How to Bring Out the Best in Athletes - 9 Things I Learned From LA Kings’ Coach Matt Price
Last week I had the privilege to join my colleague and mentor Ali Ghelem on a visit to the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup winners, LA Kings. We met up with Strength & Conditioning Coach Matt Price at The Toyota Sports Center in Los Angeles, California.
The purpose of our three-day-visit was to brainstorm and practice different methods, and demonstrate movements on their newly purchased Quantum 1080 machine.
The Quantum 1080 is the most accurate and versatile system available on the market for quantifying the factors of force, speed, power and endurance of any functional movement pattern. Imagine what a machine like this can do for athletes of extreme sports like ice hockey! The Quantum 1080 has been developed by Ali and his Athletic 1080 team. I am sure you will see and hear a lot about the team at 1080 motion in the future.
Back to Matt Price.. Matt was an inspiring new acquaintance, a true role model and a competent and skilful coach. His winning mentality is so strong you can almost touch it in the air! He’s always concerned with what’s best for his athletes and the team.
Matt taught me 9 important things about bringing out the best in a team or an athlete. Here they are:
- Keep a balance. With 82 games within a regular season and on top of that long distance travels, time zone adaptation and other considerations and preparations, it is important to be well-prepared in order to keep each individual player healthy, balanced and injury-free.
- Do regular check-ups. It is important to do effective screenings and tests to rehabilitate every kind of injury that a season causes.
- Organisation and planning is key. The coach is not just a trainer - good organisation, teamwork and planning is key. If you can't manage this, you will never reach your goals.
- Don’t skip strength training. It is important to maintain strength during the season - strength is the mother of all qualities - eventhough this can be hard as there is never much time left.
- Don’t overtrain. Find time for recovery and more time for practicing the sport. It’s important that the coach observes players so they are not overtrained.
- Fit in time for adaptation and progression. The off-season is the time when the strength & condition coach introduces higher intensity work like strength training, power training, hypertrophy or whatever the goal is for each individual player. The tricky part is to fit in the time for adaptation and progressions.
- Effective training is crucial. Smart training gives the highest output on the lowest input (this is where Quantum 1080 steps into the game).
- Always stay ahead of the game. Effective training is also about constantly learning new things.
- Stay hungry and stay humble!