I couldn’t help myself, but while watching last night’s game between Colorado and Florida it’s amazing to see how our “Rudder” platform has really created a ripple effect across the NHL. I started introducing this over 10 years ago with players in the French and Swiss Elite Leagues and amazingly enough for a simple proprioceptive control platform, it seemed very hard for elite level pros to coordinate. The problem? Sole power focus. You see that’s why our brand is called Perfect Skating. What is power? Well for us it’s all about force production and relative strength through coordinated movement. Not sheer force plate numbers. How does that translate to movement? It doesn’t unless the power is a coordinated effort across medium. Have you ever seen a body builder do a cartwheel? Maybe. He or she has tons of power, but whether or not that power can flow through movement is really the interesting athletic question.
Check out Mikko Rantanen pull off a quick rudder cut to create space and get his shot off to score last night against Florida!
Hockey athletes are by cause and effect power athletes. With the exception of a couple dozen elite mindset’s worldwide, they’ve also been subjected to faulty training patterns and protocol. The cause and effect of playing a specialized sport like hockey forces musculature adaptability, thus strengthening the hockey players musculature of the posterior chain. These are those big muscles in the back of the body, lats, low back, glutes, hamstrings and calves that naturally set a body’s equilibrium. But you see, we were never really created to be that developed back there. God did not create us to skate and this movement is a specialized movement created by man. That’s ok, skating and the game of hockey are awesome which is another great “chalk it up” for human ingenuity, but when you study “gait” and musculature that develops around walkers and runners, then study how that affects natural body balance, it’s clear that the underlining effects of a hugely developed posterior chain requires some movement coordination principles as the body’s equilibrium can be compromised.
So how does this affect the “rudder” platform and how to execute it? Take a look at superstar Mikko Rantanen’s goal last night. This is big man’s rudder to a tee. The interesting thing about Mikko is his ability to coordinate this complex pattern with the associated skill and timing for being such a big man with such a developed posterior chain. Did he execute it perfectly? Not quite. When I analyze and sit down with NHL players we are looking for perfection, mapping out the complexity of the movement and skill and what made it successful or unsuccessful. It’s all really cool stuff. The key concept and the message today is that when talking about skating it’s not all about power or driving your posterior chain. Hey, don’t get me wrong, you need to be strong, explosive and agile, all derivatives of power but the key is to coordinate that power into complex movement patterns with skills that can impact total game performance. We’d love to see Mikko close his hip angle a little bit and produce a little more dorsiflexion on this rudder, but when you analyze his t-spine rotation to lateral shift over this right leg and the actual time he took to coordinate it, plus the multitude of skills exemplified, not to mention the timing, judging distance etc… man, you can see why players of this caliber are just so good. It’s actually an amazing feat of pure athleticism, because so many different patterns are in coordinated play.
Coordinated play. I kind of like that. Power vs Movement Coordination? You need both but I will take the latter any day of the week. The evolution of the nervous system has taken many millennia to evolve into what our brains are today. The body? Power? We’ve mastered that with human ingenuity over the last 60-70 years.
So, the real question is? How are you training your brain?