This study describes the results of a survey of the practices of National Hockey League strength and conditioning (NHL S&C) coaches. The response rate was 76.6% (23 of 30). This survey examines (a) background information, (b) physical testing, (c) flexibility development, (d) speed development, (e) plyometrics, (f) strength/power development, (g) unique aspects, and (h) comments. Results indicate, in part, that coaches assess an average of 7.2 parameters of fitness, with tests of strength and power being the most common. All coaches used a variety of flexibility-development strategies. Results reveal that 21 of 23 (91.3%) of NHL S&C coaches follow a periodization model (PM). Of the coaches who follow a PM, 21 of 21 (100%) indicated that their athletes used Olympic-style lifts, and 21 of 21 coaches (100%) trained athletes with plyometric exercises. For those who used plyometrics with their athletes, 17 of 21 (80.1%) reported no plyometric-related injuries in the past year. Coaches who report they did not follow a PM also did not use Olympic-style lifts, plyometrics, or speed development strategies, such as assisted, resisted, or interval training, with their athletes. Finally, coaches reported that the squat and their variations, as well at the Olympic-style lifts and its variations, were most frequently used with their athletes. The survey serves as a review, as well as a source of applied information and new ideas.
(C) 2004 National Strength and Conditioning Association