Jack Blatherwick

Conditioning step 1: Ask what you’d like to maintain


By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Training without first defining the objective results in wasted time and effort. Just ask opponents of the Oregon Ducks football team. Ask anyone who played against the Soviet hockey teams in the years 1952-92. Or the 1980 U.S. Olympic team.

The top priority for those teams? SPEED that is (was) too uncomfortable for opponents to handle for an entire game.

Last weekend, the bruised and injured Ducks, whose defense couldn’t have tackled me, were mired in a battle with California at 24-17 in the second quarter. Key players were missing, and things looked bleak. However, by the end of the game it was 59-17 because the second half is where Coach Chip Kelly’s speed-oriented conditioning plan leaves opponents in the dust.

This article is exclusive to the print version of Let's Play Hockey. Pick up a free copy at your local hockey shop or ice arena, or e-mail your address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll send you a copy.