By Christopher Costa, M.S.
If you’re like most other hockey players, you probably wake up, take a shower, have your coffee, and then it’s off to work. If you’re lucky, you may squeeze in a workout at lunch or the end of the day. And if you’re the adventurous type, you may set that alarm for five am for a planned-out program that requires a religious commitment.
Maybe you’ve acquired most of your program from articles online (hopefully you’ve read some of my articles and learned something!). You do your best in the gym with the little time and any knowledge you may have. Above all else, at the very least you are getting there, right?
If you’re a Strength Coach, like me, much of what I mentioned above is not part of your day. Sure, you’re up at five am, but that’s not for your own workout. You have your coffee on the run, because you know you have two or three hours before your clients start rolling in. That gives you just enough time to check and recheck your programming for your “morning crew.” No, I’m not referring to TV; I’m talking about how you train your hockey players.
See, most people think that the job of a Strength Coach is easy. “I could do that,” is what everyone thinks about a job like this. Sure, it’s fun and for the most part (if you’re a sound, fundamental coach) it’s easy, but there’s a large part that rests entirely on your shoulders: Your player must perform or you will no longer be employed.
The job can be demanding. It requires you to not only understand and manipulate the job to outperform itself, but it also requires you to cater to personalities by finding a way to get each player on your team. You want all of your clients to buy into your system. That’s the only way that you can realize true success.
A Strength Coach must not only be hands on, but he or she must know their limits. He/she must be able to make suggestions based on merit, without coming off as overpowering. Personality is key in the gym. Have you ever tried talking to a hockey puck? Not much fun. Above all else, a Strength Coach must know his/her product and service, understand it inside and out, and be willing to admit when he or she doesn’t know the answer. The best coaches don’t focus on the lack of knowledge; they find the best possible answer and apply it.
So the next time you’re at the gym and think, “Hey, I can do that!” you might want to think again. A professional coach dedicates the time to acquire knowledge and learn how each application has its consequences and results. He or she has the ability to quickly adapt and resolve an issue before it becomes a problem. Injuries are inevitable, but the best coaches understand how to make adaptations to get you back on the ice as quickly and safely as possible.
Christopher Costa is a hockey training specialist. His life has revolved around hockey, as a coach, player and official for 22 years. His training protocols address all key aspects in producing elite talent, including nutrition. For more information about a maintenance plan and how you should prepare for the playoffs, check out AssistPerformance or contact [email protected]
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