Predators strength and conditioning coach David Good
With nearly every member of the Predators roster heading separate ways for the off-season months, team strength and conditioning coach David Good has the difficult task of tailoring individualized workout regimens for each player, then monitoring the programs from thousands of miles away all summer long.
When players pack their bags to leave town, Good provides each with a unique eight-week workout program. This summer, players made it through two of the eight-week cycles.
“The reason I do the programs that way is because guys get stronger as the summer goes along,” Good said. “This way, we can accommodate for those changes by reevaluating after eight weeks.”
Regardless of how each program looks, it all comes down to a single goal: making the Predators bigger, faster and stronger, while doing everything possible to prevent injuries once the grueling 82-game schedule starts up in October. Remaining healthy and energized is not only essential in-season, but when the summer months roll around as well. If players carry lingering injuries into the off-season, Good’s job can get a bit trickier.
“The first thing I look at when the season ends is what kind of limitations we are working with for each individual player, whether it be a knee injury, or a back injury, or a hamstring,” Good said. “The program has to be modified around those injuries and what the player is able to do.”
And in the 21st century – where sports are a multi-billion dollar industry – choosing to relax at a summer home in a remote location is simply not an option for a professional athlete. Gone are the days of the '60s and '70s where even some of the game’s most elite players would lift nothing heavier than a cold beverage from the time the season ended until training camp started up. Now, players must report to camp in September already in tip-top shape.
“At this point in their careers, they have to understand that they have to make certain facilities available to themselves,” Good said. “The way we run our program, it is nothing where you have to have $300,000 worth of equipment. It is simple bar weights and free weights, making it pretty easy to build a facility on your own. I’ve actually helped several guys order equipment so they can put it in their homes so they are much more available to their equipment, and it to them, so they can train as effectively as possible.”
Though Good’s workouts involve basic free weights, they are a relatively new concept in hockey – the sport has not always emphasized time in the weight room like football or baseball. The plan doesn’t intend to put on what Good calls “empty weight,” as is seen in bodybuilding programs, but rather focuses on gaining functional strength and power while maintaining flexibility.
“The lifting we do is very similar to what track athletes or football players do, where it is very powerful and explosive,” Good said. “You have to keep in mind that hockey is a high-impact sport, so you have to prepare the body for that as well.”
Good said getting newcomers to adopt the system is one of the biggest barriers he faces. Players who are used to the traditional hockey training methods of simply riding a stationary bike and doing medicine-ball workouts are sometimes skeptical.
“People think hockey is a sport you are playing on an unstable surface – slippery ice with a small blade – so therefore we have to train that way,” Good said. “That might be true, but you still have to generate power, absorb impact, and be faster. You just can’t train to increase those aspects of your physical ability without the training of today. Our training is a little different and once guys get a taste of it they really like it, but it is just a matter of opening their minds up enough to try it.”