You Have An Awesome Hockey Strength & Conditioning Coach When…

You Have An Awesome Hockey Strength and Conditioning Coach When…

A week or so ago I posted an article telling you what to look for in an awesome physio for hockey players.  I got a few questions and the majority asked questions about trainers or strength and conditioning coaches, so I thought I would give you a quick checklist so you know what to look for in an awesome hockey strength and conditioning coach.

Signs you have an awesome hockey strength and conditioning coach…

They must invite you in for an assessment, consult or free trial so you can learn a little more about each other and whether there is the right fit.  You see, a great strength and conditioning coach has lots of clients, they are not desperate for business, so they are prepared to refer you somewhere else if it is not the right situation for both of you.

They do some form of assessment or movement screen and take a detailed history of any injuries you have had in the past.  Even an ankle sprain you had 4-years ago can create a lasting change to your movement patterns, your strength coach needs to identify these before adding strength and power to your ‘machine’.

They have a good network of professionals they can call on.  A great hockey strength and conditioning coach know what he/she does and does not know.  They know when it is time to refer you on to a physiotherapist, sport med doc, massage therapist, etc.

They are passionate about what they do and they are always learning – they should be talking about new books they have read about strength and conditioning or courses they attended on the weekend or conferences they have travelled to.  Once a strength and conditioning coach stops learning they have become stagnant.

They have a certification with a respected organization – this is a must.

They may or may not have a University degree.  In my opinion, there are only a few outstanding strength and conditioning coaches who never went the University route, but there are some who are self taught.  They seek out experts in the field and absorb everything they can.

They should not dress head to toe in camo unless they actually are or were in the Army.

They can answer the question “Why are we doing this exercise” for every single exercise in their program and they should be able to answer that question in plain English, so you understand why.  If a strength and conditioning coach gets mad at you for asking why or gives you an answer that you cannot understand, then start looking elsewhere.

They should be designing a periodized program which means there are different phases of your training that are strategically planned out.  They should also be able to explain these training phases to you.

They train you like a hockey player, not a body builder – you do NOT have a ‘chest day’.  You do not train on machines other than cables.  You do not do the stupid sit down groin machine J

They give you things to work on when you are not training in the gym with them.

It is good if they have a proven track record, but I also know some strength coaches who have trained lots of pro players and in my opinion their training methods are sub-par at best.  I would put more emphasis on finding a strength coach who has been able to take players from average to above average.  Players who are truly excellent are actually pretty easy to train – just don’t screw them up, it is pretty much that simple.

They must insist on quality over quantity.  I love it when I see trainers or strength coaches post video or photos online showing their star client deadlifting 525lbs with a flexed lumbar spine, protracted shoulders, terrible alignment – OUCH.  Yes, it is impressive weight, but I would way rather see perfect form with a 325lbs deadlift than this ticking time bomb of injury.

The hockey player’s health and long term development should always be the primary concern.

So there are some of the key things you will find in an awesome hockey strength and conditioning coach.  I think the most important thing is that they are always learning, trying to be better, trying to make their players better.


PS – if you need a super affordable, well designed skater specific or goalie specific off-ice training program, then a great first step is either the Hockey Workout Club or Goalie Workout Club.