Double Tennis Ball Torture Device For Hockey Training

Happy Monday!  Gonna start your week with a new torture tool that you can use for your off-ice hockey training.  Not a very nice way to start the week is it?

Hope you had a great weekend!  A bunch of the athletes I see on Fridays at the gym were away this week, so I juggled a couple others to Thursday so Paul and I could sneak up to Collingwood for a couple days of skiing.  It was awesome!  On Friday morning I ran a live Q&A with the 28-Day Goalie Transformation group and then hit the slopes for a few hours.  The skiing was great – we are not typically on the snow this early in the season.

Then in the afternoon, back to work for a few hours writing articles, editing videos and designing programs.  It was a great day!  It was so good that I thought Saturday was SUNDAY – did you catch that on the email I sent out?  So Sunday was like a BONUS day for me.  And what did I do with that bonus day?  Yep, went skiing!

Double Tennis Ball Torture Device For Hockey Training

So, remember a few years ago – like four or five, when we were really good friends?  And then I introduced you to ‘foam rolling’ and then you weren’t so sure you wanted to be friends?

But then you felt better with the foam rolling and all was forgiven…and then I made your roll a lacrosse ball on your glutes?  Well, here is another one that will put us on shaky ground.  Would it help if I tell you that it hurts me more than it hurts you?  Didn’t think so, but I am going to show you anyway.

I was introduced to it many years ago by one of my clients when he played for the Anaheim Ducks (it was so long ago, I think they were still ‘Mighty’ Ducks) – so he must have learned it from strength and conditioning coach Sean Skahan who you might remember from THIS interview.

I do not know where Sean picked it up, my point is, I did not invent this idea, I am just passing it along to you.

The magical torture tool is the….double tennis ball.  At one of the strength and conditioning conferences I attended during the summer I saw lots of pre-made self-myofascial release tools that resembled the double tennis ball, but cost about $30.  This one will cost you half a roll of hockey tape and a few minutes hunting around the garage for two tennis balls.

Here’s how to make it and what to do with it…

If you cannot see the video in the player above, no worries, just click this link:

We use it the most for thoracic spine mobility.  Remember the goal with this is to get a little bit of movement at each segment, so your movements will be small and steady.

If you have ever had your spine mobilized by a physio, you know they don’t get in there are start smashing at it.  They use more of a steady rocking-type of pressure.  You are not trying to make it hurt, although it may feel a little uncomfortable.

When you mobilize the thoracic spine keep your lower back stationary, so don’t let your lower back extend as you are trying to go into thoracic spine extension.  The idea is to get more movement in the thoracic spine without over mobilizing the lumbar spine.

How many?

We typically start with one set of 2×5 extensions and rotations.  By that I mean we go to a segment and do 5 extension, staying on that same spot we do 5 rotations each way.  Then move the ball to a segment above or below and repeat 5 extensions and 5 rotations.

Then we build to 2×10.  Start easy, go slow, do not force the movement.  If this is more than a little uncomfortable to you, then start with the towel roll like I showed you in this video.

Happy training!