• MTS Iceplex - Manitoba's Community Hockey Complex
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Deep Squats and Random Thoughts

The question of how deep one should squat is always a topic of debate. There are many different factors that go into a properly performed deep squat such as strength, mobility, stability, mechanics and practicing the skill. If you can do these things well you can squat deep and despite what the naysayers might tell you it will be safe. Let’s debunk one of the main arguments that the anti-deep squat crowd will tell you, that squatting deep is hard on the knees, specifically the ligaments. When making this argument the main ligament called into question is the ACL. Now if we actually look at the numbers the section of the range of motion that puts the most stress on the ACL is the first 15-30 degrees. From there the amount of stress actually decreases as you go deeper. Even at the point of maximal stress on the ACL (15-30 degrees) the amount of stress is usually only about 25% of what the ACL is cable of handling. So as you can see the maximal stress comes quite early in the squat motion is not at a level that should be of any concern on a healthy knee.

The only thing you can control in your life is your effort. The outcome of your endeavors may not always be what you had hoped for, but never let that be because of your lack of effort. Your effort is who you are: how you work at your job, how you work at your relationships. People take note of the effort you put forth in all aspects of your life and either consciously or sub-consciously that effort becomes their perception of you. Your effort is how the world sees you and if you are honest with yourself, your effort will be how you quantify your own self-worth. An honest person cannot hide from their lack of effort. Even though your effort may not guarantee certain levels of success if your life, I do believe that people are inherently good and your effort will not go unnoticed by those who put equal effort into their life and relationships. While the accolades and monetary accumulations may happen, the respect and relationships formed will always be guaranteed. So be a good person, put the effort in.

– AJ Zeglen

Dave Cameron’s Guide On What to Expect as a Hockey Canada Skills Coach

I was extremely fortunate to be invited as a skills coach for the Under 17 Hockey Canada Development Camp from July 25th – 30th.  There were 111 players invited who were split into 6 teams for the camp.  I was working with 2 teams, Team Black  and Team Blue to help in their development as players.  A lot was asked of myself (working with the D men) and Daniel Tzaczuk (working with the forwards).

DHall of fameay 1 – July 25th

All the coaches, trainers, medical staff, mental performance staff and camp coaches arrived into Calgary.  We were transported to our dorm at the U of C and then to WinSport Arena home of Hockey Canada for welcome meetings and staff meetings. Our initial coaches meeting was held in the Hall of Champions which is like a room out of the Hockey Hall of Fame with all the trophies. It showed us that we were now at a different level and our coaching had to be at its best.  Our coaching staff had talked at length before out arrival, but this was the first meeting face
to face for many of us.  We met until late that night to make sure we were prepared for the player’s arrival.

Day 2 – July 26th

As players arrived into Calgary, we greeted them at the dorms.  We had a quick team meeting to lay out some ground rules and introduce our staff and then made our way to the WinSport Arena.  Throughout the evening, players went through physicals, equipment fitting, medicals, pictures, etc. As coaches, this was a great time for us to get to know some of the players a
nd put faces to a name. With many busy days ahead, the players were given their schedules to prepare, highlighting their on-ice sessions, off-ice testing, mental training, stress management, media training, equipment showings, nutrition, team video sessions and more.meeting

Day 3 – July 27th

Dan and I were asked to lead the first day of practice to “set the tone” for the week. We planned the first 30 minutes where Dan put the players through skill work. The following 30 minutes were built off of what Dan had done, having the D men and Forwards split to work through position specific drills. Players loved the tempo of the first skate and it really allowed us to break some of the nerves they had.

The second skate of the day had players going through their on-ice testing with players testing both with and without a puck in forward speed, backward speed, transition skating and weave agility.

Day 4 – July 28th

I was asked to lead the first 20 minutes of practice with dedicated work to lead into our offensive practice.  We focused on quick puck movement which worked well leading into the offensive rushes and regroups we were working on.  Assistant Coach Dave Struch (Regina Pats – WHL) did a great job to explain how our team would be looking to attack.  We finished the session with some work with the D men on finding shooting lanes and creating offense from the blue line.

After a busy day of lectures, players came back on the ice for their positional practice. Dan took all the forwards while I was able to work for 90 minutes with the 12 D men from Team Black and Team Blue. We focused on skating and mobility, puck movement (working to eliminate extra stickhandles), partner support and movement and shooting from the point (build off day 3). After a long day players were exhausted and ready for bed!

Day 5 – July 29th

Dan Tkaczuk was asked to lead the first 20 minutes of practice with topics that would lead into our defensive practice.  He focused on a lot of skating work followed by a quick stickhandling and shooting circuit. Chris Dennis (York University) lead a great practice focusing on tracking pucks, defensive positioning and defensive support.  This was a tough practice for some players as a few concepts were new but they learned quickly how important these skills were.

July 30The second session of the day was a small area games session where we had both Team Black and Team Blue on the ice.  Players played a variety of games with some 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 4 vs 4, face-off battles and even some PP and PK work.  Players worked extremely hard and competed for the full 90 min.

July 6 – July 30th

Game Day …. Starting with a morning skate for Team Black where the guys had an upbeat 30 minute skate followed by 15 min of positional work with the forwards and D men. Team Blue was next where they followed a similar set up for practice.  This was the end of our work in preparation as the rest was now up to the players to perform. Dan and I headed to the airport where we watched the game online. Both Team Black and Team Blue came away with wins.

The teams played 2 more days of games without the skills coaches present.  Team Black ended up winning the mini tournament with Team Blue finishing 4th. This was an incredible learning experience for me to be able to work in that environment. I am honored to have been able to help with Team Canada’s U17 preparation for the tournament in October.  I wish all the players all the best this upcoming season and we will be cheering loud from Winnipeg!

-Dave Cameron, Jets Hockey Development Head On-Ice Instructor & Program Manager

3 Strength Coaches You Should Be Following Right Now

With social media always presenting new avenues for people to connect the strength and conditioning industry has never been more popular. Like anything in life there is always bad with the good and there is a ton of really terrible information out there. The good news is there are some absolutely amazing people out there sharing their knowledge as well. Here are in my opinion three strength coaches that you have to follow:

  1. Eric Cressey: everyone has moments when someone flicks the switch and the light bulb goes off in your head and all of a sudden everything makes sense. For me this moment came almost ten years ago reading an e-book called “The Ultimate Off Season” by Eric Cressey. He is known as both the “baseball” and the “shoulder” guy and while he is the industry leader in both these fields his knowledge reaches far beyond that. He is extremely generous with the information he shares and everything he says will make you better. You can sign up for his free e-news letter at ericcressey.com, follow on Twitter: @EricCressey and Instagram: ericcresey. I strongly suggest you do all three.
  2. Jim Smith: is one half of the force behind Diesel Strength and Conditioning along with Joe DeFranco. Jim’s free e-news letter is my favourite read every week. He includes great strength and conditioning information that is often accompanied by videos and pairs it with great life lessons. His delivery of this is always on point and the positive way you are left feeling after reading his work will have you ready to crush everything you do that day both in and out of the gym. Check out the blog on dieselsc.com, sign up for his e-news letter, follow him on Twitter: @dieselstrength and on Instagram: smittydiesel.
  3. Jason Ferruggia: the man behind the Renegade army. Jason’s mix of knowledge on training, business, life and old school hip hop are top notch. His website jasonferruggia.com will direct you to all the gems that he has to offer including his blog, newsletter, Twitter, Instagram and my personal favourite his podcast appropriately named Renegade Radio. It’s one of the best podcasts I’ve ever heard and covers everything from training, business, life, and music with incredible guests that will give you knowledge to improve your life.

AJ Zeglen

The Benefits of Lifting Weights

There are many obvious benefits to a good strength and conditioning program. Increases in strength, speed, power, and conditioning are all great physical attributes that will put you in a better position to be successful in your chosen sport. But it is my belief that some of the best benefits lay just underneath the surface and although they aren’t as visible to outsiders they are the ones that will have the greatest positive impact on your life.

  1. Being good at the things that require no talent: Working out requires no talent. No one is born good at working out. It’s all about hard work. Show up, listen, pay attention to detail, work hard, give your best effort and you will find success in the gym. None of these things require talent, they are open to anyone and can be a great equalizer in your sport and in life.
  2. Mental toughness: Some of the things that you will experience in your work outs will bring you to your knees. But you will learn to disassociate with the pain, keep pushing and persevere. I call this “accepting the suck”, some things in life are going to suck but the ability to accept that it’s going to be hard and keep moving forward can change your life. It is a learned skill and you will find it in the gym. A close friend of mine calls squats the metaphor for life. You have all this weight on your shoulders pushing you down. You can either let it keep you there at the bottom or you can push and fight and stand back up.
  3. Confidence: the confidence that you develop going through battles in gym and coming out the other side are unparalleled. The combination of physical strength and mental fortitude that are required to complete certain workouts and programs will increase confidence to new heights. It will spread to all aspects of your life and make you feel like you can accomplish anything. And you can.
  4. You get what you put in: perhaps my favourite life lesson that the weights give you is what you put into something is what you get out. The weights never lie to you. If you haven’t put in the work they won’t move. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. It doesn’t matter if you make ten dollars a year or a million. If there is a weight sitting on the floor in front of you and you haven’t put the work in you will not be able to pick it up. In a time when everyone is awarded for everything and everyone gets a trophy and people are given passes and moved through the system because no one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings the weights hold true. They don’t care about your feelings, they won’t pass you just because and they will always tell you the truth.
  5. Working out is for everyone: everyone has the ability to get stronger. Just like the weights won’t lie to you they also don’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are short, tall, skinny, overweight, male, female, young, old or of any ethnicity or socio economic background. If you put the work in you will receive the positive benefits and results.

The lessons that can be learned in the gym through working can literally be life changing. I’ve seen this in many of the people I have trained over the last twelve years and in myself. You need resistance to shape character and you will find plenty of it in the gym, both physical and mental. All these benefits exist for everyone and they are waiting for you on the other side of those gym doors. So get it there, it’s yours for the taking. Strength, Courage, Hustle, Commitment.

AJ Zeglen

A Spring Season in Review

Stubby

Spring Hockey. Some parents search for teams with the highest winning percentage, or most exciting tournament destinations. Some who believe that Spring Hockey is truly about which team has the best group of parents to socialize with.

Jets Hockey Development Spring Program is taking a step away from the common spring hockey experience. We pride ourselves in a program that is always evolving and changing to adapt to the player’s needs. We feel that it is our responsibility to provide each player a valuable hockey experience. A program with experienced, knowledgeable coaches who respect the willingness to win, while understanding the importance and impact of long term development.

Our program is based off of a greater practice to game ratio rooted in continuous repetition of fundamental hockey skills, providing each player individual instruction to reach their goals within the season. All while providing an exciting, beneficial program that players can be excited to be a part of and parents can be proud to send their son or daughter to.

JHD Spring Hockey can be summarized in 2 words: Player Development.

This year’s spring season has just wrapped up for all of our Jets Hockey Development players, with 11 teams and 2 skill development programs. Here`s a little highlight of how the last few months went:

Practice

Teams excelled in a total of 18 training sessions, some of which were exhibition games, where they worked on individual skills including; skating, puck handling, passing and
shooting. Players were introduced to team concepts based on the age and level they played at. We were more than thrilled at the receptiveness of players to the teaching that was provided, which was echoed in the exhibition and tournament games.

1v1

Off-Ice Training

All 8 off-ice training sessions were held in our very own Focus Fitness. Players were introduced to how to make off-ice training a part of their regular routine. Players used the gym space for age appropriate workouts, improving their strength and flexibility.

Tournaments

All teams attended 2 tournaments this spring where they were able to put everything together. As some may have noticed with a varying display of results within our teams, it is often difficult to predict the level of teams in which you will come up against. Regardless of competition level, all teams showed their relentlessness through working hard, having fun and implementing the skills that were being taught in practice. We saw a huge improvement in the skill level of all the players, from week 1 to the end of the season.

Skills Groups

The two skills groups did an amazing job this spring in working to improve in skill specific practice session.  Many of these players unfortunately signed up late when rosters for teams were filled, but decided that dedicating their time in spring to work on their individual skills was going to be a huge benefit to their development.

skatingLooking Forward – Spring 2017

Looking forward to the 2017 spring program, we’re excited to have players return and work on developing their game.

We’d like all parents to keep an eye out for our evaluation skates, which will commence around the end of September. These evaluation skates are vital in helping your players secure a spot on one of our spring teams.

In order to make our program better, we will be offering a more consistent training schedule, be in close contact with potential tournaments to find appropriate level tournaments and our professional coaches will be leading all of our on and off-ice sessions.

Come join our Head Coaches Dave Cameron, Lee Stubbs, Nate Hatton and Dean Court for another great spring.

Teams for 2017
2004 Future Jets & Jr Moose
2005  Future Jets & Jr Moose
2006 Future Jets & Jr Moose
2007 Future Jets & Jr Moose
2008 Future Jets & Jr Moose
Skills Groups
2004-2006
2007-2008

“I can’t believe how much better my son got in a 7-week time span.” – Parent from 06’-08’ group

“This is our sons 3rd Spring at the Iceplex and has been by far the best development camp in my opinion.”- Parent from Moose Team

“The coaches were great and supportive to the children and their progression.” – Parent from Future Jets Team

“The on ice practices have been second to none and we really see a difference in our son.” –  Parent from Moose Program

13 Things To Make You More Awesome!

1. Be good at the things that require no talent. Be on time, be ready, work hard, be engaged in what your are doing. Everyone has the ability to do these things, few people choose to do them well.

2. Pick up heavy things (properly) and walk around with them. Everyone always wants to be stronger. This will help.

3. Do mobility work. I have never met anyone that is too strong, but I have met people who are strong and move poorly. You want both strength and movement.

4. Assuming you have two legs that work you should squat more weight than you bench.

5. Everyone has titles in life that they are given such as father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend. Although a lot of these titles are automatic it is important that you earn these titles. Be good at being these things. Your life is bigger than just you, it’s also the people around you. There is nothing more important than fulfilling these roles to the best of your ability.

6. Finding yourself is stupid. You are exactly where you are all the time because you put yourself there. If you want to be something or somewhere different change it. Finding yourself makes it sound like you are floating around hoping to find something by accident. Don’t hope to find anything, create it. Take responsibility for your life and create it.

7. Get better. Every single day.

8. Never think you know everything. The exact moment in time when you think you know everything is the exact same moment that you stop getting better. (refer to #7)

9. Pull more than you push.

10. Be honest with yourself. I have seen many people sabotage their own progress because they are simply not honest with themselves. Everyone knows the guy who says he benches 300 lbs. but when you watch him he stops the bar 6 inches from his chest. More like elbow bends then bench press. Don’t be this guy. The funny thing is the respect and admiration that this guy so desperately seeks becomes less of a reality the more he lies to himself. People do not respect that. Do weight that you can do and do it right. You will progress much faster this way and people will respect you more. Be honest.

11. Use thick bars or thick grips whenever you can

12. Read. Make time every day. Read things that genuinely interest and inspire you.

13. Hustle

 

Why It’s Important To Focus On Mobility

Many people overlook the importance of mobility in training regimes. Mobility can be defined as the ability to move a limb actively through its full range of motion in a controlled and stable manner. To clarify, there is a difference between flexibility and mobility.  Flexibility is the ability of a muscle (or group of muscles) to passively lengthen through a range of motion. Stretching works on lengthening and shortening tight muscles to help to improve flexibility, while mobility goes much deeper than muscle tightness.  Mobility addresses all elements that may limit movement and performance such as soft tissue restriction, range of motion dysfunction, and joint capsule restriction to name a few.

Joint mobility Jasexercises are beneficial for increasing range of motion and restoring lost movement patterns, but the benefits exceed that. They can help to prevent injuries before they arise.  Don’t get me wrong: raw strength, speed, and power are all extremely crucial, but equally so is the ability to move your joints through their full range of motion, especially for athletes. Joint mobility should be considered as general maintenance for your body. Just as your car needs oiling and tires need pumping, our bodies have similar needs. Strength development suffers without proper joint mobility. If you have reduced joint mobility, performing quality deadlifts, squats, presses etc. is going to become difficult. Inadequate mobility also significantly increases your risk of injury because if one joint does not move well, there’s going to be compensation from somewhere else.  This can lead to a loss of power, strength, or range of motion and increase ones risk of injury.

Jas2

Myself, and Austen Brassard of the Manitoba Moose performing the “Couch Stretch”.

Power output and speed can be compromised with reduced joint mobility. When shooting an arrow, the farther you pull the string back, the more tension there is, and the farther the arrow shoots. This analogy can be applied to your joints.  For example, while squatting, greater joint mobility at the hips and ankles will allow you to get lower and in turn will allow you to generate more tension and greater power.

You can use mobility exercises as a warm up, an active recovery between sets, or as a workout on its own. Joint mobility exercises can be prescribed as methods of rehabilitation, pre-habilitation, and as a means of athletic enhancement.

One mobility exercise that I would highly recommend is the “Couch Stretch”. You’ll see athletes, and everyday people, using this exercise to increase their mobility. The best part about this is that it can be performed at the gym, or even in the comfort of your own home (see photos).

People generally disregard the mobility portion of the workout without realizing its benefits to their overall well-being.  Properly learned and maintained joint mobility can restore complete freedom of motion to your many joints.

-Jasmine, Trainer at Focus Fitness

Myths About Strength Training in Hockey

Each and every year strength training becomes more and more popular with hockey players of all ages. Along with its popularity come many misconceptions, myths and misunderstandings of how to train properly and what are realistic expectations of what an athlete can achieve from their training. Here are two of the popular myths regarding strength training and hockey.

Myth #1-My child is too young to train and it will ruin their growth potential

Truth-There is no magic age as to when someone can start training. If you were to wait until you completely stopped growing and all your bones were developed you could be waiting until your early twenties. Each athlete has an age and what we call a training age. The training age is how many years that they have been involved with a good strength and conditioning program. The training age is the one that really dictates what can be done in the gym. For example if we have an athlete who is 16 years old who we have been working with for the last two years and they have demonstrated that they are efficient at moving their own body then we will put them under load while lifting. If another athlete who is 18 years old comes in and has never been a gym before we won’t put them under load just because they are older. They first have to learn the principles of strength training which is being efficient and effective at moving your own body.

Myth #2- My child has to play hockey year round or they will fall behind

Truth- We work with many professional hockey players and I can tell you that the best players are also the best all around athletes. This is not a coincidence. Nowadays often at a young age people want their kids to specialize in sports. This stunts the child’s athletic growth and ends up having the adverse effect of what they were originally wanting to accomplish in the first place, being a better hockey player. There are prime developmental  years in the early teens where kids are at a prime position to develop athletic attributes such as reaction time, hand eye co-ordination, and proprioception  (the awareness of one’s own body in space). The best ways for kids to develop these are to play a variety of different sports or to train. Almost every sport that a kid will play in summer, baseball, soccer, tennis etc. provide tons of opportunity to work on hand eye co-ordination, changes of direction and so on. A great training program will accomplish the same thing.

All That You Have

Certain things in your life can be taken away from you. Others rely on other people or depend on outside circumstances. When you have been around for awhile in the world of sports and in life you begin to realize that all that you have at the end of the day is your effort. I played football and many other sports for years, basketball, rugby, bodybuilding, marathons, strong man to name a few. I was very fortunate to win and win a lot. Not just in sports but in life, I have a career that I love, great family and friends, I have a beautiful wife and two amazing healthy kids. Yes not sports related but still all big wins in my book. But in with those wins there have been loses both on and off the field. I’ve lost big games, I’ve failed in achieving goals, lost relationships, not gotten jobs, missed opportunities and more. But out of all of it I have always had one thing, my hard work, my effort. That’s all you can control. The one single factor that you can always control at all times is your effort.  Win or lose, rain or shine it cannot be taken from you. It is always there. Your effort is who you are, it is your foundation. After all what good is a belief system that is not backed by the effort to carry it out. It’s just talk and no walk. If I have learned anything in my life to this point it is that you cannot pick and choose when to work hard and when to mail it in. You either work hard or you don’t. That’s it. I know because I have made the mistake. It is simple when my effort wasn’t high the result wasn’t great. When the result wasn’t great it spread to other aspects of my life and had a negative effect. In the words of the great Vince Lombardi, “Winning is a habit, unfortunately so is losing.” Does effort guarantee victory? Of course not. But it gives you an opportunity and it ensures the quality of your being. Do not make excuses why you can’t, instead find a reason to get it done. Work hard, put forth the effort in everything you do. In a time when people find a million different ways to try and define themselves it’s the only definition of yourself that really matters. Put the effort in to work hard, to be a good person. At the end of the day it’s what you hang your hat on. It’s all that you have.

Strength: It’s yours for the taking

“You can never be too strong.” That is a phrase I’ve probably said over a million times. I like to think I made it up, but I probably didn’t. Either way it’s something I believe in with all my heart. Strength is the foundation for everything. It is the foundation that all other athletic attributes are built upon. Speed, power, quickness, balance, that highly sought after “first step” and even conditioning all rely on strength as the engine that makes them go. You want to increase any of those areas? It’s an easy answer, son. You have to get stronger! You want to get rid of fat, gain muscle, change body composition? Guess what? If your answer just now was get stronger congratulations you’re a quick learner, if you answered something else you’re maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you currently train somewhere or with someone who says otherwise, they are lying to you, or even worse they don’t know any better. Strength is King. Period.

Now that we have established that strength is paramount let me tell you the best parts about it.

What it is?
I’m sure there are many different definitions and ideas out there but, my own personal definition is: Strength comes from the human will to survive and succeed. You don’t think there is survival in the gym? Put down the thigh master, step under a bar with over 400lbs loaded on it and squat it. Don’t think there is survival in sport? Then you have never played a real sport, so take off your touch ball (I don’t dare call it football) jersey and strap on a helmet and shoulder pads, or lace up a pair of skates. Play five minutes and tell me survival does not exist.
Developing strength not only enables you to survive, it gives you the ability to conquer. You see, the benefits of developing strength are twofold. It increases both your physical and mental capabilities. Once you have become strong enough to survive then you start to believe that you can succeed. And once you believe you can succeed, you can conquer.

How you get it? 
You can only get stronger through hard work. There are no short cuts, no quick fixes, and no easy way outs. You have to have the courage to show up every day and be willing to learn and ready to work. In today’s society everyone wants things to just happen for them, and fast. There is a sense of entitlement that exists with younger generations that blows my mind. But I don’t care how much money your daddy makes, that bar is not coming off the floor until you have put the work in to move it. It is the ultimate lesson that a lot of people need to learn.

Who it’s there for?
Perhaps the greatest thing about strength is that it exists for everyone. It is accessible to anyone with the courage to seek it. It doesn’t matter if you are short, tall, fat, skinny or of any gender, race, or socio-economic background. You can get stronger. If you are willing to put the time and effort in you will survive, succeed, and conquer. Is everyone going to be the world’s strongest man, or a pro athlete, or Arnold? No, not at all. If you think that’s what this is about then you are missing the point. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself. Mentally and physically developing and building confidence to help you succeed in your endeavors.
Remember, strength is out there, and it’s yours for the taking.