I’ve had the privilege of working with athletes of all different age groups and all different sports, this includes NHL players, CFL players, gold medal winning Olympians and of course the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose. Because of my experience in the field I often get asked what it is that separates the great players from the good. How come some athletes “make it” and some don’t. The perception a lot of people have is that the majority of the athletes that compete at the highest level have natural ability that far exceed the norm. While this is true when comparing high level athletes to a vast majority of the population I can assure you that when comparing athlete to athlete the biggest contributing factor is effort. Effort? Really? How can something so simple be the deciding factor? It’s simple, effort dictates everything we do, when we do it and how well we do it. It is the single most important factor in our success. Think of all the greats in any sport who have achieved legendary status: Jaromir Jagr, Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady. These players play or played with and against the other top players in the world in their respective sports, rose to the top and stayed there for a long time. What is the first thing people talk about when they mention these names? They talk about their work ethic, their dedication, their preparation. Guess what? All those things are 100% controlled and driven by effort. It takes absolutely zero athletic ability to be good at these things. One of my favourite quotes and best pieces of advice I ever received in my life is, “Be good at the things that require no talent.” Be on time, be willing to learn, pay attention, be ready to work. All of us have the ability to do these things well but you would be surprised how many people choose not to. Understand that it is a choice that you make every single day and it is all about effort. This message holds true for any endeavour you choose to pursue in your life. In athletics: be at practice on time, be ready to work, study your playbook, work hard in the gym. At work: be on time, read and further your education in your field. At home: listen to your family members when they speak, if you say you will do something do it, give compliments. All these are examples of things that require not talent, just effort and they will make you successful in all different aspects of your life. Effort is life’s greatest equalizer. Be good at the things that require no talent and you will have success.
For years, both Stelio Mattheos and Nick Henry have skated with Dave Cameron to help in their off-season development. They are two players that exemplify what it means to be a hockey player through their hard work, attitude and attention to detail. It is those qualities that have allowed for both players to continually develop over the off-season months and have caught the eyes of NHL scouts. Both players are ranked high by Central Scouting for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft to be held in Chicago June 23-24.
Nick Henry had a breakout season as a rookie with the Regina Pats finishing with 35 goals, 46 assists for 81 points in 72 games. He is currently ranked 25th by central scouting. Nick participates in our Junior/College Summer Program.
Stelio Mattheos had a great season with the Brandon Wheat Kings where he finished with 26 goals, 35 assists for 61 points in 69 games. Stelio also represented Canada after the WHL season with the U18 team as one of the assistant captains. Mattheos had a great tournament with 4 goals in 5 games and was named one of Canada’s top 3 players. He is currently ranked 38th by Central Scouting.
We wish both players the best of luck in the upcoming entry draft.
The question of how deep one should squat is always a topic of debate. There are many different factors that go into a properly performed deep squat such as strength, mobility, stability, mechanics and practicing the skill. If you can do these things well you can squat deep and despite what the naysayers might tell you it will be safe. Let’s debunk one of the main arguments that the anti-deep squat crowd will tell you, that squatting deep is hard on the knees, specifically the ligaments. When making this argument the main ligament called into question is the ACL. Now if we actually look at the numbers the section of the range of motion that puts the most stress on the ACL is the first 15-30 degrees. From there the amount of stress actually decreases as you go deeper. Even at the point of maximal stress on the ACL (15-30 degrees) the amount of stress is usually only about 25% of what the ACL is cable of handling. So as you can see the maximal stress comes quite early in the squat motion is not at a level that should be of any concern on a healthy knee.
The only thing you can control in your life is your effort. The outcome of your endeavors may not always be what you had hoped for, but never let that be because of your lack of effort. Your effort is who you are: how you work at your job, how you work at your relationships. People take note of the effort you put forth in all aspects of your life and either consciously or sub-consciously that effort becomes their perception of you. Your effort is how the world sees you and if you are honest with yourself, your effort will be how you quantify your own self-worth. An honest person cannot hide from their lack of effort. Even though your effort may not guarantee certain levels of success if your life, I do believe that people are inherently good and your effort will not go unnoticed by those who put equal effort into their life and relationships. While the accolades and monetary accumulations may happen, the respect and relationships formed will always be guaranteed. So be a good person, put the effort in.
I was extremely fortunate to be invited as a skills coach for the Under 17 Hockey Canada Development Camp from July 25th – 30th. There were 111 players invited who were split into 6 teams for the camp. I was working with 2 teams, Team Black and Team Blue to help in their development as players. A lot was asked of myself (working with the D men) and Daniel Tzaczuk (working with the forwards).
Day 1 – July 25th
All the coaches, trainers, medical staff, mental performance staff and camp coaches arrived into Calgary. We were transported to our dorm at the U of C and then to WinSport Arena home of Hockey Canada for welcome meetings and staff meetings. Our initial coaches meeting was held in the Hall of Champions which is like a room out of the Hockey Hall of Fame with all the trophies. It showed us that we were now at a different level and our coaching had to be at its best. Our coaching staff had talked at length before out arrival, but this was the first meeting face to face for many of us. We met until late that night to make sure we were prepared for the player’s arrival.
Day 2 – July 26th
As players arrived into Calgary, we greeted them at the dorms. We had a quick team meeting to lay out some ground rules and introduce our staff and then made our way to the WinSport Arena. Throughout the evening, players went through physicals, equipment fitting, medicals, pictures, etc. As coaches, this was a great time for us to get to know some of the players a nd put faces to a name. With many busy days ahead, the players were given their schedules to prepare, highlighting their on-ice sessions, off-ice testing, mental training, stress management, media training, equipment showings, nutrition, team video sessions and more.
Day 3 – July 27th
Dan and I were asked to lead the first day of practice to “set the tone” for the week. We planned the first 30 minutes where Dan put the players through skill work. The following 30 minutes were built off of what Dan had done, having the D men and Forwards split to work through position specific drills. Players loved the tempo of the first skate and it really allowed us to break some of the nerves they had.
The second skate of the day had players going through their on-ice testing with players testing both with and without a puck in forward speed, backward speed, transition skating and weave agility.
Day 4 – July 28th
I was asked to lead the first 20 minutes of practice with dedicated work to lead into our offensive practice. We focused on quick puck movement which worked well leading into the offensive rushes and regroups we were working on. Assistant Coach Dave Struch (Regina Pats – WHL) did a great job to explain how our team would be looking to attack. We finished the session with some work with the D men on finding shooting lanes and creating offense from the blue line.
After a busy day of lectures, players came back on the ice for their positional practice. Dan took all the forwards while I was able to work for 90 minutes with the 12 D men from Team Black and Team Blue. We focused on skating and mobility, puck movement (working to eliminate extra stickhandles), partner support and movement and shooting from the point (build off day 3). After a long day players were exhausted and ready for bed!
Day 5 – July 29th
Dan Tkaczuk was asked to lead the first 20 minutes of practice with topics that would lead into our defensive practice. He focused on a lot of skating work followed by a quick stickhandling and shooting circuit. Chris Dennis (York University) lead a great practice focusing on tracking pucks, defensive positioning and defensive support. This was a tough practice for some players as a few concepts were new but they learned quickly how important these skills were.
The second session of the day was a small area games session where we had both Team Black and Team Blue on the ice. Players played a variety of games with some 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 4 vs 4, face-off battles and even some PP and PK work. Players worked extremely hard and competed for the full 90 min.
July 6 – July 30th
Game Day …. Starting with a morning skate for Team Black where the guys had an upbeat 30 minute skate followed by 15 min of positional work with the forwards and D men. Team Blue was next where they followed a similar set up for practice. This was the end of our work in preparation as the rest was now up to the players to perform. Dan and I headed to the airport where we watched the game online. Both Team Black and Team Blue came away with wins.
The teams played 2 more days of games without the skills coaches present. Team Black ended up winning the mini tournament with Team Blue finishing 4th. This was an incredible learning experience for me to be able to work in that environment. I am honored to have been able to help with Team Canada’s U17 preparation for the tournament in October. I wish all the players all the best this upcoming season and we will be cheering loud from Winnipeg!
-Dave Cameron, Jets Hockey Development Head On-Ice Instructor & Program Manager
With social media always presenting new avenues for people to connect the strength and conditioning industry has never been more popular. Like anything in life there is always bad with the good and there is a ton of really terrible information out there. The good news is there are some absolutely amazing people out there sharing their knowledge as well. Here are in my opinion three strength coaches that you have to follow:
Eric Cressey: everyone has moments when someone flicks the switch and the light bulb goes off in your head and all of a sudden everything makes sense. For me this moment came almost ten years ago reading an e-book called “The Ultimate Off Season” by Eric Cressey. He is known as both the “baseball” and the “shoulder” guy and while he is the industry leader in both these fields his knowledge reaches far beyond that. He is extremely generous with the information he shares and everything he says will make you better. You can sign up for his free e-news letter at ericcressey.com, follow on Twitter: @EricCressey and Instagram: ericcresey. I strongly suggest you do all three.
Jim Smith: is one half of the force behind Diesel Strength and Conditioning along with Joe DeFranco. Jim’s free e-news letter is my favourite read every week. He includes great strength and conditioning information that is often accompanied by videos and pairs it with great life lessons. His delivery of this is always on point and the positive way you are left feeling after reading his work will have you ready to crush everything you do that day both in and out of the gym. Check out the blog on dieselsc.com, sign up for his e-news letter, follow him on Twitter: @dieselstrength and on Instagram: smittydiesel.
Jason Ferruggia: the man behind the Renegade army. Jason’s mix of knowledge on training, business, life and old school hip hop are top notch. His website jasonferruggia.com will direct you to all the gems that he has to offer including his blog, newsletter, Twitter, Instagram and my personal favourite his podcast appropriately named Renegade Radio. It’s one of the best podcasts I’ve ever heard and covers everything from training, business, life, and music with incredible guests that will give you knowledge to improve your life.