It seems that strength and conditioning coaches just want their athletes to perform lifts and exercises at a certain threshold of skill, and then they just don’t care anymore. At that point, they want the numbers of the training to reflect the results. By this, I mean that they’ll want the aerobic capacity, strength, power, and heart rate of an athlete to be the best values that they can be, with minimal concern over how that happens.
This is a fine tact to take. However, it operates on the assumption that we move perfectly, or close to it. The sad truth is that most of us do not move perfectly. We do not have the software to properly run our hardware.
Why don’t we move perfectly? Well because our environment and culture causes us to be sitting for long periods of time. It causes us to be hunched over while texting, or with our shoulders forward while typing.
Then, as hockey players, we throw the demands our sport into the mix…and then we get athletes who move so far from perfectly it’s almost comical. People who sit for long periods of time already have tight hip flexors, so add skating…and tight hip flexors get even tighter. Also, most people are missing internal rotation of their femur because of tight hip flexors…add a sport that requires constant external rotation and abduction (striding)…and a population that is missing internal rotation of the femur begins to miss even more (think about how most hockey players walk like ducks off the ice).
Ya, the hardware needs to be improved. Hockey players need a high VO2max, high lactate threshold, lot’s of strength, power, quickness… But if the weakest link is the software, which in most cases it is, then the athlete and trainer need to focus on that first. Athletes and trainers who are not focusing on this may not see consequences right away, but they will later in a career.
Don’t assume that because you have this miraculous hardware that you have the software to run it. You must likely don’t. Upgrade your software.
This is a message that I’ve interpreted from Kelly Starrett, author of Becoming a Supple Leopard. It’s an important message that needs to be shared, so I thought I would add my voice. My next article will explain a bit about how the hardware versus software thing factors into you hockey development.