Q: How long has Bystol Performance Center (BPC) been training hockey players?

A: Poliquin Performance has over three decades of experience training high-level hockey players. BPC has trained over 100 players in the NHL.

Q: If you where a parent what would you look for when searching for a coach for your son or daughter?

A: When I hire anyone I look at what they have done in the past. I’m not interested in a sales pitch; I am only interested in the results they have got with their client. Results speak for themselves!!

• BPC has coached players from 26 different teams in the NHL
• Over a dozen gold medalist from the USA Olympic team trained with PPC/BPC
• PPC/BPC players have been awarded every prestigious award in the NHL ranging from the Norris Trophy to the Stanley Cup
• Dozens of college scholarships
• Our AAA and high school players dominate the league

Q: My son/daughter needs to be faster on the ice. Do you do speed training?

A: There are many factors that can affect speed: flexibility, strength, power, coordination are just a few factors that can have an effect on speed. The course of action we will take to increase speed will greatly depend on the athlete’s age. Any PhD in psychomotor learning will confirm that: Coordination is 90% established by age 12. Ages from 8-12 “approximately” are the best years to take advantage of learning coordination, movement patterns, flexibility and mobility. Speed ladders, hurdles, stability, bodyweight training and strengthening imbalanced muscles are good training option to increase speed at this age. After the age of 12 we find these implements are good for warm-ups but will not lead to increase performance on the ice

Once an athlete is 13 years or older we have found that increasing flexibility and strength are the best ways to improve speed. Why? Simple physics

Strength is the ability to generate force
Speed is the total distance covered in a set time

What does this tell us? STRENGTH is a prerequisite for both power and speed. There are many different classification of strength. Just getting stronger doesn’t make you faster. There are a lot of kids that are big and strong but really slow. If you compare an elite level marathon runner with an elite level sprinter what’s the first thing you notice? MUSCLES. World-class sprinters are incredibly strong, even the females are much more muscular and stronger than male marathon runners. 99% of the time strength is always the limiting factor in speed.

Q: Are skating treadmills or sprinting treadmills a good training device for hockey players.

A: Skating treadmills ruin motor patterns by creating faulty movement patterns in a hockey player’s stride. Just like high caliber sprinters never run on treadmills, Hockey players should never skate on treadmills. When little Johnny runs on the grass for example, he moves over the surface. On treadmill running or skating, the surface moves from under him. This teaches little Johnny to fire the muscles used in running, sprinting and skating in an improper sequence. Basically you teach your nervous system how to skate two different ways, when you step on the ice the brain doesn’t know if the ice is going to move underneath you or if you are going to propel yourself over the ice. All this confusion between your brain and muscles will lead to decrease speed and power and increase risk of injury.

Q: I heard BPC trains hockey players like football players?

A: PPC does train a lot of NFL players. If you walk into our facility you may see 7-8 Chicago Bears training and a host of other NFL players. You will also see NHL players, Olympic speed skaters, professional basketball players, high-level tennis players and dozens of other athletes from various sports. The fact is that all sports require a high level of speed, strength, power, agility and coordination. An experienced strength coach will attract all athletes and is not limited to one sport.

Q: Does BPC offer group training?

A: A word of advice. If you walk into a training facility and your son Billy is doing the same workout as 8 of his buddies – GRAB YOUR SON AND LEAVE!! I do realize this is more cost efficient for the athlete and a lot more profitable for the facility but the risk does not out weigh the reward. Weight training will increase performance and reduce the risk of injuries but it can also just as easily decrease performance, cause an injury and increase the risk of injury while playing your sport.

Every athlete has there own mechanical issues to deal with. 2 out of 10 athletes that enter our program have the ability to squat safely. While 8 of them cant squat their own bodyweight correctly. 3 out of 10 have enough stability in there shoulders to bench press safely. I have yet to see a younger athlete pass our test to initially engage in a plyometric program. If you look at a group program design these exercises are always on the list. I understand that teams have to train that way do to time and availability but there still needs to be a screening process to determine the capability of each athlete.

The success of our program is really based upon the knowledge of our elite coaching staff and there ability to test an athlete appropriately before starting a strength and conditioning program All athletes entering the Poliquin Performance Program will go through our world-renown Advanced Athletic Assessment. BPC’s unique testing process allows our professional coaches to evaluate an athlete’s abilities and identify any weaknesses or potential areas for injury. Power, speed, agility, strength, flexibility, nutrition and body composition are all tested to give us a baseline of where the athlete is prior to beginning the program.
The data is then analyzed by our Certified P.I.C.P Coaches and a personalized workout and nutrition program is designed. Strength and speed programs are frequently changed during the course of the program to create continuous stress and demand on the athlete’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and nervous system.

PPC advanced assessment, superior program design, individual attention and top level coaches guarantees each and every athlete will be given the opportunity to reach their full athletic potential.

Q: Should my son/daughter be doing any aerobic training like jogging or 45 minutes on the stationary bike or elliptical.

A: If you want to become a faster more explosive athlete then you should not be doing any long distance endurance work. There are several neurological adaptations that occur when you perform a lot of aerobic work. Basically you are teaching your body to move slower than your sport requires. Aerobic training is also very catabolic so the more aerobic work you do the weaker you will be.

This doesn’t mean that athletes shouldn’t run. At PPC we match our endurance work specifically to the athletes sport. For example: An average shift time for a hockey player is 40-70 seconds. A running matrix would include sprints or drills that range between 30 seconds and 2 minutes while rest periods will be dependent on work time.

Elite strength coaches have known for years that sprinting will not only improve your speed, strength and body composition but it will also improve your endurance. Studies have recently shown that in as little as 6 sessions over two weeks caused muscle endurance capacity to improve 100%. This one reason we have never include any sprinting or energy system work in the early part of the off-season.

Q: Should my son/daughter play hockey all year.

A: This question is a bit tricky. When kids are young I believe they should play as many sports as they enjoy. This will prevent overuse injuries, burnout and develop different coordination and mobility patterns with each sport they play.

When athletes get to an age where they choose hockey as there primary sport and are committed to becoming the best hockey player they can be, then I would still not recommend playing all year. Anytime you do one activity for a prolonged period of time you will develop overuse injuries. Hockey players are notorious for having extremely tight hip flexors, weak low backs and posterior chain, shortened and elevated traps, tight hips, scapula winging and a host of other mechanical issues caused by skating. If these mechanical issues are not fixed during the off-season they will lead to increase risk of injury, decreased speed, power and poor performance on the ice.

This does not mean you should not skate at all. The off-season is the time you should be working on your weaknesses. Ask your coach 3 things you need to work on to become a better hockey player. Spend your time wisely on the ice working on your weaknesses and you will be amazed next season how everything comes together.

Any Question Please Contact
Mike Bystol -847-881-2840
Bystol Performance Center
Poliquin Performance Center