Light it up! (A new way).
Do you ever get bored of the same old thing, day after day, session after session? In the NHL, it’s the biggest thing players deal with, monotony of a long season. They actually crave divergence. They crave something new. Something stimulating. The science also supports it. People in all walks of life that just change things up improve performance significantly over their peers. That could mean doing a slightly different workout, maybe a few quick changes to your nutrition, maybe it’s challenging yourself to learn a new skill, on the computer, a new language, a new hobby, anything. You see, when you change up your routine or learn something new, your brain just light’s up! Ever hear someone describe a person that he/she is like a “sponge”? What do you think the sponge is? 100%. It’s your brain, and when you light it up, there is a whole world of endless fun, love and learning to enjoy.
There is also a ton of research that supports the art of repetition. For younger athletes, this is a must. Earlier in their lives the mapping of motor skills and cognitive learning are greater than even during the adolescent years so “repping” is key. But we think it’s also important to think about how you “rep”. Meaning there are combinations of correctives that are different, but they all correct a potential asymmetry. The algorithm of these correctives is unique for every person. That’s what makes our job so much fun, we’re tasked on solving the unique algorithm for each and every athlete we train. That’s why method is key. A proven one to boot. Backed by science but more importantly backed by clinical trials in the field. We are always learning. I guess that’s why we are always so excited, our brains are just constantly lit up, looking to solve the next puzzle.
I think it’s important to change things up, even for young hockey athletes. Practices that are always the same fosters the same. If they are good practices that foster the right cognitive, motor skills and movement patterns, that’s great. But take a look at all the possibilities. I mean you’d have to draw up close to 100 individual patterns just on movements and skills while moving backwards, let alone get across some of the tactical concepts that a coach would love to teach for TEAM play. There is so much out there. That’s a good thing but it’s sometimes hard to get all those little details entrenched into practice, after all there are usually 17 players on a minor hockey team.
We’ve found that consistent weekly deliberate practice gives athletes exactly what they need both on the cognitive and performance spectrums. Organic custom sessions provide that change in routine while challenging the athlete to learn new skills to become a more complete player. The performance metrics are just the result of that training, mostly by bridging in a confidence with an external support system that fosters positive results. The result? An excited kid tugging at Mom and Dad at 5am, to get ready for a Perfect Skating session at 6am!
It’s not only the young kids. I just got off the ice with my buddy Sven Andrighetto. When guys are coming off an injury and getting back into the lineup, most players are thinking about the dreaded “bag skate”. That’s for the NHL coach stuck in the 80’s. But NHL guys we work with, they love it, they are actually craving our skates, why? We light up their brain. We work. That’s it. It’s as simple as that. Invigorating concepts, detailed context, additional complexity, deliberate mapping, partner in performance, fun, fun, fun, give me everything you’ve got! A little bit better than the “bag skate” eh? It’s no wonder we work with so many NHL guys. We really do light them up!
So, next time you’re looking for some extra motivation for your son or daughter, seek out a program that can inspire. Hey coach, looking to maximize repetition but things are getting a little stale? Change it up. And most importantly, you the athlete looking for performance increases in your game, find a coach in your community that can light you up! Remember, it’s all about the brain.