Jack Blatherwick

U.S. women bring home another gold medal

Team USA proves that creative offense and solid defense are not mutually exclusive

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

The U.S. Women’s National Team has now won seven of the last nine IIHF Women’s World Championships, so one might think it’s easy to predict the winner. You’d be wrong. Canada won the first eight championships once the tournament began in 1990; and in the Olympics, after USA won the first gold medal in 1998, Canada won the next four.

Read more: U.S. women bring home another gold medal

By itself, weight training is inadequate

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

It is common for high school and college hockey players to refer to off-ice workouts in this way: “I am going to lift all summer.” But this neglects the best way to improve skating: the COMBINATION of strength training with sprints, jumps and on-ice reps.

Read more: By itself, weight training is inadequate

Fundamentals of offseason skating improvement

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Quick strides: Nothing compares to short off-ice sprints with adequate rest. Accelerate as fast as you can for 10-15 yards; walk quickly back to the starting line as you recover. Practice efficient application of force (it transfers to skating) by leaning forward, keeping your body in a straight line (don’t bend at the waist into pike position). This ensures that force passes through your center of mass. Pulling a sled attached to the shoulders helps you experience greater lean.

Read more: Fundamentals of offseason skating improvement

Sprints and jumps

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

The math is simple and compelling: Strong relationships exist comparing vertical jump or short off-ice sprints to skating speed, acceleration and cornering agility (correlations are: 0.5 < r < 0.9). We’ve found these relationships on every team tested in 40 years – more than 100 teams at every age from PeeWees to high school, juniors, college, Olympic and NHL teams.

Read more: Sprints and jumps

What comes first, fun or goals?

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

A month or two ago, as the Minnesota Wild labored through a mid-season slump, every reporter was saying, “The Wild need to trade for some goal scorers.” However, they already had plenty of goal scorers, several who have scored in playoff games, just not many who get 40-50 during the regular season.

Read more: What comes first, fun or goals?