The Winter Blues

Hey guys,

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are off of the trees and it won’t be long before the only green we’ll be seeing is the bits of pine trees still visible through the snow. From a health and fitness perspective, winter often brings some new issues to deal with. The bleak weather and lack of available fresh produce often leads to us zombie-ing through the holidays, and stumbling into January in dire need of that new year’s resolution.

We’ve all heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so instead of using the first part of 2018 to try and make up for the end of 2017, let’s do our best to adopt some habits now that will give us the best chance to stay consistent throughout the winter and start the new year off with a bang.

1. Vegetables and Fruit

In the summer, you can find a produce stand with locally grown fruit and vegetables on just about every corner. When produce is plentiful and cheap, we’re a lot more likely to make them a part of our regular diet. When winter comes around however, we often let that part of our diet slip. We don’t necessarily think of salad as a winter meal, but our body’s need for the nutrients we get from leafy greens and bright vegetables doesn’t go away with the warm weather.

Especially as the holidays approach, when you know you’ll be indulging in a larger meal with loved ones, make sure you’re body is getting everything it needs by starting with a salad that includes dark leafy greens like kale and romaine lettuce, and bright vegetables like bell peppers and carrots. Purple cabbage and grape tomatoes add a great pop of colour and flavour as well.

2. Get active!

As the temperature drops, so does the number of people you see outside running or biking, or at the gym. It’s another case of convenience. When it’s warm outside, that ride through the trails or that trip to the gym is easier. In order to maintain the results we’ve gotten over the summer though, it’s essential that we don’t let the colder weather deter us from continuing to pursue our health and fitness goals. That includes making it a priority to get outside for at least a few hours a week. A significant contributing factor to Seasonal Affective Disorder is our decreased exposure to sunlight, so take the opportunity to go for a winter walk, shovel a neighbour’s driveway, or even take up a winter hobby like skiing or snowboarding.

3. Sleep

Very often the change in daylight hours causes our regular sleep schedule to get thrown off. One of the major causes of increased cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body is lack of sleep. If you’re already not getting 7-8 hours of sleep consistently at night, the winter season can really play havoc with your sleep schedule. Try to limit the things that can affect your ability to fall asleep and get a restful sleep when you do. Limit screen time as bedtime approaches. That means shutting down the phone, iPad, laptop, tv, or any other electronic device, and really letting your body and brain relax to prepare to sleep. This is a great opportunity to take some time to stretch or meditate or whatever your favourite relaxation exercise is. (Mine is a short yoga routine I found on YouTube a while ago). You’ll be amazed at how easy you’ll fall asleep when your head hits the pillow, and how well rested you’ll feel when it’s time to wake up.

 

Implementing as many of these habits as often as possible throughout the winter will go a long way towards avoiding the pitfalls that many people experience during the winter months. This may give you the advantage you need to break through those stubborn barriers in this upcoming year and get you to a new level of health, fitness, and success!

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A Look Inside: 1 on 1 with a Junior Goalie

Hey Guys,

I have a special treat for today. I’ve gotten permission from a very talented goalie that I have the pleasure of working with to share the video of one of our private sessions together on a mini rink.

I use a GoPro on the glass to get the whole picture, and I also bring an iPad onto the ice in order to give immediate feedback on certain situations. The GoPro makes clips of about 20 minutes long, so I’ll explain what’s going on in each clip.

We start with a warm-up I like to use. The focus is on reinforcing technique, and just getting comfortable moving, so we go puck to puck with the main movements a goalie would use.

The next drill uses 7 pucks to represent 7 standard spots a goalie would have to push to and get positioned. Each puck has a number and as I call it out, the goalie pushes to the specified puck. There is a very specific position I expect the goalie to be in for each number, so the focus is on speed and precision with each push. I still consider this to be part of the warm-up as the goalie can use this drill to get familiarised with their angles in the crease.

Now we’re going to get into some shots. With Dylan, one of our focuses has been to ensure we’re always releasing into shots, especially as a goaltender on the smaller side. One of my favourite things about Dylan is his stance. He’s constantly loaded and balanced, which means he can move in any direction very quickly. He’s an exceptionally athletic goaltender and this is a big reason why. This drill is as simple as it looks. I’m taking shots aimed at the holes under his arms and his goal is to release the proper skate blade to butterfly into the shot and get hit in the chest.

This drill continues into the second video.

We then progressed into a simulated odd-man rush. This is a great example of a drill that was a result of a discussion with the goalie about the best way to play a certain situation he was presented with recently. We often take advantage of sessions like this to go over different situations to come up with a game plan. I think it’s important to know what we’d like to do ideally in every situation. This is the time to go through some trial and error and see what will work best.

Our next area of focus was transitioning into and out of the RVH. I wanted to make sure we covered a variety of depths to determine the best way to manage each one. On each side we started with giving the goalie time to reach full depth, simulating a pass to a position high in the zone from below the goal line. Then we moved deeper, simulating a pass to the low slot, but still challenging the goalie to keep their feet. Lastly we moved to just above the crease and simulated a one timer from a tight position.

At this point we’re ramping up the tempo to include some game like drills. We start with a 2 puck scramble drill that forces a quick reaction and change of direction. The goalie has to read the direction of the shooter, and quickly shift focus to the 2nd puck and race to get into the best position possible for the 2nd shot.

During this drill, we decided to have some fun to end the hour and work on some of the desperation saves that we don’t often get to work on.

Overall we took the time to address some of the basic skills we always look to sharpen, as well as some specific concerns that are unique to this goalie and his game. The best part about working with goalies of this calibre is that they take ownership of their own development. As goalie coaches, our job is to collaborate with the goalie to find an approach that achieves results and that the goalie is comfortable with. If the goalie doesn’t believe in the approach, they likely won’t do it instinctively in a game. Find a coach who is your partner in finding the right approach to the game, so you can work together to make this your best season yet!

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Grow Your Game

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Hey Guys,

I hope everyone is having an awesome summer so far. If you’re in school, summer vacation is just around the corner. Tryouts have wrapped up, and by now you should have a pretty good idea of where you’ll be playing next season. For most of this month, hockey can be the farthest thing from your mind, which is great! I’m a firm believer in taking some time away from the ice, and away from the game, to let your body and your mind reset.

For myself, I usually take the month of June to reset too, but this year I had a great opportunity to develop as a coach, so I can come back to you guys and take your development to the next level as well!

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Myself and former Dallas Stars goalie coach and current Hockey Canada advisor Mike Valley.

I had an amazing chance to learn from some of the top minds in the game at the NetWork Goaltending Symposium. For 3 days at the University of Wisconsin I got to watch presentations from coaches like Pasco Volana (Hockey Canada), Mike Valley (Most recently of the Dallas Stars), Rob Tallas (Florida Panthers), Thomas Magnusson (Director of Goaltending, Swedish Ice Hockey Federation), and many more incredible goalie coaches.

In addition to hearing from those speakers, we also participated in group discussions where I was fortunate to collaborate with goalie coaches from around the world to discuss coaching and development strategies.

Coming back from that, I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned.

From July 10th to 13th I’ll be running a goalie clinic at Tecumseh Arena, where I’ll be able to take all this new knowledge onto the ice.

This Will Be Different Than Any Clinic You Attend This Summer

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Me with Director of Goalie Development for the Swedish Ice Hockey Association Thomas Magnusson.

I’m limiting each group to 8 goalies. Everyone will get tons of attention and coaching.

Best of all, we’re going to be implementing the same concepts and learning strategies that these world class goalie coaches are using to help the best goalies in the world.

These 4 days will lay a new foundation of skill for you to build on the rest of the summer. We’ll teach you to look at the game and the position differently. We’ll use your creativity to find the best solutions for your game.

Ultimately, we’re going to help you to make more saves, and make them easier. That’s really what it’s all about.

I can’t wait to get started.

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Tryouts: Work Smarter

Hey Guys,

It’s starting to get a bit warmer outside, and for most minor hockey teams, the season is winding down. Hopefully you all created some great memories and had lots of fun this season. I know some of my goalies had greats seasons, and I’m very proud of all their hard work this year. It won’t be long now before the focus will shift to tryouts. It’s amazing how quickly it seems to come once the season finishes. Invariably, every  year I get the same question: “what are coaches looking for when I try out?” The answer is, hopefully several things. Having been on both sides of this question, let me break down how I look at goalies during tryouts.

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  1. Skating – I cannot emphasise enough how important skating is to a goalie’s game. I look for the obvious things like balance and speed, but I also look for the subtle things like precision. Does the goalie hit their spot every time, square and with good depth, in their stance? Are they leading with their head, eyes, and stick blade as they move? Can they stay in a position to react throughout their movements, or does it take them some time to get set? If you focus on developing your skating, your whole game will improve.
  2. Puck Control – If you’re trying out to play on a rep level team, I assume you’re already skilled enough to stop the puck. Most average goalies can get some body part in the way of a shot. What sets elite level goaltenders apart is that they control the game by controlling where the puck goes after they save it. Goalies who are putting rebounds out into scoring areas give coaches fits. Work on deflecting low shots into corners and holding onto anything in the top 2/3 of the net.
  3. Stop the Puck – At the end of the day, just like any other job, results matter. You can be the best looking goalie on the ice, but if you can’t keep the puck out of the net, it’s going to be tough to make a case to keep you. Just focus on being solid. Make the saves you’re supposed to make, and don’t worry about being flashy. Nothing is more frustrating than a goalie who makes the big windmill glove save, only to let in the next easy shot along the ice.

Those are the biggest elements I look for when evaluating goalies. Obviously there are other skills such as puckhandling that are certainly nice to have, but it’s the goalies who are great at the basics who really excel.

With that in mind, make use of all the ice time you have leading up to tryouts to get better at the foundational skills of the game. Be hard on yourself in drills. Don’t let any of the details slide.

When the tryout comes around, be confident and trust your preparation. Only worry about what you can control, and trust that the coaches will see your attention to detail.

Good luck! See you at the rink.

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Schedule Page

Hey Guys,

In my last post I mentioned I would be publishing a schedule so you could check my availability and keep on top of any clinics or camps we’re doing. That page is now live and can be found here or at the top of the home page.

That’s all for today. I hope everyone had a good weekend. Let’s start the week off with a bang! Whether you planned to or not, get a good workout in today and set the tone for the week. Your body will thank you.

Talk soon,

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Update: The Last Few Months

Hey Guys,

I didn’t realize how long it had been since my last update! When I started this site, I made a commitment to myself that I would not post fluff content just for the sake of posting on a schedule. That being said, I should have given some more attention to this side of things.

Over the last few months a lot has changed for me, both personally and professionally. My wife and I moved into a new house in a new neighbourhood, which we are enjoying immensely. I’ve completed additional education on the subject of nutrition to allow me to help my clients to make positive changes in that aspect of their life as well. You can try to build a body that’s a “Ferarri” but if you don’t have the necessary fuel in the tank, you won’t be going anywhere. I’ve also revised the system and methodology I use to track and progress my athletes. Our athletes are taking huge strides in their games this season as a result of their hard work towards the end of the summer and into the year.

I’m happy to say that I’m involved in a number of minor hockey organizations around Windsor and Essex County once again this year. In the coming days I’ll be putting up a calendar of events on this site to keep you updated on where I am and what clinics will be available to everybody.

On that note, we’re currently halfway through our In-Season Development Clinic at PowerTech. I’m really excited about the success this group of goalies is having. We’ve got some beginners who are laying the best possible foundation to grow their game, and are becoming solid young goaltenders. We’ve also got some more advanced goalies who are sharpening their basic tools, and learning some more advanced skills in order to take their game to the next level and separate themselves from the competition.

I’ll be making a post to let everyone know before the next round of clinics gets started so that you can be in the next group of goalies to make this year your best season yet!

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Take Some Time Away

Hi Guys,

It feels like summer is flying by. Our first round of summer camps at Powertech just wrapped up last week, and the second set is set to start next week. For me personally, I’ve been coaching almost nonstop since the beginning of last season. You know that feeling when the days start to blend together and you’re not really sure where one week ends and the next begins?

I know some of you guys are in a similar situation. You played a long season; maybe you made it deep into the playoffs. Then once you finished you may have played spring hockey in a league or tournament team. After that, summer camps were about ready to begin. See where I’m going with this?

I got to the point where I knew if I didn’t take some time for myself, to get away from the rink and the gym, the quality of my work would suffer. I wouldn’t be able to maintain that same level of passion and focus.

So I took off. I certainly could have had a full coaching and training schedule if I had stayed, but it wouldn’t have been the best thing for me or for the people who entrust me with their health and wellness or their development. Now I know that when I get back, I’ll be recharged and ready to give my best again.

I would encourage you guys to think about your game this way as well. More is not always better. Even the best players in the world take some time at the end of their seasons to rest and recover from the grind of the year. It’s essential for your mental and physical wellbeing. You don’t have to take a vacation to the other side of the world, but ensure you have time away from the game. Hockey shouldn’t feel like a chore.

As for me, I’m enjoying my time down here in South Carolina, right on the coast. I’m enjoying waking up with the sun and having nothing on the agenda. It’s about 100 degrees outside but the breeze off the ocean feels great.

Back at it soon.

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