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This training exercise is named after American speed skater Eric Heiden, who won an unprecedented five Olympic gold medals at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Start in a strong skating position, balancing on one foot with deep knee bend (if a player is on their left foot, their right arm is forward and their left arm is back). Explode laterally towards the right, pushing off with the left foot. Land on the right foot and recover just like a skating stride, so that their right arm is back and their left arm is forward. Have their non-weight-bearing leg (in this case the left) to recover to the mid-line of their body. And then do it back the other way, pushing off with your right leg. This exercise can be done side-to-side and diagonally at 45-degree angles.
For a more advanced movement with greater hip rotation, make a 90-degree Heiden jump. Start in the skating position facing north. The player will jump off their left foot and face east when they land on their right foot, so they complete a 90-degree turn in the air. When they jump on their right foot, they should land facing south. After four jumps, they’ll be facing north again.
The thing to keep in mind for plyometric training is to keep the number of reps relatively low and take long rests between sets so that the player is not fatigued. Every time a player jumps and bounds it should be an explosive and forceful movement. Three sets of ten jumps (five on each leg) should be used for maximum benefit.
A critical period, or “window” of development, refers to the point in the development of a specific capacity when training has an optimal effect. Other factors are readiness and critical periods of trainability during growth and development of young athletes, where the stimulus must be timed to achieve optimum adaptation with regard to motor skills, muscular, and/or aerobic power.
For boys, the first speed training window (quickness) occurs between the ages of 7 and 9 years and the second speed window occurs between the ages of 13 and 16. For girls, the first speed training window occurs between the ages of 6 and 8 years and the second window occurs between the ages of 11 and 13 years.
CT Oilers EHL - Josh Victor