“Move your FEET!!” a passionate hockey dad yells while watching his son’ game. “Get THERE!!” a fired-up hockey mom hollers while watching her daughter in the finals of their weekend tournament. For everyone it’s all about moving their feet but should it be?
Think about the game of hockey and forget all the old cliché’s, coaching propaganda and century old traditions for just one second and think about physics. Physics? I thought we were talking hockey? We are… but kinda the physics of hockey. The physics of hockey, what is this…? Please listen young hockey Lea’s and Skywalker’s and may the force be with you.
How do you teach an athlete the best movement pattern to ensure success in a specific game situation? Is it a hunch, a good idea, or a guess? What are the underlying viewpoints that need scanning and then processing to ensure that the body movement follows the nervous system? Imagine you’re on a two-lane highway and your thinking about passing, the goal is to fit into a seam that might be 15 Feet long and about 6 feet wide and you’ve got to worry about an oncoming car about 60 metres out. Can you make it? What are the viewpoints that need scanning? How fast can we process? Are there layers of complexity? As an on-ice movement practitioner, this is where the laws of physics apply and are crucial to the success of your game.
You see it’s all pretty simple. It’s all about interchanging the values for speed, time and distance. Interestingly the example above and all situations in the game of hockey are essentially the same. What is the distance presented, can I shorten it with increased speed or elongate it with skill and movement pattern creation? What is the speed of the situation, my body, the opposition, the puck? Ultimately the answers to these two questions are going to dictate the time you have to complete the sequence. Are there other ways to play? Sure. How about looking at a player driving the net for a rebound. The smart ones know the physics of the situation the best. I need to get to this area around this time. How far is it? Well your calculating distance and that’s going to be a factor of your speed and the amount of time you have to get there. One split second ahead or late makes all the difference. Or maybe your flying up the ice executing a neutral zone support route, but how do you judge how fast to go? The decision really becomes a function of controlling your speed, which becomes a function of distance over time.
Answering this question correctly will allow you to temper or accelerate your speed to support with perfect timing creating that short support your coach is looking for to put the odds in your team’s favour. And let’s face it, coaches control our ice time and as they say in all walks of life “Timing is Everything”. Let’s call our thing Everytiming. Timing done right all the time by understanding the physics and experiences of hockey.
Of course, there may be some of you asking about the changes, audibles, stuff that happens out on the ice and your right, if hockey didn’t have intense levels of complexity we might have already been replaced by artificial intelligence. After all they would be able to calculate speed, time and distance way faster and more accurately than us. But even in this world of increasing pressure on the human race, I think Kevin Kelly says it best “Productivity is for robots. What humans are going to be really good at is asking questions, being creative and experiences.”
We couldn’t agree more.