The National Strength and Conditioning Association brought together 150 high-level performance coaches from around the United States last week for a two-day symposium aimed at advancing the science of maximizing hockey players’ output. Attendees spanned the professional, NCAA and top club-level ranks. USA Hockey, which works with the NSCA to develop its age-appropriate strength and conditioning programs, was also in attendance.
One recurring theme among the experts was the importance of maximizing children’s speed training during their heightened trainability windows. Longtime Anaheim Ducks strength and conditioning coach Sean Skahan detailed it in his blog: “Boys and girls have two windows of developing speed in their maturation. For boys, the windows are ages 7-9 and 13-16. For girls, their windows are between 6-8 and 11-13. During this time, to take advantage of this opportunity, kids should be doing athletic movements as fast and hard as possible.”
Another recurring theme was the importance of carving out dedicated, focused and extended time for strength and conditioning work. It can be a game-changer for children and professionals alike, according to Mike Potenza, strength and conditioning coordinator for the San Jose Sharks, who expanded on the topic in the video below.