1. What is your biggest concern about junior hockey players in terms of staying injury free?
My biggest concerns about junior hockey players staying injury free are knowledge and maintenance. Many players now-a-days understand that they need to workout, but don't understand why and how; which further advance imbalances already created in the body, thus leaving many hockey players susceptible to hip, groin, knee, and shoulder injuries. Currently, many athletes have an idea of the importance of training, but do not necessarily understand why they are training or how to train. If a player does; however, understand that concept, they need to also understand the importance of maintenance throughout the entire season.
2. How do you correct/work on that?
Some tips on how to correct and work on these issues involve: looking at some of the areas of the body that get abused or over-developed during the course season, and help to bring back a balance or symmetry. For example, many athletes complain of burning legs when they play. One: Quadricepses tend to be over-developed and hamstrings shortened. So, in the off-season we should be working to get that balance back. Two: if your legs are constantly burning there is a good chance that your muscles are not firing in the right order. The hips are the biggest weight- pairing part of our body. If hockey players understood and trained their bodies to work through their hips, they would foster a lower center of gravity, thus giving them an efficient stride-which is less stressful on your muscle. This would allow for fewer injuries, less fatigue, and more room in the mind to focus on just playing the game.
3. What do you recommend a player do before practice or a game to help reduce the risk of injury?
I have a series of exercises I call prescription exercises. They are used to activate certain muscles to assure they fire in the right order, as well as to strengthen different core muscles in your hips and shoulders. These exercises are great to do before practice.
4. What should a player focus on in their off season strength program to help stay injury free?
When training in the off-season, players should train in phases- some athletes may need more time in one area than another; however, the first phase is Base and Core Re-training. This phase allows you to (after testing and taking analytical photos) begin the process of doing core exercises to bring back balance. For example: if my shoulders are rotated forward, my left hip pronates. The Base and Core Re-training allow me to re-balance my body. Once you can get through the different thresholds, within a squat or a lunge; for example, without showing signs of imbalance you can proceed to the next phase: Stability and Isolations. This phase essentially builds on the first phase in such a way that it ensures that the core muscles are always engaged while doing certain exercises of difficulty. Therefore, instead of simply doing a squat, you may do it on one leg or on a Bosu. As these core muscles become developed, you can begin the Power and Speed Phase. This phase contains a lot of explosive exercises, picking up gains faster than you would expect because you are not just relying on the larger muscles anymore; now all the micro and secondary muscles are activated, allowing for efficient use of the body. Lastly, you enter Circuit Training. This is where you start more sports-specific exercises-having more focus on a certain area than others. For example: one day you can have a power circuit, a speed circuit, core circuit in a system which 'Intech Skills and Conditioning' calls 'Power Hour'-limited rest with optimal performance. This phase should never be completed without completing the other phases of training first.
5. Where did Derrell Levy play junior hockey? College hockey? Pro hockey?
I played Junior Hockey for the North York Rangers and the Markham Waxers, which is known as the OPJHL now. I continued on to play university hockey at Oswego State-winning a National Championship there. I proceeded to play pro-hockey in the AAHL, finishing off with exhibition games in the AHL.
6. Can you tell me about In Tech Hockey?
'Intech Hockey' was a program devised to help athletes of all ages learn proper tactical and technical skills on and off the ice. From learning proper skating techniques, to learning proper positioning on ice, then learning about how the body works. The goal is help each athlete not only develop but also learn how to get the proper functionality out of their muscles, so they can be better athletes. 'Intelligent Techniques Hockey Skills and Conditioning's purpose is to build athletes mentally and physically in order to reach their goals as players and have longevity in the sport.
7. Remember back to the recruiting process, what was the most important thing you looked for in a hockey program and school?
The big things I looked for when being recruited to schools were finding a place where I felt comfortable, but would be challenged. I looked to see that the school had the prospective programs I would be interested in. Lastly, I looked at the food selections-I love food! Your living environment sets the tone for everything else. If you don't feel comfortable in your surroundings, it will be hard to focus on the task at hand-performing your sport to the best of your abilities, and doing strong academically.
8. What is your best memory of playing college hockey?
My best memory of playing college hockey would have to be winning a National Championship. The whole experience-almost holding your breath all game, killing crucial 5 on 3 in overtime-such an intense game. The support from friends, fans, and family during the whole experience is one I will never forget.
9. What was the most challenging part of the recruiting process for Derrell Levy?
I found the process of what I needed to do once I had committed to a school, to be quite difficult. Also, I wish there had been someone to show me the right ways to go about making myself available for universities. Basically, how to be more pro-active.
10. What advice can Derrell Levy give junior and prep player in terms of being ready for college hockey and life as a student-athlete?
Just be discipline and stay organized. If you do that, things will run allot smoother and make your college experience quite an enjoyable one.
Learn more about Derrell Levy and Intech Hockey at www.intechhockey.com
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