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April 13, 2018

Dangle By Design Part 5: The Setup

This is Part 5 of Dangle By Design. Click here to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or Part 4. I recommend that you start here at Part 1.

Decision-making is an illusion.

In talking with a former professional quarterback, he told me, “The decision has already been made for you – you just react.”

In Part 1, we discussed the idea of action vs reaction. Read that here.

So what does this mean? And how does this relate to the setup?

Here is the setup:

The first part doesn’t matter. It’s variable. Crossovers, c-cuts, shuffles, 10&2…doesn’t matter. Speed probably does matter.

The second part matters a lot. Because this is the part of the pattern that allows for dangles.

The second part of the pattern is: Cut across the defender’s body on the diagonal angle, from one side of the body to the other.

See that pattern here.

Now, this is where action vs reaction comes into play.

You make the decision (action) to go across the defender’s body on the diagonal.

Your mechanics and pattern need to be sound so that you can go left or right. You must be able to do:

  • The Crosby Curl (Crosby Flick)
  • The Kane Drag

  • Anchor Left and Right (The above two examples are an anchor to the right)
  • Soft Hip (The above two examples are a soft left hip – going from wide to narrow to step around the defender)

Then you react to the defender’s stick and body momentum. If they go too far to the left, you go right. If they go too far to the right, you go left. This is the part of the dangle that you don’t pre-plan. You simply react that what you see and feel.

This leads us to the Mindset Of The Dangler.

You may have heard me mention the power of humility, being wrong, and getting embarrassed on the podcast. This is extremely important if you’re going to take the next step to adopt the Mindset Of The Dangler.

I hypothesize that most “learned reactions” in hockey are conditioned responses. Yes, like Pavlov’s dogs and rats in a maze. That kind of conditioning.

In particular, operant conditioning.

In operant conditioning, you take some sort of action, then get a reward. If the reward is positive, you get a dopamine boost. This feels good. And this begins the wiring process in your brain.

What exactly wires? The link between the opportunity, action, and result.

The more you fire this pathway, the more it wires together. What fires together wires together.

We call these “NeuroLinks”.

Here’s where the Dangle Mindset falls apart: If you’re not willing to put yourself in a reaction situation because you don’t trust your instincts and you don’t want to fail – you can never create these conditioned responses. Your bag of flesh known as a body needs to experience many situations until it happens upon the right combination of movements that triggers the right chemical response. So you literally have to flail, in about 1000 different ways, until your body accidentally stumbles on the right combination of flailing. If you repeat that right combination enough times, you form a strong NeuroLink, and your brain pathways wire together. Then you get consistent results. A bonus is that it feels good!

Anyone who can skate can get the setup right. This is the action portion of the dangle. The Decision portion of the dangle.

Anyone can practice the mechanics. Get them perfect. That’s simple.

Anyone can read the stick momentum and the body momentum. Also simple.

But few have the balls (or lady balls) to put themselves in a reaction based situation  – where they trust their instincts and let their body learn unconsciously. Because they are afraid of looking stupid. And yet, that is the most important part of the dangle.

Don’t confuse willingness to fail with wanting to fail. Or willingness to be embarrassed with wanting to be embarrassed. No one likes those things. But some people learn to love the pain. Because they associate that pain with growth.

Frustration, anger, guilt, blame – these emotions do not work in the Dangle Mindset. Because they restrict you from trying again. From flailing and failing in new and creative ways. A desire to seek out this type of punishment and turn it into something you crave is the mindset of a Dangler. And over time, as your body creates those connections, it automatically wires the right pathways together. You just have to get out of your own way and let the learning occur naturally.

Please take into account that there is a time to practice these reactionary instincts. And a time play it safe. Off-season. Practice. Fun games. These are the times to hone your instincts.

Game 7 OT? Probably not the time. Stick to what you know your instincts are already good at.

So, to finish off the Dangle By Design Series:

  • The setup includes a variable entry pattern
  • Cut diagonally from one side of the defender’s body to the other
  • As you cut diagonally from one side of the defender to the other, be in a position (mechanically – called “Still Point”) to go left or right to that you can react to the defender’s movement
    • Master the Crosby Curl
    • Master the Kane Drag
    • Master the Anchor
    • Master the Soft Hip
  • Read the cue of stick momentum
  • Allow yourself to react to the movement of your defender. It’s too fast to pre-plan this. Let your instincts take over.
  • To develop your reactions and instincts you must be willing to fail many times until your brain wires itself together naturally
  • The only thing holding you back is your ego (humility, willingness to fail, willingness to be embarrassed)

I hope you enjoyed this series. I enjoyed writing it and learned a ton. Would love to hear from you – please tell me what you learned and what you think I overlooked. Coming up next is the Dangle by Design Course – which will be the step by step video lessons to teach you how to do this. If you’d like a sneak preview of it, make sure to sign up for the Train 2.0 Membership.

Thanks for reading,

Jason

[email protected]

 

April 13, 2018

Decoding Darryl Belfry

I was asked to decode this Twitlonger Tweet from Darryl Belfry. Read his original post with my comments alongside it.

I am presented with one of those “if I had to do it over again” situations. I’m going to share with you what some of the key pieces I’ll do different, to hopefully give you some insight that may help you with your respective teams.

This year, with my daughter’s hockey training group, I have a chance to go back in time with concentrated development time with this age group 11-13 year olds. It’s exciting because, the last time I was in this age group, we had some special special talents. However, I was a kid training kids. Which had it’s value, but I look at this situation as a chance to put in action all those lessons learned.

The following are the four cornerstone pieces, we are currently putting into place.

1. Way back when, I did edges and balance to start every session, however, it was the same set of edges and balance. This time around, we will open ever session with edges, balance and weight shift (weight shift was something we added later when we did this before – now it is front and center) and the development track will be progressive and have specific stages of proficiency I want to hit.

Progressive Development Track with specific stages of proficiency. This sounds like Belfry is going from a reps for reps sake model to a minimum requirements model. There is acceptance criteria for each stage that the players must meet. I assume a player is assigned extra work if they do not meet those requirements at the same time as their teammates.

2. Practice habits was frankly a differentiator for me years ago, I was about as demanding for effort as there was and had the benefit of strong horses to pull the group. I graded my practices by pace, ice management and work:rest ratio. This time around, the effort demand will be there but I’m excited to carve out more “true teaching” moments. Steal a page from the way I work with my private pro clients – focus on feel-based learning principles and a sharper demand for personal commitment to technical excellence.

True teaching moments? Contrasted with high effort? Does that mean that previous practices were high effort without “true teaching moments”? It sounds like Belfry’s definition of “true teaching” moments includes feel-based learning principles and more technical detail. I call feel-based learning principles “Feel Your Body Learning”. My methodology is to introduce new movements as a “Movement Experiment”, then ask players how it feels. I ask them to constantly compare movement hypotheses with their own trust in their body to see what feels better over time. In contrast, most coaches tell a player what to do, and that’s the end of the discussion. Ignoring how it feels for a player. In my experience, players who do “movement experiments” and pay attention to how they feel get “AHA!” moments as their body finds the Magic Mechanics. I wonder if this meets the criteria for a True Teaching Moment? I imagine that “sharper demand for personal commitment to technical excellence” means: Players focus on their mechanics more. And the standard is higher. He might not let sloppy mechanics slide. And perhaps he’d use that higher standard for more teaching moments.

3. In my previous time, I worked a lot in opposite situations (forecheck vs breakout, rush offense vs rush defense, point shooting vs shot blocking, etc) and leveraged the situational focus to reveal the teaching situations. This time around, I am teaching the D first in an effort to stack the technical deck in their favor. I’m going to allow the F to be creatively expressive and rely on their instincts. Why?

In the ages of 11-13, the forwards offensive skill set is generally miles ahead of the defenders technical defending skill set. The gap between encourages the F’s to believe they are better than what they really are. The D are behind in their technical ability to control space and therefore F’s are fooled by a success rate that is tilted in their favor.

In teaching the D first, I’ll raise their technical footwork, skating ability to hold defensive side position, stay square to the defender, use a purposeful stick, force turns and stops, control hips and use wedges and seals – and that’s just defending out of the corner – which is where we are now. Once I raise the D’s technical ability to defend, I’ll reduce the F’s success rate organically through translatable defensive principles. This will stack the deck in the D’s favor enough to see if the F’s can problem solve.

Once I’m comfortable with the D’s ability to control the F, then I’ll dive in and teach the F’s the translatable skill sets that they can use to grab control of the space. Then once the F’s adapt, the focus goes back on the D to raise the level again.

By focusing on the D first, we create a “leapfrog learning environment” and that is a big adjustment I want to have in place this time around.

Let’s start with the term “translatable”. Belfry uses this to describe skills that produce results regardless of the level. Some skills have a shelf life (like straight ahead speed). Others don’t (like creating space).

Ok, so translatable skills are the 80/20 skills – because once learned, they can be used all the way up. Doesn’t make much sense to learn skills that expire in a couple years, does it?

So he’s saying that he’ll teach defensemen these translatable skills first.

I think his reasoning is this: if you want to get better, you need a challenge. A challenge usually means that there is a gap between where you are, and where you want to be.

There is already a gap between forwards and defense at the 11-13 age level. I observe this as well. So the first gap to close is moving the defense closer to the forwards.

Then he creates a second gap, by moving the defense past the forwards. As this occurs, he tests the forwards ability to adapt creatively to the new demands. If the adaptation occurs organically – great! If not, he instructs the forwards how to problem solve.

Then the forwards move ahead again. I believe this skill gap closing – skill gap opening is what he refers to as a leap frog environment.

4. The last cornerstone is “competitive advantage” …. very different approach than that of building “compete level” … with the objective of creating intelligent competitors. I want that fierceness and will to win but through the competitive advantage lens.

This will be built through …. oh you didn’t think I was going to tell you everything did you!! I want to hear what you think I mean by this and how you would go about teaching it.

This type of competitiveness will supplant the current “compete level” and is a big differentiator at the world class level. Let’s build in in our kids now!

Compete level vs competitive advantage? Closest analogy would be business. A competitive advantage is a circumstance that puts a business in a better business position. So one business is actually better positioned to exploit an opportunity than others.

I think compete level refers to pure intensity.

Pure intensity runs out when players get tired.

Competitive advantage doesn’t require intensity. But when executed with intensity yields results.

Any example of this would be one of my favorite habits of “Stick on puck, hands on body.” I had a player who would run headlong into board battles, get on the wrong side of his opponent with his stick flailing, and lose every time. Once I showed him the habit of “stick on puck, hands on body” he turned his intensity into turnovers. I’d say that’s a good example of competitive advantage over compete level.

Well – those are my thoughts. My attempt at Decoding Darryl. Let me know what you think: [email protected]

April 4, 2018

How Skate Effortlessly – Forward Stride Mechanics

In this post, I explain the edge rollover for effortless striding. And we discuss how new skate boot technology allows the young stars to exploit this key mechanic for a new standard of skating.

The tough part about hockey is that it is this curvy, rotate-y, weird-y sport. Plus, the human body moves under a bunch of equipment. So you get people who haven’t studied the movement making recommendations based on surface observations.

When I say study, I mean STUDIED. Like do you know the origin and insertion of every muscle? Have you reworked your own stride? Have you put your skin in the game and published what you think works? Have you instructed thousands of players?

It’s okay to put out ideas about the stride and movement that are wrong. I do it all the time. But you need to adjust your hypothesis as evidence comes in. I do my best to do that.

I never looked at the stride part of the stride. Until now.

I posted this video on Instagram:

And my astute members pointed out toe push. By now, you know I’m the guy who talks about heel pressure and demonizes the toe push. You also know that it’s not a black or white situation in hockey. The body adapts to movement demands.

I had to dig deep into my brains to figure out how Larkin, McDavid, and MacKinnon stride forward without relying on the toe push.

The answer is the edge rollover. I talked about the edge rollover here. But I discussed it in the context of transitional skating. Since many are obsessed with the straight-ahead stride, (despite its minimal contribution to in-game performance at higher levels) I will indulge you.

Power Skating Coaches teach the stride like this:

  1. Get low
  2. Push back with your striding leg
  3. If you’re low, you get a long stride

The focus here is on the knee angle and the depth of the hips.

On the surface, it looks like Wizard skaters skate like this too. We look at a picture of McDavid, draw some lines, and BOOM! That’s our “analysis”.

If we look at another angle, we see a different picture. Let’s examine the angle between the skate boot and the ice.

If you let this angle shrink by falling forward, what happens? The support leg goes forward. The further you fall forward, the more your knee bends. The more you fall and the more your knee bends, the longer you stride.

 

With Downhill skating, you are literally just catching yourself as you fall. This is the EXACT same as POSE Method Running. One step leads to the next.

This image is thanks to posemethod.com

 

The acceleration phase of the sprinting stride sees athletes with an aggressive forward lean. Their center of mass is forward.

This image thanks to digitaltrackandfield.com

I seriously do not blame power skating coaches. The stride is tricky. It’s hard to tell what is going on under all the pads. And explaining these concepts for the first time is tricky. Let me try to summarize these new ideas here:

  • The support leg bends to support the fall.
  • The striding leg extends as the body falls forward and away from the foot.
  • The edge rolls over as the angle between boot and ice shrinks.

Skate boots are very stiff nowadays. Many of you know that I recommend undoing eyelets with the Downhill Skating system. So you probably wonder why we don’t just go back to older, less stiff skates. I wondered the same thing. But what if today’s Downhill skater was leveraging the stiffness of their boot. Literally using the stiffness to efficiently transfer energy from the leg to the ice. That makes sense when you look at these clips here.

The ankle joint acts like a pivot for an ankle lever.

My hope is that you can take this information and apply it for in-game results. If you’d like to see the program I put together for my members to learn these concepts faster, the same way I teach my players, I created the Downhill Skating System which you can check out here.

How did I do describing these new concepts? Please give me your feedback on what was clear or unclear. What you saw that I didn’t. It’s part of the process of moving the game forward. [email protected]

Thank you for reading today. It means the world to me 🙂

-Jason

 

April 4, 2018

How To Scout Millennials For Hockey

Here is how to scout millennials in hockey. Leveraging technology. And identifying value gaps identified through video research.

Take into account that I have zero expertise as a scout. So rather than consider this post as advice, let’s consider it as more of a Thought Experiment.

So let’s discuss how a scout might leverage technology to improve their scouting efficiency. My background is that I am a professional hockey player, kinesiologist, and a technology enthusiast. I’m not in the NHL, but I made it to pro. I don’t have a PhD in kinesiology, but I knew enough to graduate with honors with a Bachelors from one of the top 40 schools in the world. I can’t code or program, but I know enough about technology to run my entire business online.

On their own, my skill in each area is mediocre at best. But together, this talent stack leads me to have some unique viewpoints. They probably aren’t practical for reasons unbeknownst to me – but I’m hoping that they are entertaining at the least.

In this post we cover:

  • How To Leverage Social Media For Scouting
  • The Magic Mechanics Gap That Most Scouts Miss
  • Patterns Of The Pros

How To Leverage Social Media For Scouting

Sliding Into DM’s

DM stands for Direct Message. It’s a way of messaging users on Instagram.

The way dating works today is something like this:

  1. You see an attractive human on Instagram.
  2. You follow them.
  3. You “like” a few pictures on their profile.
  4. If they reciprocate then you…
  5. “Slide into their DM”.
  6. If all goes well, you start a conversation.
  7. Then you go on a date.
  8. Bam! Relationship. Welcome to 2018.

But this situation isn’t reserved for dating. Most modern-day networking takes place like this. You see someone’s business account, follow them, like a few pics, then slide into their DM. If the business relationship has legs, it takes off too.

The reason Instagram works so well for this (right now) is that it is free and it has eyeballs. People keep trying to invent new platforms that pull people off Instagram onto their paid platform. But Instagram keeps winning.

Why not use this exact same approach with players that you’re scouting?

This has the added benefit of evaluating them on their maturity and professionalism.

You could also leverage the hockey professionals on Instagram who coach players. By browsing hockey coaches profiles, you see who is coaching draftable players (they are usually tagged in the posts). This means that you see their @username in the caption of the picture. If you see this, you can send a DM to the coach to ask their opinion on the player. And you’d better bet coaches check their DM’s on the regular.

On that note, you’ve probably noticed that millennials suck at email. And they don’t even reply to texts. But they sure as hell answer their DM’s right now. This might be strange for you – but it’s something you can use to your advantage.

As a scout, I’m assuming that you’re older than a millennial. Maybe new to social media. So you might face a few stumbling blocks. Allow me to suggest a way of navigating them.

Having a private account with no pictures and an anonymous name isn’t going to work. It’s best to broadcast your name and team affiliation, show your human side, show your professional side, and interact with the community. The internet changes the game. Things are more transparent than ever. And networks like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn reward that transparency. Embrace it.

That leads me to mention that if a player doesn’t follow you on Instagram, your message doesn’t go directly to their DM inbox. It goes to their “Requests” inbox. So it may not show up for them right away. If they don’t get back to you, that might be why. But the nice thing about the DM is that you can see when they’ve read your message and when they haven’t. Sneaky eh?

The Virtual Scout Network

Let’s take this a step further.

If I was the head scout of an NHL, Major Junior or College Team, I’d have my team set up a hashtag. The hashtag would be something like #canucks2019draftprospect

I’d get the team to publicize this hashtag. You’d ask fans, coaches, players to use this hashtag on posts. This would curate the content into a format that you can consume quickly and easily. And the content would come to you, instead of you searching for it.

What posts might show up in this hashtag? Probably some garbage. But you might also get some hidden gems. Almost all games are recorded on video nowadays. Someone sees a great play, they’re aware of the hashtag – next thing you know it’s on your radar. If I was a player, I’d promote myself with that hashtag too.

Instagram has this feature where you can follow hashtags. So everytime someone uses that hashtag, you get a notification.

I imagine a scout going about their normal duties – but augmented by technology and social media. Notified by Instagram each time a play is identified. They are like a cyborg with supernatural reach and a finger on the pulse of the game. They’d have laser like focus on the hotspots. You could even search the locations of rinks around the world to see what posts pop up there. You know there’s talent at the Burnaby Winter Club in Burnbaby, BC. Well how good is it? How about the Mastercard Centre in Toronto? You can see it there too.

I imagine the scout would look for two things:

  • Players that show up repeatedly on this hashtag (with good plays)
  • Or extraordinary plays

No rational scout would make a recommendation based on Instagram clips alone. But they might follow the trail and notice things that they didn’t notice before. For example, they might see a whole bunch of highlight clips that involve this player. Or maybe they track down the player’s skill coach and watch some training clips.

This is the 2018 way of finding Datsyuk somewhere in Siberia. And you’d better bet that Russians love Instagram. They’re always on that thing.

The Magic Mechanics Value Gap

When you place a bet on a horse race, the odds are decided by bookkeepers. These bookkeepers give the best odds they can without going out of business.

If you want to make money at the racetrack, you need better info than the bookkeepers. If you think the odds for a horse to win are 3:1 and the bookkeepers are pricing it at 7:1, you’d better bet big on that every time. The caveat is that you need to know that the odds are 3:1. The way you know is with better information.

Better information usually comes in the form of data. But as most of you know, hockey is considered one of the most “random” sports. This means that it is most influenced by luck. And makes it hard to predict based on data analytics.

I’d like to draw your attention to overlooked data: Players’ biomechanics.

In my career as a pro, coach, and kinesiologist, I found that there is a large gap between what is considered “Proper technique” – and what NHLers actually do.

Shooting mechanics. Skating mechanics. Stickhandling mechanics. HUGE gaps between what coaches say – and what NHLers do.

If a scout evaluates mechanics based on the common advice – they’re literally evaluating players based on illusions.

If a scout looks at NHL Mechanics clearly and identifies this in a player when no one else does – it’s my hypothesis that they could outperform other scouts. That is if they think long-term, contrarian, and have the pull in their organization to take risks.

When I analyze mechanics, I separate them into two categories: Variants and Invariants. I call the invariants “Movement Principles”. The invariants never change, no matter the situation. The variants change based on the situation to allow the player to adapt. Some coaches look at the variants and mistakenly believe that they are invariants of movement. Then they preach those variant mechanics as if they are invariant. When these ideas circulate, we evaluate players based on the wrong criteria. This is trouble for some. But an opportunity for others.

If scouts see through this illusion, I believe they can identify value where others don’t.

Here are a couple gaps I commonly see.

  1. High Heel Kick. Everyone hates the high heel kick. But it’s not a problem. Watch speed skaters. Watch McDavid. The invariants to speed that I see include line of force production, heel pressure, proper arm swing, ribcage rotation, foot placement under the body (ankle flexion), and hip tilt and twist. Look for players who keep their heel on the ice while the leg extends. Their first few strides may be directed back, and as they gain speed, it goes more to the side. The heel kick is usually situation dependant. Not a determinant of speed.

Keep those heels down Connor!

2. Straight ahead speed in general. Approximately 5% of the game includes straight ahead striding. At younger levels, this proportion is different. So a player who may struggle with straight ahead speed at younger levels, may well do fine once he gets to higher levels with less straight ahead skating. What I look for instead is crossovers, single foot pushes, shuffles, hip scissor, anchors, valgus knee alignment when deking, corkscrews. These are indicators of the Magic Mechanics. These are transition tricks that allow players to change direction quickly with the puck. If you don’t see these on a player, but you see straight ahead speed, that player is likely less valuable than you think. Look for players who can create separation while on their outside edge.

Count how many straight-ahead strides you see. Take into account that MacKinnon travels from his blueline to the other team’s goal line.

3. Knock-kneed. Everyone hates valgus knee alignment. And yes, it places players at a higher risk for knee injury. But if you watch any “skilled” and “smooth skating” player, they show valgus knee alignment all over the place. At a younger age, players look skinny and weak – but as they add size, this will look more like agility. Look for players who are knock-kneed but who control the puck well.

4. Shooting Power. Shooting power usually increases with size and strength to a point. Then the differentiator is mechanics. If you’re seeing a strong player with a good shot and a weak player with a weak but quick release, they weak player will win in the end. As they gain size and strength, their technique will beat the strong player’s. Look for quick release and smooth mechanics.

Leveraging the Social Media Strategy I mentioned in the first part, you could quickly evaluate players’ mechanics on video. Save some highlight clips from @heybarber or my Instagram @train2point0 Then compare videos you see showing up on your hashtags with these highlights. I’ve asked my followers and subscribers to use the hashtags #magicmechanics and #patternsofthepros to identify these things on Instagram. When you watch, let your experienced and intuitive hockey mind takeover. If you notice similarities, you may want to pursue further.

Patterns of the Pros

One thing we discovered while researching NHL top producers is that roughly 70% of their goals from 2-4 patterns. The other 30% are fairly random. I’ll give you some examples:

I don’t have a recommendation here. I point this out because scouts might be able to interpret this information better than me.

I didn’t analyze how Kane’s scoring patterns changed from junior to the NHL. But here are some questions you might ask:

  • Is the idea of pattern recognition important? For example, if you see a player in Junior or college generate a goal scoring formula (A pattern that they use again and again to score) does that indicate they have good pattern recognition? Is that the meta-skill?
  • Do some patterns work at all levels? If yes, and a player masters it at a young age, does that mean they will continue generating results with that pattern? McDavid’s drive wide pattern works at all levels. Crosby’s Dangle Formula works at all levels. If you identify NHL patterns in youth players, you may be able to predict their success at higher levels.

10x Your Success Rate As A Scout

We know that expertise occurs when we see data, generate hypotheses, test them, and learn from our findings. Developing “experience” takes time because we need to repeat this cycle again and again.

We can also agree that the best scouts are still not right 100% of the time. One reason might be “biases”.

One way to leverage technology is to get the crowd to curate your data. And you can do that with social media. Imagine thinking that a player is a bust, but people keep mentioning them in the scouting hashtag that you use…you might look twice. And you might pick up an opportunity that you would have overlooked otherwise based on your bias. Crowdsourcing this knowledge helps with that.

Complicated AI Algorithms often used crowdsourced information to make better decisions. You can leverate this “technology” yourself.

All this talk about transparency and crowdsourcing might be uncomfortable for some of you. You might wonder why you’d want this information to be public knowledge? Why would these kids share? Why would random people put videos online? And don’t you want to keep this info secret from your competitors?

The truth is that the internet won. This information is out there whether you use it or not. Everyone has access to the same information. But the winners accept this and leverage it. They process it better because they are ahead of the game.

You might wonder if some social media guru might be able to game the system. They probably could. But if I’m a team, and I’m deciding between a kid who has 24 followers and a kid who has 24,000 followers – ceteris paribus – I want to sell tickets. So I know who I’d choose.

You probably still need to attend games in person. But imagine if you knew, based on data gathered by the crowd, and then evaluated by you, which games to go to. Imagine if you had alerts sent to your phone anytime someone in your region popped up as a prospect. What would that do for your efficiency? What would that do for your accuracy? What would that do for your team?

It’s a new era. Those that are willing to embrace and leverage it will dominate. And I look forward to the show.

-Jason

 

March 30, 2018

Dangle By Design Part 4: The Dynamic Escape

This is part 4 of the Dangle by Design Series. I suggest that you read the series sequentially, starting with Part 1, then Part 2, then Part 3.

Today we talk about Escape Mechanics.

So your entry led to a good exploit. You exploited stick momentum. Now you need to take advantage of the gap you created. Time to escape your Dangle Victim.

The Mechanics here are simple. But they do need to be patterned. For example, I have a horrible habit of pushing (with my really big strong legs) instead of leaning and gliding. The two mechanics that you see Crosby use to escape defenders are:

  1. The Soft Hip
  2. The Hip Scissor with Hidden Gas Pedal

The Soft Hip

This allows you to go from a wide base, to a narrow base as you step around your DV. You appear ghost-like. Your DV thinks you’re there – when you aren’t there.

In the Downhill Skating System, we use the Infinity Flow to work on Soft Hip Mechanics.

The Hidden Gas Pedal

I call it the hidden gas pedal because when you put your foot down – you go faster. The key is that you put the outside edge heel down. Many players do not do this –  but they do not. It’s usually an AWARENESS problem. (Sounds like this is a case for the XLR8 App…)

In the Downhill Skating System, we use a drill called the MacKinnon shuffle to teach this. We also use the Infinity Flow to ensure the weight is distributed evenly.

Sequencing and Dynamical Systems Theory

Remember the Tim Ferriss DiSS Method for accelerated learning? Dissection, Selection, Sequencing, and Stakes?

By now you probably see how I start with a base skill. And then I add skills to the start and end of the chain. This is my style of Sequencing. When I’m done this process, it will take me 20 minutes to teach this to a player instead of 2 weeks to teach myself. Right now, I’m seeing which parts form the base, and which parts form the beginning and end. So far the learning has been challenging – but not frustrating. This is a tell that I’m on the right track.

Some might wonder if this idea of sequencing is a good idea. Hockey games are random. So A isn’t always followed by B, which isn’t always followed by C. BUT A1, A2, or A3 is often followed by B. Which is followed by C1, C2, or C3. B is like the bridge. And the three A options and three C options are like the roads you can take either side of the bridge.

The idea with Dynamical Systems Theory Perspective on Motor Learning is stability through variability. What I mean by this is take:

  • Sequence 1:
    • A1
    • B
    • C1
  • Sequence 2
    • A1, A2
    • B
    • C1, C2
  • Sequence 3
    • A1, A2, A3
    • B
    • C1, C2, C3

Let’s say that Skill B in the sequence is a deke. Skill A is the Setup. And Skill B is the Escape. (I’m removing the Entry for simplicity skate)

In Sequence 1, a player can only approach the bridge from one movement option. So they can only approach through Skill A1. Which is, let’s say, forward striding. And then after the deke, the player can only execute one skill. Let’s say a 2 foot glide.

In Sequence 2, a player becomes more dynamic. They can approach the bridge (Skill B – the deke) with two movement options: The Straight ahead stride and the crossover. Then they can escape with two skills: the 2-foot glide and the corkscrew.

In Sequence 3, a player becomes EVEN MORE dynamic. They approach the bridge (Skill B – the deke) with 3 movement options: A1, 2, and 3. Perhaps a straight ahead stride, crossovers, and a shuffle. Then they can escape with 3 movement options: 2 foot glide, corkscrew, and hip scissor.

As the before and after options get more variable, the base skill (Skill B – The Deke) becomes more stable. The motor pattern that is the deke becomes more dynamic because it can adapt to variables on either side.

This is a rough explanation of Dynamical System Motor Learning Theory. I think it helps us think about the idea of sequencing for a sport like hockey. We can agree that sequencing to teach the golf swing is probably simpler than teaching a hockey player a sequence. But if you consider the base skill (the 80/20) as your bridge, and then you add variability to the entry and exit of the bridge, you can probably build some dynamic and robust movement sequences.

In this TLOG, you see that I’m practicing one specific sequence. But what I’m really doing is practicing Sequence 1. Once mastered, I’ll add variability to the entry and exit to the bridge.

When you see players like Crosby and McDavid skate down the ice, you see players with extremely variable, adaptable and dynamic movement options. They enter the base skill from anywhere, and then they exit to anywhere.

At any point, the skill they perform probably had more entry points and more exit points than anyone else performing that skill.

This is one reason I have the Magic Mechanics first approach. Many of you know that I hypothesize that when you have the Magic Mechanics, you have more neural resources to scan your environment and make decisions. And then you exploit opportunities that you see. When you exploit enough opportunities that generate a result – that creates a decision-making pattern.

Proper Magic Mechanics are based on a concept I call the Still Point. This is where the least amount of tension and movement provides you with the position you want. The Still Point is that infinite point where you can enter from anywhere and exit to anywhere.

So the Magic Mechanics aren’t about giving you the mechanics of that one skill. But also the gives you the option to enter that skill from more places – and exit that skill into more places. And because of that variability, I think it gives players more options to exploit. When neural resources and options are in place, THEN hockey sense can develop.

People who can’t skate don’t have good hockey sense, do they? They’re just trying to stay on their feet.

Call me strange, but I researched these concepts while at the University of British Columbia. (I say strange because it had nothing to do with classwork – I just loved taking advantage of my access to research articles). I’ve been using these concepts in practice, but I haven’t been able to explain them until now.

That said, since this is my first time explaining these concepts, I’m curious to know how I did. Does my explanation and reasoning make sense? Is this helpful to you in practice? If not, please let me know what is missing. I’d love to hear from you: [email protected]

March 28, 2018

Dangle by Design Part 3: Crosby’s Forehand > Backhand Exploit Formula

We broke down the Dangle into the Four Part SEEE Formula:

  • Setup
  • Entry
  • Exploit
  • Escape

We explored the entry tactic of exploiting stick momentum. Today we look deeply at how the best in the world exploits stick momentum: Sidney Crosby.

In this video from xXLaflammeXx, we see a great compilation of Crosby’s Dangles. Their distribution looks roughly like this:

  • 60% Forehand to backhand dekes
  • 20% Backhand to forehand dekes
  • 20% Tips/Chips past the defender

The low hanging fruit is the forehand to backhand deke. So let’s examine the NeuroLinks and Mechanics.

The reason I use Crosby is thanks to xXLaflammeXx compilation. It is a complete data set of successful dangles – from a guy who isn’t really known for dangling.

NeuroLinks:

Exploit Stick Momentum: When Crosby approaches his Dangle Victim, he moves the puck to the left – within reach of the DV. As the DV reaches or swings, Crosby continues moving the puck to the left. As the DV fully commits to the reach or swing, Crosby moves the puck using the “Crosby flick” to move the puck to his backhand.

Entry Tactic: Sometimes Crosby dekes backhand to forehand – to get the defender to open up the forehand to backhand (which is his bread and butter). So the initial backhand to forehand deke is bait. So this is part of the entry.

Mechanics:

Going forehand to backhand, Crosby always does a version of what we’re calling the Crosby Flick. (We’re already in the process of adding the Crosby Flick to the Kane Stickhandling System.)

As the puck moves from right to left, he allows the puck to also travel forward. This creates an arc like so:

You often see defensemen swing or reach at the heel of Crosby’s stick. But the puck starts at the midblade, and then travels to the toe of his stick. As the defender swings his stick at the heel, Crosby rolls the puck off his toe. The flick seems to weight the puck correctly so that it doesn’t jump in the air, or get too far away. It matches Crosby’s momentum from left to right and forward.

After the flick, Crosby lets his stick follow the puck – but not too closely. I’m assuming this so that if his stick is knocked, it won’t knock the puck off its perfectly weighted trajectory. (Damn you’re good Sid).

Acceptance Criteria:

In order for this to work, the defender must generate stick momentum towards where you place the puck. Your timing and placement need to keep the puck out of range until the defender commits their stick momentum. Once committed, you use the Crosby Flick to move it to your backhand.

Sometimes, the defender will swing or reach at the toe of your stick instead of the heel. In this situation, you need to be ready to do what we call the Kane Drag. We show you how to do this in the Kane Stickhandling system course.

Data, 80/20 and Avoiding Bias

The reason I think that there are less backhand – forehand dekes in this compilation is because a backhand > forehand deke doesn’t usually “Dangle” the defender. Usually, this type of deke gives you time and space, but doesn’t actually beat the guy. Crosby might use that deke all the time, but it doesn’t show up in a compilation like this. So when I say that the low hanging fruit to learn how to Dangle is the forehand > backhand, that is representative of this sample of dangles. But that may not represent all of Crosby’s dekes. He may use the backhand > forehand much more than we realize.

Nevertheless, if Dangling is your goal, I think we’ve found a pattern and formula. I think you see the mechanics and the NeuroLinks. And if you’d like to learn those mechanics in-depth, you can check them out in the Kane Stickhandling System.

TLOG Day 1

In case you’d like to see how my training is progressing, here is a Training Blog (TLOG) video I did. You can see it here.

Thanks for reading today.

-Jason

 

March 27, 2018

Dangle By Design Part 2: The SEEE Formula and Reading The Stick

This is Part 2 of the Dangle by Design Series. Please read Part 1 to get caught up on what’s going on before you read part 2.

Today, we deconstruct the Dangle. And then we talk about exploiting the momentum of the stick.

The Four Parts of the SEEE Dangle Formula include:

  1. The Setup
  2. The Entry
  3. Exploit Opportunity
  4. Escape

The Setup

 

This is your route towards your dangle victim. Straight on? Crossovers? Hip Scissors? Shuffle Steps? Could be anything. (Hint: Straight on does not work too good.)

The Entry

Here you engage your dangle victim. In most dangles, this involves a present to bait tactic (Read Part 1 to learn what Present to Bait means). How and where you present to bait matters a lot here. And it follows a pattern for successful dangles. You MUST be a master of the 5 Transition Tricks in order to properly enter on your dangle victim.

A successful entry looks like:

  • You dictated your DV’s stick momentum and/or their body momentum
  • You didn’t get poke checked

Exploit Opportunity

If the successful entry conditions are met (dictate momentum and no poke check), then you exploit your DV’s change in momentum to create space for yourself. You must have hand-foot rhythm and you must master the 5 Transition Tricks to fully exploit the opportunity that you created.

Escape

After you successfully exploit the opportunity you created, you need to protect the puck through hip wall, and have at least enough speed to maintain that gap you created. This means having good puck protection mechanics, and good transition skills.

Entry & Exploitation: The Stick

The first domino to fall is Stick Momentum Exploitation. We talk about turning heels and changing body momentum. But I believe that the most important opportunity to exploit is stick momentum.

When mastered, you should at least be able to avoid poke checks. You might not be able to get around people (escape) – but you won’t get poke checked.

There are three ways to exploit the momentum of the stick:

  1. Exploiting the reach
  2. Exploiting the swing
  3. Combination of both (these are the ones when the jock/jill strap really hangs off the rafters)

Entering To Exploit Stick Momentum

Upon engaging your DV, the puck needs to be in a place to bait the DV into swinging or reaching. Too far: no swing or reach. To close: poke check. Just right: swing and/or reach.

Exploiting Stick Momentum

If you entered with the right positioning, then you know a swing or reach is coming. As that swing/reach comes, the puck needs to be in a position on your blade to exploit that momentum. If your DV swings from right to left, you’d better be ready to move the puck left to right – into the open space. If your DV swings left to right, you’d better be ready to move right to left.

Mechanics: Kane Stickhandling System

In the Kane Stickhandling system, we teach players to handle the puck on the heel, then use their wrists to roll the puck down the toe for movement. During your entry, the puck needs to be handled at the heel for two reasons. 1: The puck sometimes needs to be pushed/rolled forward before going left-right and 2: The roll from heel to toe is a smaller mechanic to move the puck than moving your whole arm (maximization through minimization).

If you’d like to see the Kane Stickhandling System, it is available here.

The Foundation Of Dangles

My hypothesis is that stick momentum exploitation is the foundation of the dangle. Many of you know that I look for movement variants and movement invariants. What things always stay the same? And what things change based on the situation? I call those invariants “Movement Principles”.

I honed in on the Stick Momentum Exploitation as an invariant. In situations where stick momentum exploitation does not occur – I’d suggest that that is not a dangle (deke). Instead, I’d suggest that that is a better angle, better speed scenario. And that does not constitute a dangle.

Bigger Dangles

I’d suggest that the setup and escape influence the size of the dangle. They are the variables. But stick exploitation is invariant: the principle behind the dangle. In my next posts, I evaluate my ideas after testing in practice and discuss using the setup and escape to increase the “size” of your dangles.

Don’t Create > Document

The reason I’m able to generate so much content so fast is because I don’t create. I document. You get to see this process unfold in real time. And you are involved in the process with your feedback, observations, and suggestions.

Are my ideas supported by video evidence? Do they work in real life? These are the things I want to know. Please send me an email because I’d love to hear what you think: [email protected]

-Jason

P.S. If you’d like to join the conversation with the members, you can do that here, because we take these concepts to another level.

March 26, 2018

Dangle By Design Part 1: The Science & Art Of Deking

There is not enough information about dangling. For example, here’s what I learned about Dangling from 1990 to 2010:

  • There is a forehand fake
  • There is a backhand fake
  • There is a fake shot/fake pass fake
  • And there is a head fake
  • There is a toe drag
  • And….that’s it….

Then Darryl Belfry came along and rocked my world. Turning toes! Forcing switches! Wow! What concepts!!!

Seriously ground breaking.

For context, my strength as a player was speed and physical strength. I just burned players with speed and then overpowered them. Until I couldn’t anymore…

Around 2010 onwards I started exploring this concept known as “Hockey Sense”. So, I started to understand things like manipulating momentum. Creating lanes. And reading my opponent.

I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten quite good at deking as a defenseman now. I can read a forechecker pretty well, and usually manipulate them to create a lane or get around them. I’d say that I was pretty good at this at the professional level. I’d give myself a 7/10 rating during my last season.

That said, I’d say that my ability to deke on a 1on1 as a forward is quite poor. At the professional level it was a 2 or 3/10. Like I said, as a younger player, I would simply burn people wide. But then when I couldn’t do that anymore, I defaulted to passing.

This blog series is part of my systems approach. My intention is to put my ideas about Dangling and Deking into this article – then get feedback from smart people to adjust my approach until I generate the results that I want. Then, I document the path I took, removing the time-wasting stuff, and put it into a course for players who want to learn it 10x faster than I did.

I operate under the assumption that Sidney Crosby, Datsyuk, and Connor McDavid aren’t filled with Magic Dangle Dust. That their brains read cues, anticipate movement, and exploit patterns that generate results. If they do it – anyone should be able to do it. It will take time and repetition – but unless you believe in Magic, it should be possible.

To ensure that what I’m teaching is ecologically valid (works in real life) – I’m going to teach myself as I develop my ideas and share it with you. I did this once with the Patrick Kane challenge. It’s uncomfortable – but I realized that anyone who is giving advice should also follow it. If I’m going to give advice, I need to put my skin in the game and show my results. Otherwise, you are exposed to the hidden risks of my advice – and I am not. If I can’t teach myself to Dangle by Design, I shouldn’t be teaching it.

This might sound risky, but it’s the right thing to do. When I took advice from coaches who didn’t have skin in the game  – I got the wrong advice. I’m not searching to impose my ideas on hockey – I’m hoping to expose the truth. The methods that generate results for players. Once we narrow in on the method that generate results, then repetitions count towards your progress. I hate seeing players wasting their time. It literally makes me sick.

Some of you might be thinking that Scientifically breaking down Dangling and Deking is a bad idea. It might be. Who wants mechanical, thinking, dekers. Doesn’t that take the soul out of the game? I argue the exact opposute

Here, we get into the meat of the post: The Science & Art of The Dangle

Hockey is a complex sport. Aspects of the game that should require detail get overlooked. But. that’s okay. Because today we fix that.

My cousin is an Olympic level fencer. I attended his class the other week. I was intrigued with how deeply he thought about deception, spacing, timing, and acceleration. He’d tell me things like:

  • Maximization through minimization
  • Presenting the blade to bait vs kill vs Trojan horse attack
  • Reaction vs action
  • Fencing is a game of acceleration not speed

I’ve NEVER heard a coach talk about deking in this much detail. BUT ITS EXACTLY THE SAME THING!!!

Maximization Through Minimization

A fencer seeks to make the biggest impact with the smallest change. For example, if you feint at an opponent, your goal is to exploit their reaction. To take advantage of your opponent’s movement, you need to use the smallest movement to trigger their reaction. Otherwise, you leave yourself exposed. Maximize your opportunity with the smallest amount of movement.

In hockey, you want to use the smallest movement possible to trigger your opponent. It’s a similar concept.

Presenting the blade to bait, kill, or Trojan horse attack

In fencing, sometimes you want to feign an attack to get your opponent to react. If you can anticipate his reaction, you exploit that.

When you present to kill, you know that your movement is faster, more precise, and stronger than your opponent. You know that there is nothing your opponent can do. So, you present what you are going to do, then do it. If that movement is indeed faster, more precise, and stronger, it will win every time.

Getting to a Trojan horse attack, you usually need to present bait 2-3 times. In this situation you present your blade, and your opponent doesn’t react. You make the movement larger and larger, acclimatizing your opponent to your bait. Then you go right down main street and hit your opponent with the exact movement you were baiting them with.

These three patterns apply directly to hockey.

Present to bait is when you place the puck in a vulnerable position getting an opponent to swing or reach at it. Then you exploit their change in momentum.

Present to kill is when you know that you have more speed, better momentum, or a better angle. You know what you’ve got and you take it.

Present to Trojan Horse is when you’ve used the same move on a defender once or twice and they didn’t bite – so now you exploit their non-reaction.

Reaction vs Action

Reaction is a natural instinct type of movement. There is no forethought. Just movement. Reactions are faster, but less predictable. Unless you’ve practiced them and you have the right mindset.

Action (or decision) is a conscious decision to move. Actions are slower, but usually provide a predictable response. If you are smarter than your opponent tactically, you can use Decisions to manoeuvre them into vulnerable areas. We call these NeuroLinks.

Sometimes players use Decisions to move themselves into situations where they know that their reactions win.

I think a good example of this is Belfry and Kane’s relationship. Kane obviously has great natural instinct. And Belfry points out the tactical decisions that Kane should make. Action and reaction working in harmony.

Fencing (And Hockey) Is A Game Of Acceleration – Not Speed 

As mentioned, my strength as a hockey player was speed. I could go way faster than everyone. But change of speed wasn’t my thing until about 2011 or 2012. Acceleration is change of speed.

My cousin mentioned that acceleration is a variable in a couple of areas. Notably Maximization through Minimization and “Energy”.

Acceleration and Maximization through Minimization

Speed change is a fake. Let’s say that you have 5 gears. And you go from gear 1 to 5. A couple things happen. First, the speed change takes a ton of energy. Both mental and physical. So, it is not efficient. Second, the speed change does not invoke a response from your opponent because it is obvious.

Acceleration and Energy

If you’re at a constant speed, your energy never changes. You might not think this matters – but players who vary their energy can be efficient, and manipulate the energy of their opponents.

For example, when you have hard energy, you are focussed on one thing. Both visually and tactically. When you have soft energy, you are scanning your environment – not specifically focused on one thing. Your mind is relaxed, open, and sensing. Constant hard energy burns you out. Constant hard energy has you too relaxed to do anything.

Thinking of energy masters, Lionel Messi comes to mind. He seems to be low energy, and almost lulls his opponent into matching his energy level, then exploits it at the last second.

How to Learn This The Fastest

I apply Tim Ferriss’ methods for accelerated learning to everything in hockey. I think that this focus is a competitive advantage for Train 2.0 and our players – because we are the best in the world at applying this method to hockey. The Four Parts of Tim Ferriss’ DiSS Method for Rapid Learning are:

  • Deconstruction
  • Selection
  • Sequencing
  • Stakes

Here I explain the process if you’re not familiar with it.

  • Deconstruction: Reduce the complex aspects of the skill or pattern to simple components
  • Selection: Select the 20% of those components that generate 80% of the results
  • Sequencing: Learn those 20% of components in the right order to keep yourself in flow (Correct challenge:skill ratio)
  • Stakes: Put social pressure on yourself – or find some way to make yourself accountable

Here’s how this is gonna work:

  1. We are in the process of deconstruction right now. Taking each part of the deke apart, figuring out what it is, and then giving it a name.
  2. Selection: Once deconstruction is finished, we will look for in-game patterns to see what 20% is used in most dekes.
  3. Sequencing: I’m world-class at layering simple skills to create a complex skill. But my trick is the first time around (with me) I’m much slower. That’s why I’m much faster at creating the sequence for my players the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, millionth time around. I’ll take myself through the tinkering so you don’t have to go through it.
  4. Stakes: That’s what I’m doing here. I’m placing social pressure on myself to improve my dangling and deking.

I realize that this article went much longer than it should be. So, if you got to this point, thank you for reading. I’ll see you in the next parts. Until then, please email me your thoughts. I’m interested in feedback on my approach, NHL patterns you’ve seen, and your suggestions for resources. [email protected]int0.com Look forward to hearing from you.

-Jason

P.S. I’m really open about sharing my journey and process. And if you’re looking for an in-depth “How To”, including how you can learn to Skate, Shoot, and Stickhandle 10x faster, you can find that in the Members Area.

March 21, 2018

How To Flex Your Stick (And How To Shoot Harder)

It’s a little-known secret that the puck flexes the stick.

Yes, the ice also flexes your stick. But with today’s sticks, almost every shot, pass, and stickhandle results in stick flex.

When you understand this key distinction – you can actually leverage your stick to its full potential. And then you can stop wasting your effort on power bleeding mechanics (like leaning on your stick).

It helps to know the situations where the puck flexes the stick. And distinguish when the ice also flexes the stick.

The saucer pass and shot share similar mechanics. In particular, the puck follows the same blade rhythm: It moves heel to toe.

To dial-up power, today’s shooter can do three things:

  • Move the pivot point forward
  • Generate more rotation
  • Use ice to create stick flex

Moving the pivot point forward means that the stick’s force producing part of the lever has a large range of motion. Thus can generate more power (since power = force x velocity and velocity = speed/distance). You can see how the pivot point is closer to the body with a saucer pass, but with a shot, the pivot point gets moved further ahead of the body along for the pulling hand to pull for a longer distance.

I mention that a shot is not a translation. Like a two foot broad jump. People who focus on weight transfer as THE variable get this part wrong. Instead, the shot is a rotation skill. Like tennis, baseball, and javelin. Adding rotation by arranging your feet so that your hips turn adds more power. With a rotation, think of it as increasing the length of your lever. It also increases the force end of this equation because force production that starts near your centre (core) compounds as it travels down the kinetic chain.

Here we see MacKinnon using almost no rotation. Just a push – pull lever motion. In comparison, notice how much rotation Laine gets.

The ice does generate stick flex. It’s sort of like pushing a bendy 4.5 ft bamboo rod through a 4 ft window. You push the rod forward. (Credit to Jeremy Rupke for this analogy). Player mess this up when they think they need to push down into the ice. The real way that you increase the flex of the stick is to make the window smaller by tipping your hips and tilting your shoulders. I understand why people call this “leaning on your stick” because that’s what it looks like. This is an illusion similar to the “Toe Off illusion.”

Understand that the there is a Power – Quickness Tradeoff. Going back to the MacKinnon vs Laine comparisons, you see that MacKinnon releases the puck quicker but with less power. Vice versa for Laine. But you do see that MacKinnon still gets stick flex! That’s just the nature of sticks today.

It helps to understand this distinction so that you avoid doing something that bleeds your power, balance, and quick release.

Some say that every skill you add to your talent stack roughly doubles your odds of success. Hockey is about being adaptable to situations. And the more tools you have, the more situations you dominate.

Learn how to dial your power up and down while maintaining the mechanics of shooting Wizards. You do this by understanding the mechanical principles that lead to more shot power.

If you’d like to learn this step-by-step, I’ll tell you how I structure this in the Shooting Mastery Course and with my coaching clients:

  1. We start by feeling the movement principles of the Hip Engine, the Inner Spring, and Tipped hips, and the Kinetic Chain. This is without a puck and stick. It’s just about feeeeeeeeel.
  2. Then we add the stick back in and start to play with the idea of leverage. How to position your body, your feet, your hands for maximum stick leverage.
  3. Then we add the puck back in – and cover basic drills that incorporate the movement principles. We keep the demands low so that the player focuses on the feeling.
  4. As the player hones in on the right feeling of the movement principles, we add more game specific footwork and movement patterns.
  5. Then we create the NeuroLinks so that players identify when to use their new mechanics to exploit opportunities and get results.

That’s how I approach it. I’d love to hear how this goes for you. And if you’d like some help implementing this plan, or you’d like to take advantage of the refinements I’ve made over my years of coaching, playing, and research, you can register for the Shooting Mastery Course here. Either way, please reach out to me and tell me what you think of this article: [email protected]

-Jason

 

March 14, 2018

How to Skate Smoothly (The Rollover)

One skill that is valuable is called Pattern Recognition,

For example, chess players can memorize all the pieces on a chess board better than anyone else – but the chess board needs to be laid out in a game-like manner. If the chess pieces are laid out at random (non-game scenarios), their memorization is just as good as everyone else’s.

This is an example of how experts look like they have super-powers. But they just have better pattern recognition.

One thing that fans of Train 2.0 say is that once they see the Magic Mechanics – they can’t unsee them. And once felt – they cannot be unfelt. They start seeing the game from a whole new perspective. And they start playing that way too.

Today I engineer a similar “see and don’t unsee” moment for you. One that unlocks a pattern that is rarely talked about – but executed regularly by the Wizards. This is your advantage.

It’s called: The Rollover.

The Rollover is when you roll from your inside edge to your outside edge without taking your foot off the ground (or vice versa). “Choppy players” lift their foot up to transition from one edge to the other. “Smooth” players are adept at rolling over the edge.

You see the Rollover pattern with speed skaters here.

And you see it with Dahlin’s stride here.

And with Kucherov’s shootout goal here.

And Kuznetsov’s breakaway goal here.

And Crosby’s deke here.

This pattern allows Skating Wizards to change direction without tension generated from the large muscles of the hip. The small muscles of the feet and lower leg change the angle of the blade, and the rest of the leg follows along.

The Magic Mechanics hypothesis is that you want to move with the least amount of tension in your muscles because it improves efficiency, but also frees up neural resources to process your environment. The Rollover Pattern satisfies these characteristics.

Since you change direction without much tension, the “smoothness” of your skating improvements immediately. One thing to note is that many players lack the ankle mobility to get into these positions. I talk about that here.

I just shot some videos of the Dahlin Stride, Crosby’s Hip Scissor to Tripod, and the Extended Anchor. I did an in-depth breakdown for Members and these videos are being added to the Downhill Skating System.

Here’s the Dahlin Stride.

Here’s Crosby’s Hip Scissor to Tripod.

Here’s the Extended Anchor.

If you’d like to see the full breakdown, you can join the membership here, or get access to the Downhill Skating System.

Please send me an email with your thoughts, feedback, or suggestions on this article. Your feedback is helpful and appreciated: [email protected]