Later this weekend I am going to share some tests you can do on your own to look at 1) how you are progressing with your off-ice training and 2) some functional tests that will tell you how well you move and stabilize. This is a follow up to the last post on what ‘hockey testing’ really tests.
But today it is all about our All-Star for April.
Meet your APRIL ALL-STAR…
I want you to meet Mitch Harris – our ALL-STAR for APRIL and the winner of our Facebook 28-Day Challenge this past month. You should see the wicked set up this guy has in his basement for practicing. He has a synthetic ice slab and a pitching machine that launches tennis balls at him – it is AWESOME!
The best part is that Mitch never played a single game as a kid – in fact he probably only skated half a dozen times between the ages of 8 and 28. He was always drawn to goaltending but it never came around until at the age of 38 he got his son into skating and eventually into hockey.
So while his son was learning to skate, Dad was doing the same thing working with a goalie coach and working his way up to drop-in hockey before work two mornings per week. Here’s what he has to say about those early days…
What was it like when you were just starting out?
The morning sessions were interesting to say the least. Virtually all of the skaters (I was the only goalie) were Russian and they didn’t say much to me. In the beginning I think they took it a little easy on me (not much though), but I could tell as I was getting better and making more saves that they started to play harder. Towards the end of going to these sessions one of the skaters came up to me and said in a thick Russian accent (you getting better, good work).
He continues to take lessons, often with his 8-year old son. You know how the early morning ‘jogs’ with my Dad as a youngster left a lasting impression, so I am thrilled to see a father and child spending active time together.
He still plays 2-4 times per week along with his ‘on-ice’ workouts in the basement.
Who are your favourite pro goalies?
Martin Brodeur – nod to Jonathan Quick & Sergei Bobrovsky
Goalie to Watch: Colgate University goalie – Charlie Finn
What gear do you wear?
Simmons 997 Pads, Simmons 997 Glove, Simmons Matrix Blocker, Vaughn Velocity 7460 pants, Graf Goaler Pro 750 skates, Hackva Mask w custom paint by Weaselhead Designs.
What was the FB 28-Day Goalie Transformation like for you?
The workouts were hard. The first week, I was constantly sore. Walking down stairs was a challenge. However, to my surprise, the workouts were doable. I wasn’t just pumping iron for hours on end. I was doing all kinds of stretches and movements I had never done before. As the program progressed, the workouts became harder, but I was actually struggling less and less. Of course there were days (many days) were I had to dig deep to find the motivation. I was “tired” or worked late or had to get up really early. You know all the excuses. It is easy to fall into the “I will do it tomorrow” trap. However, I was accountable to my fellow goalies in the group. That accountability turned into routine. Before I knew it, I was looking forward to the next workout with eager anticipation.
How did you feel on the ice Mitch?
I noticed two things immediately – I had better flexibility and I did not experience fatigue toward the end of the game. Those three games were some of the best I have played in a long time! I have also noticed a massive difference in my core, something that I have neglected for… always. All that planking had made a big change. My glutes, thighs, calves, arms, shoulders – all noticeably stronger. While I still have some work to do on widening my butterfly, my flexibility has increased tremendously. Previously, I assumed that I drink plenty of water until I started measuring my daily consumption. Nope. Not enough. This has been corrected. Finally, I find that I have more energy and am more alert throughout the day.
Congratulations Mitch – you did a great job!
PS – LET ME KNOW…I am thinking of running four month off-season coaching program on Facebook starting in mid-May. This is where you would get your complete training program for each phase of training, get coaching support from me, submit your testing data, be accountable to the rest of the group, etc. I am thinking of doing a pro-style program, so training 6-days per week for 1-1.5 hours per session (it will vary based on the phase of course). This will be a completely new program so not the same as UGT – I would actually like it to be more intense that UGT for this off-season.
This would be a hybrid between UGT and the Elite Goalie Training Group. I want to hear what you all think, how you would like it to run, etc. I would also be happy to run a group for skaters, so just leave a comment below or email me directly – email@example.com to let me know your thoughts. I would need at least 15 people in each group.