BLOG

A Common Myth About Improving

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
I regularly ask my students a specific question when they are training with CES, and I get the same answers over and over again: Question: How does one get better? Answers from students: A. Practice. Practice. Practice. B. Work harder. C. Do more camps/clinics. These are all good answers on the surface, and most people would say these answers are correct when talking about how one improves, but I am here to tell you there is a much better answer on how one improves and improves at a faster pace. I believe it was John Wooden who once said, “If you don’t consciously make good habits, then you are unconsciously making bad ones.” The key to improving is making corrections! Too many athletes, parents, coaches, or weekend warriors, think that in order for one to improve they have to do more hours of practice repeating the same routine or drills over and over again. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again will get you the SAME result. If you want to improve, then you must change your habits. Hockey players often have poor body awareness when it comes to skating skills. Therefore in order for them to change their poor habits such as poor leg extension, weak posture, or inefficient foot recovery,  they must understand and be aware of what they are doing incorrectly in the first place. In the book Body Mind Mastery, Dan Millman points out that beginner students will most likely have a

The Great Ones Fail

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Henry Ford once said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”   I couldn’t agree more!   As a follow up to my first blog which discussed the importance of making corrections in order to improve,  I can’t stress how important it is for people to be exposed to challenges that make them fail.   We all know the common example of how we learn to walk.   If babies were to quit after their first fall when trying to learn how to walk then we would all still be crawling around!    Every day I tell players that we must work on skating drills or exercises that we don’t know how to do…. This is how we GROW!!    Unfortunately it is becoming more common to see players get frustrated when challenged,  or older players such as high school age, avoid or quit my lessons because I challenge them or expose their weaknesses.    I have been exposed to so many players who crumble through adversity or challenges just in the past year.    How is one going to increase their performance, or get to the next level if they continue to do the same things over and over again or if they think they have mastered everything?     In Tony Dungy’s book,  The Mentor Leader,  Tony points out a statement from Chuck Noll which says, “Every player loves to work on his strengths, but only the great ones work on their weaknesses.”    This statement reminds me of how David Booth,  player of the

Recovery Nutrition and The Chocolate Milk Debate

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Nutrition
Recovery Nutrition and The Chocolate Milk Debate Lisa M. Lutchka, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS Eat Move Win, LlC        Athletes know that optimal nutrition is crucial to recovery and to maintaining a high level of performance throughout a season.  But what, exactly, constitutes recovery nutrition?  And, is the hype over chocolate milk, or any other sports drink on the market, truly warranted?            First, a few basics.  Generally speaking, recovery nutrition is a snack, drink or small meal that provides both carbohydrate and protein, and includes rehydration strategies as well.  It functions to refuel and repair muscles.  It should also function to support overall health, thus helping the athlete to avoid fatigue, illness and infections over the course of a long season, and prevent chronic disease over a lifetime.  For a recreational athlete trying to lose weight, only use recovery eating after a fairly long and intense workouts, and consider reducing the overall amount of carbohydrate.  In this case, it is critical that nutrients come from high quality sources, since total daily calorie intake is often limited.            So, how much carbohydrate and protein?  Typical recommendations for athletes are based on body weight.  Approximately 1-1.2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight is recommended.  Then, add protein… approximately ¼ to ½ of the amount of carbohydrate, i.e., a 4:1 to 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein.  Another critical variable is timing.  Drinking or eating the recovery meal should occur within 30 minutes after exercise.  In fact, by waiting to

Off Ice Conditioning with an On Ice Approach

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Off-Ice Conditioning with an On-Ice approach Jim McKee, MS, CSCS, SPS Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for CES                  Developing better ice-hockey players requires improving many different areas of the athletes’ abilities. Some of these include strength, power, balance, core strength, reactive ability, mechanics and conditioning. All of these can be improved with a wide variety of off-ice training methods. While conditioning and mechanics are two completely different concepts, they are co-dependent of each other and need to co-exist correctly for optimal performance.  First, let’s try to define and understand the two.                  Conditioning, in the case of a hockey player, is training or a way of measuring how well the athlete is able to produce energy, metabolize lactate build-up, recover between shifts and how long he can exert an “all out” effort, known as the anaerobic capacity. This is typically addressed or tested with multiple sprinting type drills performed on or off the ice.                  Mechanics development observes and trains how efficient the athlete performs the movements within the sport. For ice-hockey players this entails stride efficiency, posture, foot recovery, leg extension and edge work to name a few. Improving a hockey player’s mechanics is best done with specialized drills that start slow and gradually build up in speed as along as the athlete is able to maintain perfect technique. From a physiological stand point, the athlete is learning new motor patterns. This is the process of re-training the central nervous system (CNS) to fire muscle groups in sequences

“Show Me the Money!” and have more Friends?

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
My Pastor recently gave a sermon which was titled, “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.”   No offense to my inner circle, but this statement makes me think about how great it would be if a few of my friends were  Stephen Covey, John Maxell, and Napoleon Hill  (just to name a few).    Those who know me often tell me that I am a very intense and driven person, and I should learn to relax.   I understand that people need balance in life to be healthy and it is different type of balance for every person.  I feel very fortunate that I have a career where personal growth and positive results are the direct results of my intensity and drive.  My definition of relaxation would probably exhaust most people. Over the years many studies have supported that athletes and their brains are wired differently than the “general population” and “we” are happiest when we achieve more.   If our personalities and drive are part of the reasons we succeed in reaching more goals, it is because we are happiest with knowing our purpose and our intensity becomes a gift to getting things done. We need to be careful not to listen to critical comments that make us question our gifts.  We should not conform or change to the less busy nature of others which will only water down the talents that make us more creative, more able to multi-task and be more productive. I know that I

Boosting Your Confidence and Your Game

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Larry Lauer, Ph D, CC-AASP Championship Performance Consulting Michigan State University  The difference between winning and losing is so small. The Red Wings-Sharks series this year is a perfect example. The Sharks won in 7 games, but Detroit lost on several deflected pucks in overtime. Very easily those pucks aren’t deflected or go directly into Jimmy Howard’s pads. How much Detroit really could have done to better the luck is debatable, but clearly they had a great chance to win the series.  While a team does not control the bounces, a factor that is controllable and absolutely essential to winning and good performances is confidence. Do not take my word for it, though, you hear and read about confidence as a necessary quality for success by professional players all the time.  Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks talked about the reasons for his excellent play in the 2011 playoffs  “I built the confidence up. Whoever I’m with on the ice, I feel confident. Last year and this year with the success, definitely helps the confidence.” (May 16, 2011; ASAP sports)  Confidence is necessary to win at the highest levels of hockey, and really at all competitive levels. The way you think makes all the difference in winning and losing. We all know this, but only some players actually discipline themselves to think positively and productively in pressure situations. The majority of players on the other hand place limits on themselves. They doubt their abilities, skills, and chances of being

Preparing Kids for Long Term Success

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Preparing Kids for Long Term Success Jim McKee, MS, CSCS, SPS Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for CES “The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” –from Outliers: The Story of Success by Macolm Gladwell                  In today’s ultra competitive sports world, this statement couldn’t be more true. As more and more young children strive to fulfill dreams of college scholarships, getting drafted and having a shot at their respective “big show”, performance training has gradually become a very regular part of the standard preparation. In some sports this training may begin as young as 5 years old. At Competitive Edge Skating, Inc. (CES) we have had hockey players as young as 9 years old begin off-ice programs. What was once believed to be unsafe and unnecessary for many young athletes is slowly becoming the norm. Simply put, athletes are starting much earlier and are getting opportunities because of it.                  With this mind, it is important to approach any performance training with a long term oriented goal. As many people whom I’ve met, trained or have read some of my past newsletters already know, I am a firm believer in training SMARTER before we train harder. This holds especially true in the case of youth athletes, in which they will be training or starting to train through different developmental stages. It is at these stages where the emphasis needs

Dare To Be Great

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Dare To Be Great:   Have Pride, Passion and Purpose By: Andrew Cmoluch, long time Competitive Edge Skating student              Andrew Cmoluch is a long time student of Competitive Edge Skating, who currently attends Lawrence University in Wisconsin.  He will be playing hockey for his University and is constantly striving towards excellence in his academics.   Andrew amazes me with his hard work,  focus and determination to always wanting more for himself and others around him.    Thank you to Andrew for his perspective regarding hockey, life and daring us to be great in this blog post!  I hope you enjoy reading it as much I did!             Passion, Pride and Purpose. Three words that every athlete tries to live by and every program wants to represent themselves with. At the end of the day, no one can achieve success without fully understanding what these words mean and what their actions convey.              Passion, a strong and barely controllable emotion, is the pillar of the three words.  Without passion the other two words do not exist. Many players think, “Yes I love hockey” but is this truly enough?  In fact, the “love” of the game only skims the surface of the passion needed. Passion is wanting to protect your teammates, to support them and to help guide them. Passion is wanting to excel each and every day on the ice, in the classroom and in your relationships with others. I firmly believe that relationships with your teammates, family and friends is the difference between teams and teams that

Smart Sayings to Stop Stalling

Posted on August 20, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Smart Sayings to Stop Stalling By: Jennifer Matras, CES Owner, Head Skating Instructor                 I friend of mine used to say, “Can’t means: you don’t want too.”  I completely agree! Many of my students have heard me over the years use this phrase especially when they would say to me “I can’t do it”.                Recently during a very difficult spin class I was motivated by my instructor’s phrase: “The mind moves the body”. It was the last half of the class and we were being brutally pushed by this instructor and he just kept saying “the mind moves the body”. Though my legs were yelling back at me to STOP! I focused in my mind to just “push and pull” the pedals, over and over again. And I finished! I was thrilled! And it made me realize:  everything we want to accomplish, we have to put our mind into it first and repeatedly convince ourselves that we can do it while we push to finish.             Soon I began to eliminate the word “try” out of my training vocabulary.   Many of the players who participated in our 2011 Summer Training program constantly heard me tell them to “not try – just go do it”.   The amazing part was they really began to believe my insistence of not using the word try.   I asked them to think about all the situations in their life when they told someone they would “try” – whether it was doing well on a test,
True Plyometric Training: The importance of landing skills Jim McKee, MS, CSCS, SPS Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for CES           Plyometric training has become an extremely popular method for developing athletic performance.  For those unfamiliar, plyometric training typically uses jumping drills to promote increases in lower body power output. In nearly all sports, the athlete with a higher power capacity is likely to outperform opponents and teammates with lower ones. It is easy to comprehend why plyometrics have achieved mass appeal for many athletes and coaches. Mass appeal will often lead to mass production. As with any product, mass quantities typically yield less quality. In the case of plyometrics, this mass appeal has resulted in a lack of good knowledge, proper coaching and has become one of the most misunderstood training methods in use today.           One of the most important, but often overlooked components of plyometrics is proper landing mechanics. Before any athlete can jump high, change directions, run fast, or skate hard he has to absorb MORE than his own body weight quickly and efficiently. The ability to absorb force takes advantage of natural mechanisms that exist within the muscles, tendons and nervous system. The more force an athlete can EFFECTIVELY absorb, the more force she can produce. That being said, it is essential that all athletes using plyometrics master landing skills first.          Being that ice hockey and figure skating both demand high power outputs, plyometric training and landing skills can be very beneficial. Before starting the