all say the same thing after talking with him – that he really knows what he’s doing and they know I’m being taken care of here.”

“My hips have always been really tight, and as a hockey player, the looser your hips are, the quicker you’re going to be,” said Berkstresser, an Apollo native who first worked with Hoy while playing for the Forge, from 2001 to 2003. “It’s made me more explosive and a lot more powerful.”

Those benefits are why Hanson and Berkstresser continue to work with Hoy at Finish First, located on the corner of State Route 60 and Moon Run Road.

The building, which formerly housed a beer distributor, was morphed into a well-ventilated workout space for Finish First customers, taking advantage of the garage doors formerly used for deliveries. Workouts aren’t confined to just the building, either, as Hoy and his coaches also take advantage of the area behind the building, where property borders the wide-open space provided by the Twin Hi-Way Drive-In cinema.

The expanse of dirt and grass behind the building allows for everything from sprints to pushing sleds, giving Finish First more workout flexibility than most fitness centers in suburban Pittsburgh, so many of which are stuck in strip malls or in crowded neighborhoods.

“We do a lot of stuff outside, conditioning, footwork drills, sleds and flipping tires,” Hoy said.

“I had a vision of a training facility similar to this, maybe a bit bigger. I looked at a lot of commercial spaces before we moved in here, and space is always an issue. If you’re in a retail area, you’re kind of limited in what you can do.”

With such a prime location, Hoy can focus on what he enjoys doing the most: working with individual athletes on a more personal basis.

“He gives you more one-on-one attention and I think he really bases everything around what your strengths are,” Berkstresser said. “Instead of handing you a paper and saying go at it, he really builds you up and works on your weaknesses.”

And Berkstresser knows that the attention he gets isn’t just because he’s a professional – it’s the way Hoy has always treated all his athletes.

“He’ll be my trainer until further notice. Even when I’m done playing hockey, I’ll probably still go work out there to work with him.”

Keep Control! Don’t Let Food Availability Keep You From Eating Right!

By Heather R Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN Finish First Sports Performance Nutrition Advisor

Tis’ the season to hit the road with the team. If you think that eating right at home is hard, consider what you face when you are not the person choosing the restaurant. Another problem is meal timing. When the bus stops, it may not be the right time to eat. The good news is, you can keep control, it may just be more effort. No one said being the best is easy- it takes extra energy on your part all the way around.

To start with, you can try to change the foods that are being offered. Find out who is choosing the restaurant. Talk to the coach or individual that is responsible for where you eat and verbalize your concerns. It is possible that there has not been much consideration put into where the team eats. Also, it may be the restaurant that has been used for years when traveling to a certain town. If that’s the case, that may be an easy change. If the coach is choosing the restaurant based on availability, a few team members may be able to research another option. Of course, there is always the chance that there really is no “good” restaurant option (such as you are in the middle of nowhere). If that is the case, you’ll have to find another way to take control of your health: bring your own!

If packing your own food sounds like a pain, remember this: it’s not easy being the best! It really is not that difficult, just more effort. Purchase a medium sized cooler and bring your own healthy performance food. Not only does this allow you to eat right, it also allows you to eat at the proper times. You will not be forced to eat when the bus stops but rather when research shows us it is the best time to eat. Additionally, you can have other snacks available to you to consume throughout the day, especially after the game to start the recovery process.

Unfortunately, there are still a few things to figure out. You have to determine if you have access to a microwave to heat your food. Most times, a restaurant will heat up your food for you. Of course you may come across a place that will not (an airport or an airplane will not heat your food) so you will have to consider what you can do. Most gas stations (7-eleven or other convenience stops) do have a microwave available to customers. It may be wise to bring a back up nut butter and jelly sandwich, yogurt or other cold food to consume just in case. As you get more experienced with taking responsibility for your own health, you get more creative. Eventually, this will be second nature and not such a big deal.

You want to consume your pre-event meal ~3-5 hours prior to the event to allow for gastric emptying. The size of your meal will depend on your individual needs and what YOUR gut can tolerate. Take spaghetti with meatballs or sauce for example. While 1 ½ cups of spaghetti might be plenty for one person, 3 cups of spaghetti might be necessary for someone else. Remember that the pre-event meal should be high carbohydrate, moderate protein, low fat. The following are a few examples of what you can pack in your cooler as healthy, high carbohydrate pre-game meals.

*spaghetti with meatballs, 2 slices of whole-grain bread

*chicken stir-fry over whole grain rice

*low-fat tuna salad wrapped in whole wheat tortillas with veggies

*Sliced turkey wrapped in whole wheat tortillas or whole grain bread

*ham slices, baked or sweet potatoes, veggies, whole grain roll

*Cold sandwich, cold pasta salad, crackers

Lastly, it is easy to make excuses for not eating right. Lead you team to success by taking control of what foods are available!

Female Athletes ACL Injuries Awareness/Prevention

By Emily E. Novitsky, BS, CSCS, Finish First Sports Performance Athletic Performance Specialist

Recently in my Graduate level Research Class I have been doing research for my final project which is on “Female Athletes ACL Injuries.” According to the research “adolescent and adult female athletes are 4 to 6 times more likely to sustain noncontact sport related anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury than male athletes.” There have been thousands of articles written about awareness/prevention of female ACL studies. The following article will depict possible intervention techniques.

Over the last 30 years there has been a substantial increase in the number of female athletes with ACL injuries. Therefore there has been a huge investment into the awareness and prevention of female ACL injuries. According to the Journal of Athletic Training they have estimated that there are over 3800 ACL injuries a year. A cost per ACL injury alone is anywhere from $17,000- $64,000 which includes surgical and rehabilitation fees. That is why the importance and screening for ACL injuries has become so popular.

The important topic of interest when discussing female ACL injuries would have to be on neuromuscular imbalances. Female athletes in particular may demonstrate a dominance in one or more of the following, ligament dominance, quadriceps dominance, and leg dominance. With earlier identification of the listed previous dominances the athlete will be able to prevent an ACL injury. At Finish First Sport Performance correction of the neuromuscular imbalances will be addressed during the athletes training sessions at our facility. Additionally it is also important for the female athletes to address these neuromuscular problems because it will help optimize the biomechanics of their movements and help reduce injury in their everyday lives.

Therefore the first step for awareness/prevention would be screening or testing for the muscle imbalances. The next step would be treatment of imbalances. Lastly post-screening or ongoing screenings would be of interest for the athletes to ensure correct biomechanics and optimal performance.

The cheapest and safest form of modern medicine has and will be prevention therefore take the time to talk to your female athlete and coaches about the potential incidence of ACL injuries.

If you have any additional questions about the female’s athletes and being susceptible to ACL injuries feel free to contact Emily or Jeremy at or 412-787-5070

Motivational Quotes

"Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. "
-- Napoleon Hill

"Unless you change how you are,you will always have what you've got. "
-- Jim Rohn

"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything"
-- George Bernard Shaw

"The starting point of all achievement is desire. "
-- Napoleon Hill

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

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