“I predict the sun will rise in the east. When it does I will then declare that I can control the movement of the sun.”The big secret is that there is no secret. I have been saying this for years. There is always a guy ready to take credit for someone’s combination of hard work and great genetics. I hate the money grubbers who always claim to have found the holy grail of training. All they have really found is a list of high net worth parents who are willing to pay for a dream. I have trained the world’s best athletes for almost thirty years and I know there is no secret.Work hardEat breakfastTake care of your bodyThose are the secrets. If you think you need to spend ten thousand dollars for training secrets than you are a fool. It’s like Bernie Madoff. He had a secret investment plan that made everyone money. How did that work out? The world is full of guys who overpromise and under-deliver. The sports training world is no exception. I love how guys can meet a great athlete and suddenly be the reason for his success. I have trained some of the world’s all time greats in every sport known to man and at no time did I ever mislead the media to think I made them.As I said above, the secret is hard consistent work. Nothing more nothing less. The secret is being able to do what others won’t. Not because your dad wants you too or your Mom wants you too but, because you want to. The secret is sacrifice. Sacrificing a night out with friends to lift, shoot baskets or shoot pucks. The secret is getting up hours before you have to so you can eat breakfast. The secret is never missing a workout. The secret is getting out early at practice to work on weaknesses.There are so many secrets and none cost money.
Archive for the Hockey Category
I just read an article in which Kim McCullough ( a former MBSC intern by the way) talked about the difficulty of balancing the concept of early specialization with the concept of 10,000 hours needed for expert status. If we really need to accumulate 10,000 hours to become an expert in any discipline then it would appear we need to start very young? However on the flip side, all the expert experience seems to point away from early specialization in one sport? Who’s right?
Kim quoted a Scandinavian study that showed that elite performers cranked up the hours between ages 15 and 18? How and why is this significant? I think potentially in three ways:
1- Non specialized hours count early. All movement counts toward the 10,000 hours from ages 5-15. If mastery of a particular sport is the goal it is not about hours of that particular sport but hours of a broad range of sports that lay the foundation for elite performance later. Kids need to kick, hit, jump, and throw in as many venues as possible to develop the wide range of athletic skills that will eventually result in elite performance in one area.
Specialization early is probably more detrimental not beneficial. In other words, soccer hours count towards hockey as a young child learns to connect the brain to the feet and develops sprint abilities and energy systems. In the same way, gymnastics, martial arts and baseball are all part of the early composition of the 10,000 hours. What does not count is TV and NHL Play Station. I even think watching high quality games counts at this point as kids develop passion and game concepts.
2- Games count but they count less than you think. You might want to view a game based on minutes of play or better yet minutes of ball or puck contact. A typical youth hockey game might count for 15 minutes ( actual play time) or one minute ( actual puck contact). Don’t get caught up in the “more games” thing.
3- Deep practice or deliberate practice becomes more likely and more tolerable after a certain age. After age 12 kids seem to be able to accept that fact that practice might not always be fun. In the same books that tout 10,000 hours we also find the concept of deep practice or deliberate practice. Both concepts focus on repetition of skills slightly out of reach and begin to focus on quality reps done with feedback. I dont think that deep practice is normal for young kids although it is a basic tenent of elite weight class sports like gymnastics and figure skating. After 12 years of age things like strength training, conditioning, puck shooting and stickhandling begin to count for the young hockey player.
The key to developing an elite performer in any sport is to balance the concepts and to realize that a broad base is actually the foundation of a 10,000 hour pyramid that leads to elite performance.
Below is a recent correspondence with a friend. I think you will find it informative.
Hi Mike, I hope all is well. I’m writing because I have a friend who’s son is an up and coming hockey player. He is going into his sophomore year of high school. He played as a freshman on the varsity team. He’s a great young man and is very skilled player. His mom asked me to help them out with what he needs to do to attract colleges. Based on your experience with BU hockey team do you have any suggestions on what colleges are/would be looking for and what if any information we can send to schools on his behalf. If you have any contacts that we could speak with that would be great.
Thanks for your help!
Thanks, a question like yours actually merits a thoughtful answer. The process of being “noticed” by schools is simple. Get better, continue to improve. Many parents are under the impression that exposure to coaches and scouts is the problem. In reality, there are millions of dollars a year being spent on finding the best players. Parents want to believe that if they can simply get the right person to see their son or daughter that the process can in some way be expedited. They take an adult view. Things like connections and introductions come into play. Highlight flims are made, it’s almost like a marketing campaign. However the problem is it is a marketing campaign for an often unfinished and unproven product. The key is to make sure the product ( the player) is solid, not that the marketing is in place.
The point that your friend’s son is at is also the point that the wheels usually fall off. Right now your friends son is a good player on an average team. The question is “what’s the next step”? For many parents the next step is the fatal mistake of the “summer exposure tour”. This usually involves getting sucked into every invitation only, super select camp or tournament they can find. In this case a young kid with potential is taken off the fast track and his development is stalled as he searches for exposure. The truth is the summer is the time to get off the ice and train to get better. The only kids who are getting scholarship offers as sophomores are the few exceptions to the rule. If this kid was one he would already know. The key now is to keep the nose to the grindstone and continue to get better both from a hockey perspective and a physical perspective. The vast majority of players going into college are not 18 year old high school graduates but, twenty year olds with 2 years of junior hockey under their belt. The road to a scholarship is a long slow grind. I wrote an article called
Training is Like Farming
This is an excerpt
I think I remember Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People making reference to what he called “the law of the farm”. The reference was meant to show that most of the truly good things in life take time and can’t be forced. Covey described the process of farming and alluded to how it requires patience and diligence to grow crops properly. In addition farming requires belief in the system. The farmer must believe that all the hard work will yield an eventual long-term result.
The concept has always stuck with me. The process of developing an athlete at any age is much like farming or, like planting a lawn. There are no immediate results just as there are no immediate results from farming. The process requires even more patience. First, the seeds must be planted. Then fertilizer (nutrition) and water must be applied consistently. Only the correct amounts cause proper growth. Overfeeding can cause problems, as can under-feeding. If I sit and wait for my lawn to sprout, I feel many of the same frustrations of the parent. When will I see results? How come nothing is happening? All this work and nothing. The key is to not quit. Have faith in the process. Continue to add water and wait. Farming and athlete development are eerily similar. Years may pass with no real notice. Suddenly coaches begin to call. Your reaction might be “it’s about time someone noticed”. Much like the first blades of grass poking through the ground, you begin to see success. You begin to experience positive feedback.
When my friends or clients talk to me about their frustration with the process I always bring up the farm analogy. We live in a world obsessed with quick fixes and instant results. This is why the farm analogy can be both informative and comforting. Development must be approached over a period of weeks and months, not days. The reality is that there is no quick fix, no easy way, no magic plan, no secret formula. There is only the law of the farm. You will reap what you sow. In reality you will reap what you sow and care for. If you are consistent and diligent you will eventually see results
The law of the farm.
Plant the seeds
Feed and water properly
Wait for results, they will happen, not in days but in weeks and months.
Bottom line. Get him involved in a good strength program. Avoid the “go to another tournament or camp every weekend of the summer to get seen” thing and work on getting better. Slow and steady wins the race. Most parents lose it right at the wrong time and run of in the wrong direction. Tell them not ask anyone for advice who hasn’t developed 100’s of college players. I have. As I said, slow and steady wins the race.
Today is USA vs Canada in Women’s Ice Hockey. The Women’s World Championships are being held in Burlington, Vt over the next seven days. This interview was done at our Winter Training Camp in Minnesota in December. Go USA
The last few years Art Horne and Dan Boothy over at Northeastern University have put on an amazing seminar in the late spring. Art and Dan really have their finger on the pulse in the area of sports medicine and performance training and bring in speakers that you might not have heard yet. Think about it as seeing a breakout band before they hit the big arenas. This spring is no different. Make sure you save May 19th and 20th for what I think is the fourth annual BSMPG Conference. http://www.bsmpg.com/2012-summer-seminar/
Craig Liebenson and many others.
I have talked over and over about learning to speak coach and wrote a post on it here. Learning to speak coach or , learning to speak parent is the key to sport specific selling. One of our StrengthCoach.com members asked about sport specific selling so I wrote the info below.
|Swimming- “lower body strength and power are huge. 50% of the race is start and turn”
Hockey- “strength is huge. Collisions in hockey are at the highest speeds seen in any sport. No one can run faster than the fastest skater and in no other sport do you slam into an immoveable object ( the boards)”
basketball- “lower body strength is huge. The easiest way to improve vertical jump is to improve lower body strength”.
baseball- “lower body strength is huge. You hit the ball from the ground up starting from the feet and moving through the hips. Try to swing sitting down”.
The reality is training is pretty much the same but talking to parents is about learning to speak their language. I could write example after example of how we use the language of the sport to sell the parent on the idea of training. I have never seen a young athlete get involved in a good training program and get worse and I’ve seen thousands get better. What do you think?