One pattern that has stood out to me recently is related to the idea of movement quality. The term gets thrown around a lot, but how exactly is “movement quality” exploited by expert performers? How can a skills coach teach better skills? How can a strength and conditioning coach have gym “movement quality” transfer to performance?
One answer is: teach the “proximal to distal gradient”
It’s been a while since hockey gear has gotten me excited. When I was younger, I definitely fell for some of the marketing mumbo-jumbo that many hockey companies put on their gear. With regards to hockey sticks, companies will have a “loading zone” with marked decals…or they’ll supposedly have two flex points…or they’ll make one designed for “pure power” and another designed for “quick release”. All these things are great IDEAS, but I was always curious if the IDEAS were a result of the marketing team or a team looking at how people shoot.
It seems that the team that put together this V Series for Easton has actually looked at how players shoot. They’ve innovated the reinforced toe, which I think is crucial. As mentioned on their video, most players are actually shooting off the toe, and using the flex of the BLADE to get whip and a quick release. I really notice that the best shooters on my team use their toe much more than the weaker shooters, so reinforcing the toe for its use in quick release shots is a great idea.
The other innovation that I think is great is their dual lie patterns. I know they’ve been around, and pros have been using them for a while, but I’ve been stuck with very standard blade patterns my whole life. I’ve basically been using a blade pattern that’s about 25 years old. The dual lie patterns take into account the different mechanics a player uses to stickhandle/receive passes, and to shoot. With my pattern, I’ve played around with my stick lengths to try and get one lie that work for both. It makes sense to have a blade designed with two lies. (One time I shot with a pro’s 2-lie stick and was absolutely blown away…but didn’t want to get attached to his curve because I knew I wouldn’t be able to use it)
The flex profile of the stick which causes it to flex more lower down is pretty interesting, considering that the very first Easton Synergy had a tapered profile so as to make the stick more flexible higher up (I think). Anyway, the flex profile that they’ve adopted isn’t something I really understand. I can’t really comment on it because of this.
If you do understand it and wanna let me know, comment below!