July 4, 2018

How To Smash Your Performance Ceiling In Hockey

Imagine that you have a different view of skating. Now you see movements of elite NHL skaters and have names for those mechanics. You identify them and you know the advantage they provide.

This view of skating changes your performance ceiling. When I slammed up against my performance ceiling, I blamed myself for:

  • Not working hard enough
  • Not being talented enough
  • Just not having it

Once I started to see the Mechanics of the Elite Skaters and their advantage – I couldn’t unsee them. You’ll experience this too. It’s surreal to see something no one else sees.

Back to the mechanics and their advantage. What is it?

Mechanical Advantage = Force Output/Force Input

In other words: Your mechanical advantage is the amount of speed you generate relative to the amount of force you create with your muscles.

Magic Mechanics = Skating Speed/Force by muscles

While most strength coaches are improving their athletes force by muscles, who is improving their mechanical advantage?

Many top performing players are at a plateau in performance because they’ve maximized their force by muscles (what trainers call strength and power) – but haven’t maximized their mechanical advantage. I call this the Strength Problem.

Mechanical advantage is the answer to smashing your performance ceiling.

When both your mechanical advantage and your off-ice strength and conditioning attributes are maximized – then you’ve reached your potential. But most players do not even come close to maximizing their mechanical advantage. They’re stuck maximizing their off-ice attributes. And don’t even look at improve their mechanical advantage.

But what about Power Skating?

Power skating coaches hold players back. Their techniques “look right”. But many work directly against creating a mechanical advantage. Arm swing. Push with your legs. Knee bend. When taken out of context, as Power Skating Coaches do, these reduce your Mechanical Advantage.

When I imagine how Power Skating Techniques were “invented”, I imagine a committee of dull looking people sitting in a room, brainstorming: how can we make each skater look and skate exactly the opposite of every great NHLer? You’ll begin to wonder if this is true when you start seeing what’s down the Downhill Skating rabbit hole. What you’ll learn will astound you.

The first step of the Downhill Skating System is to change what you see.

I want you to see what I see. To look at McDavid, and know exactly what is happening with each movement. To watch Barzal, and see every edge. To truly understand Dahlin.

The second step is to change what you do. I’d love to see you skating Downhill. Because it’s more fun. It’s more effortless. And you have more control – of everything.

Soon, like me, you’ll see players working too hard. Pushing too much. Way below their potential.

The key is to improve your Mechanical Advantage.

When you work to change your mechanical advantage instead of the amount of muscle force you produce (remember that muscle force is still important), a couple things happen:

  • You get more work done with the same amount of effort
  • You get the same amount of work done with less effort

This means that you “Have an extra gear.” Ever see McDavid turn it on at the end of a game? That’s what I mean.

When you get the same amount of work done with less effort, you are efficient because you conserve energy. You conserve muscular energy. And you conserve mental energy.

The mental energy comes from not having to actively contract muscles. Your brain exerts mental energy every time you contract your muscles. Downhill Skating and the Mechanical Advantage it provides moves you towards more passive contractions and less active contractions.

When you conserve mental energy, you have more of it to scan your environment and make decisions. If that sounds like hockey sense, that’s because it is.

There’s a mathematical equation that represents your performance ceiling. I believe that most players are nowhere near their potential. And if players are open to this new way of seeing, thinking, and…skating…imagine the jump they’ll have on their competition.

If you’d like to improve your mechanical advantage with the Magic Mechanics of Downhill Skating, you might want to take the Downhill Skating Style Quiz. Downhill Skating Style Quiz to see where your biggest opportunity is. And if you’d like to learn about the Downhill Skating System, you can do that here.

Thanks for reading today.

-Jason

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