We are now entering into our 4th year of training players on the skating treadmill, and we continue to be amazed and impressed with the improvements that can be achieved! It is so rewarding for us to watch our students become strong and efficient skaters. And for those players who stick with it for a year or two, and work their way up into the explosive power curriculum, the benefits are nothing short of astounding!!!
With that said, we have always been concerned about the curriculum for the younger players and the "new to hockey" adults. Now that we have run the Junior Level, Collegiate Level, NHL Level, and Backwards Level protocols for a while, we are coming to the realization that these workouts are really designed for intermediate to advanced skaters who are around the age of 11 or older. Beginning level skaters or an 8-year old who only weighs 60 lbs., simply do not have the correct biomechanics, leg strength, or ability to generate enough power for the treadmill. Consequently, we have been forced to deviate from the written curriculum for these players by ramping down the speeds and lowering the elevations. In essence, players in this category have not really been doing the curriculum as it is written.
Rather than discourage this age group from using the treadmill, we put our heads together and created a NEW NOVICE LEVEL 1, 2, and 3 to accommodate the younger players and the beginning adults. We have already been using the Novice Levels, and all of the treadmill staff has fallen in love with them! Not only are they the right speeds and elevations, but we have made the intervals longer, like 20 or 30 seconds to allow for increased coaching time and more chances for the players to “get it right”. Intervals of 6 or 8 seconds simply are not long enough for the learning and implementation of foundational biomechanics. We also added a few "fun" items for the players like mini-mountain climbers, and a $5, $10, and $20 challenge on the 12th workout in each level!!!
Hopefully the new Novice levels will also allow the participants to continue their training for a longer period of time, and will help them become better skaters and be more prepared for the advanced curriculums available in the Junior 3 and 4 Levels, and ultimately the Collegiate and NHL Levels. We have been EXTREMELY impressed with the changes that occur in the players who use the treadmill for 1-3 years, and we hope that we have provided a better program that will facilitate this kind of learning. See you soon!!!!