USA Hockey Magazine

September 2018

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28 // SEPTEMBER 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM PHOTOS BY Getty Images W e a l l r e m e m b e r t h e s c e n e in the movie 'Miracle' where ' D o c ' N a g o b a d s w a s u s i n g a s t o p w a t c h t o t i m e s h i f t lengths in the Soviet Union game and reporting back to Herb Brooks. That was a true depiction of what happened on the U.S. bench that day in Lake Placid, N.Y. The 1980 gold medal-winning team was built in large part on tremendous anaerobic conditioning, and short shift lengths that allowed U.S. players to sustain a pace even higher than that of their Soviet counterparts, and other teams in 1980 Olympics. "Herbie said to me, 'The only way we can survive and maybe even beat them will be if we can keep fresh legs,'" Nagobads recalled. "'And that means short shifts.'" S o N a g o b a d s st o o d n e xt t o B r o o k s o n the bench, clicking the stopwatch as his coach instructed. "He didn't want them just to be out there for 40 seconds," Nagobads said. "He wanted them to play for 40 seconds, so I was stopping and starting the watch all the time. I was next to him, and I would say, 'Herbie, 30 sec- onds! Herbie, 35 seconds! Herbie, 40 seconds already!' [The Soviets] were not expecting us to keep up with them in the third period, but we did." Hockey is an anaerobic sport. Optimally, hockey players play at high-sprint speeds, over the short interval of a shift, and repeat this through a period and an entire game. This was proven to us last season with our University of Minnesota men's hockey team. The Gophers scored 92 goals in 38 games, 66 of which were '5-on-5' even strength. We gave up 89 goals, 59 of which were '5-on-5' even strength. Reflecting on the season's goal scoring data, and the idea that a 45 second shift or less is ideal, it was observed: • 55 of the 66 '5-on-5' even- strength goals scored—83.33 percent—occurred on shifts of length :45 seconds or less by the goal scorer. Early in shifts the player or players were 'fresh' and full of energy. • 29 of the 59 goals against — 49.15 percent, or nearly half — were on shifts of length greater than :45 seconds by some key players or the entire unit. Perhaps the shift was 'too long ' and anaerobic fatigue began to set in. Or it became a broken shift when all play- ers couldn't change at the same time. Or a couple players got caught in the defensive zone too long. Every team's data will differ. It might be interesting to chart your team's goals for and against and compare it to shift length data this season. By keeping shifts lengths shorter: • All players can 'roll shifts' throughout the game. • All players are engaged and involved with team strategy and success. • More players play more hockey, which is great for development. • Goals against—on long shifts, with broken units on the ice—should decrease due to fewer of these type of shifts. • Errors and player breakdowns from fatigue can be reduced. • Goals for—on short shifts with more energy—should increase, something that is more enjoyable and related to team success. Teams and players committed to shorter shifts will play more shifts, with energized players, and the play of individuals and the team as a whole will improve. P Jo h n H a m re i s a f o r m e r c o a c h with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and the cur- rent director of Hockey Operations at the University of Minnesota. Jay Campbell is a longtime USA Hockey and Minnesota high school coach. Looking At The Impact Of Average Shift Lengths On A Team's Success 28 // SEPTEMBER 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM ALL PLAYERS ARE ENGAGED AND INVOLVED WITH TEAM STRATEGY AND SUCCESS. By John Hamre and Jay Campbell SHORT SWEET and

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