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July 28, 2015

What Players Wish Their Coaches Knew – New Guest Post on The Coaches Site

After interviewing a number of players that we train in the summer, I wrote an article for the Coaches Site on all the things that players wish their coaches knew…

Right here

July 13, 2015

Quick Wins or Big Wins – A New Way of Looking at Your Development

Are you looking for big wins or quick wins? By wins, I mean improvements, or results due to a course of action. What do I mean by big or quick? I always talk about getting better at a faster rate than the next guy. So you might think I’m a proponent of “quick” wins. But I’m not. I think that massive improvement comes from string upon string of Big Wins, not short-lived quick wins.
I was introduced to this concept by Ramit Sethi of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich”. On his blog about personal finance, he encourages people to focus on Big Wins like:
  • Getting started saving, even if it’s a very small amount
  • Improve your credit score
  • Automating your finances
  • Choosing boring, time tested, low cost index funds
On the other hand, many other personal finance “gurus” recommend things like reducing your spending on lattes and making restrictive budgets. Ramit contends that these actions might be quick wins, but don’t actually contribute to much – and they’re hard to do. Improving your credit score (big win) can save you thousands over your lifetime and is easy to do – meanwhile tracking every penny you spend in a restrictive budget is mentally demanding and won’t last long.
This is similar to taking an 80/20 approach to getting results: find the most important things to do that give you the biggest results – focus your effort and attention there.
Coaches, parents, and players, with the best intentions of improving as fast as they can, make short sighted decisions –  quick wins. Examples of quick wins include:
  • Playing a short bench early in the season as a coach
  • Starting plyometric and olympic lifting before an athlete has basic movement skills mastered
  • Getting the best latest piece of equipment or gimmick rather than working on the foundations of skill
  • Early specialization in sports
It seems that the tendency to choose quick wins occurs because they seem sexier (no one thinks the basics are sexy) and because they often give the appearance of immediate results (and people just aren’t patient enough to wait for results to materialize in their own time).
On the other hand, big wins:
  • Do not always provide immediate improvements, but always lead to massive improvement on a slightly longer timeline. Overall, they lead to a faster improvement if you choose to look at a larger time scale.
  • Focus on the most important variables that contribute to disproportionate results. In the end, focusing on more attention on less variables leads to a larger and faster improvement.

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July 7, 2015

Get a Faster First Step, Faster

Would a faster first step, acceleration and top speed help your game? Of course it will! How are you going to do that? Train more? Lift more? Sprint more?
More is more? No. Not always.
I’ve written time and time again that the thesis of “working harder” and “doing more” is an old and obsolete one. To improve in the old days, since no one trained using weights, if you simply trained using weights, you’d probably get ahead. Nowadays, everyone is lifting weights, running, doing WODs and snorting pre-workout to get ahead. As a trainer, if I’m not finding, distilling and instructing my athletes with the most carefully curated information, I’m wasting your money and worst of all, your time.
When it comes to improving skating speed, it’s wildly tempting to try the following things:
  • Sprint
  • Hill sprints
  • Plyometrics
  • Lifting Weights
  • Olympic Lifting
  • Powerlifting
  • AMRAP Powercleans (or equally ridiculous physical challenge)
  • Agility Ladders

But if we’re serious about getting you a faster step, faster, then we need to RESPECT THE PROGRESSIONS FOR SKATING SPEED DEVELOPMENT. Respecting the progressions will speed your development more than going for “quick wins”, “doing more”, and “doing what everyone else is doing”.