Although success at the team and individual level is important, SYHA places significant emphasis the development of student-athletes of all levels of ability. SYHA promotes long-term athlete and child development by providing on-ice and off-ice training opportunities that allow each player to maximize his or her potential in a competitive learning environment, while providing positive lessons that allow them to excel in life. We believe very strongly in citizenship, sense of community and sportsmanship. SYHA is committed to helping boys and girls make big strides on and off the ice as athletes, students and members of our community.
I have been very impressed with our athletes this season. As we approach the final weeks of games and prep for Pittsburgh, playoffs and spring hockey, I would like to remind everyone about the basics principles of stretching and why it is important.
There are many benefits of stretching & flexibility that can help athletes with skating and recovery off the ice. Tons of books and articles with information are available on this subject. Here are some reasons players need to focus on stretching and why.
Hockey players bodies must move differently than athletes who run in their sport. A skating stride has much different mechanics than a running stride. While running, your knees move up and down and stay inside your body’s “gate” of shoulder/hip width, requiring little groin/hip flexibility. When you skate, you drive your legs back at a 45 degree angle outside of this gate while keeping your chest and head upright.
The more you can bend your knees and the more flexible the groin and hips (most importantly) are, the longer each stride can be as it allows you to push further outside of this gate and generate more power. As full extension is reached, the big toe snaps the skate off of the ice back under the shoulders, inside the gate. Generating more speed and power are directly related to flexibility.
With improved flexibility a player will experience gains in strength, range of motion, posture and mechanics. This will allow him/her to skate, battle and execute better on the ice while developing new skills much quicker. Players will also notice a boost in stamina and endurance because when the muscles and joints are working in unison and not fighting themselves, much less energy is expended with each stride while skating. Why do some players strides look so effortless? Flexibility!
No matter what age, I encourage all of our players to start a stretching routine asap. Dynamic stretching is a moving stretch or warmup, with exercises like walking lunges or high knees. Static stretching are stationary stretches held for 15-30 seconds and a specific muscle group. Don’t forget to breathe deep and under control!
Dynamic stretches should be performed before skating as a warm up to get blood into the muscles and static stretches should be done after skating for recovery to remove lactic acid and soreness, and loss of range of motion. In high end youth programs, Juniors, College, and the Pro ranks there is a ton of emphasis on flexibility and YOGA because of the performance benefits and injury prevention. Hockey is very tough and physically demanding and over the course of a long season, players that have a stretching routine are much less likely to be injured.
It is easy to find information on hockey specific stretching online. This site below is pretty good and has lots of information to check out for our parents and kids. I hope parents and coaches can continue to push this message as it is very important for our players well-being on and off the ice! It would be great to see teams warming up before going on the ice for practices and games as well as stretching at the rink or at home afterwards! I am more than happy to help any coaches that need help creating an age specific routine for their players.
Once again, I look forward to seeing everyone at the rink and welcome all families and players to SYHA Youth Hockey Night this Saturday at 7pm. Join us for free pizza as we cheer on the SHHS Varsity Team to a victory over the Cleveland Heights Tigers.
Coach Michael Berg
SYHA is looking for youth coaches. We are looking for candidates who have leadership and communication skills both on and off the ice. Most importantly, candidates should be energetic, motivated, disciplined and love kids and community. Please see the link for an application. For Questions please contact Michael.Berg@shakeronline.com
Below find a PDF outlining the services offered by the UH Sports Medicine practice. UH Sports Medicine partners with Shaker Youth Hockey to provide baseline concussion testing and provides sponsorship for our teams. Thanks to UH Sports Medicine.
Congratulations to Jeff, Mark, Dominic, James, Ethan, Collin and Andy for "Always Being A Raider"! We are proud of your commitment and loyalty to Shaker Hockey.