Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Sabres And SEALs For Success

I'm a big fan of non-traditional training methods when it comes to getting results. Personally, running is one of the world's most boring activities in my humble opinion, but I have great respect for anyone who is committed to running. However, give me a puck and stick and I'll skate for hours on my own with no complaints. In saying this, I was reading a few articles on NHL.com while sitting here at my local coffee shop, and I was pleasantly surprised to read that the Buffalo Sabres are sending their prospects off to train with Navy SEALs in order to prepare them for the rigors of a full professional hockey season!

Rarely will an NHL player be up at 4:30 in the morning during the hockey season, but the Sabres' prospects were up bright and early on Monday morning for a workout session with the Navy SEALs. This included cleaning up after themselves after dinner the night before, making their beds and cleaning their sleeping areas before leaving for the workout, and the rigorous training that the SEALs put the 39 young men through. All in all, it was a different morning than most of the young Sabres were accustomed to, and it caught the attention of the players.

"It was a tough morning, but it's also good. It's a good opportunity to push yourself, and these are the kind of things that bring teams together," Corey Tropp told Kevin Snow of sabres.nhl.com. "It's all about working hard. I don't know if two weeks ago I'd tell you that I’d be jumping in the lake at five in the morning, but it was fun. It was a good time... maybe good time is an overstatement. But it was a good bonding experience. It'll be good for all the guys. It will help us come together, and show some of the younger guys how hard you actually do have to work, and how hard it is."

I believe this kind of training is good for younger players as it shows the discipline required to maintain the energy and intensity needed by a top-flight athlete. Navy SEALs are generally in tip-top fitness, and by providing the young Sabres some of their training, there is good reason to believe that the young Sabres may have a leg-up on some of their competition.

"It's a lot of mental training. I don't know if it's as much a hockey player as it was a person," Luke Adam explained. "They said 'we're not training you from the neck down; we're training you from the neck up.'"

The rigors of being a professional athlete can be difficult when you consider that they work for approximately 250 days of the year with very few breaks if you include the playoffs. Navy SEALs, on the other hand, are under constant pressure and require incredible stamina in doing their jobs, and their mental conditioning helps them deal with this pressure. By providing it to the Sabres, the SEALs may deserve a little credit in the success that the Sabres experience this year, especially if one of the young Sabres has a breakout year.

Good on the Buffalo Sabres for looking outside the box when it comes to development camp. While including Navy SEAL training may be a little unorthodox, the payoff could be very good for the Sabres.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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