The guys know me and they know my program now and they get a lot more out of it, especially with an extra month this year. - Ryan van Asten
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames are already back to work.
Less than a month removed from a second round exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Calgary’s first trip since 2009 and just the second time beyond the first round since winning the Cup in 1989, members of the Flames have already returned to the gym to replicate and enhance recent successes heading into the 2015-16 season.
They’re on the job.
“We started training three days ago,” said Calgary strength and conditioning coach Ryan van Asten.
“We did three weeks (off). The first two weeks are just rest. They can relax. Third week is active rest where now we’re starting to get back into it. It’s not structured. We’re not in the gym, we’re not lifting, but we’re moving around and doing stuff. Now, we officially started June 1st and we’re full bore now.”
Though the Anaheim Ducks eliminated the Flames in mid-May, workout regiments have been in the works for months.
And they’ve been customized to suit.
“The offseason plan, we start building that really post-Christmas,” van Asten said. “It takes a while. It’s an extensive plan. From there, things pop up…an athlete has a certain injury, that’s where you make tweaks to that program as we go along. Once the season’s over, we have our exit medicals and do a bit of testing and that’s where we do the fine-tuning of the program. Nothing’s really popping up. We’re aware of everything.
“Unless there’s the case of a guy dealing with something throughout the season and we make a decision that he has to have surgery. When the surgery is done that’s when you figure that stuff out. There are no surprises, really.”
While Calgary’s contingent is back in the gym, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re back in the city. A handful of Flames have returned to work at WinSport, but different players spend their summers in different locations, leaving van Asten to keep tabs on players, both pro and prospect alike.
Monitoring progress from afar can be a challenge.
“It’s a little tougher,” he said. “Within the program I send, at the beginning of every phase there’s six tests they can do on their own. They’re basic tests. They don’t need a technical lab to do and it gives me an idea where they are in terms of their strength and conditioning levels. I’m not going to get a ton of data about it but it gives me a good idea.
“I also rely on their trainers. No one trains on their own. Most of their trainers are going to have something where they can test power. They do movement screening, checking mobility, the same kind of stuff we do here.”
The bigger challenge for van Asten is ensuring those training the Flames are on the same page.
“That’s the hard part,” he said. “That’s the biggest challenge, making sure we’re on the same page. I see stuff throughout the year. They might see something different. How do we make sure we’re covering all the bases with these guys. That’s the biggest thing.”
That challenge hasn’t changed from last year, but the process is easier for van Asten, who joined the Flames last July after winning the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings.
“I know everybody and I know, even the guys that weren’t in Calgary, I know all the coaching staff that are in Adirondack,” he said. “I know the strength coach in Adirondack. We communicate what each guy needs. I build that into the program and we work together. When I came in last year, even the pros, I had no idea. I know that Johnny Gaudreau is small, but that’s all I knew when I came in, so you’ve got to go through all the testing and get that information.
“The guys know me and they know my program now and they get a lot more out of it, especially with an extra month this year.”