Today we welcome our final presenter for The 2017 Seminar, CoachMe Plus Sports Performance Specialist and Founding Coach, Doug McKenney. We couldn’t be more excited to have a man with the wealth of knowledge from such an extensive career in the NHL here to bat leadoff this July!
JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about you, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications.
DM: Like so many other strength and conditioning coaches, I had some great mentors and friends who have had a huge impact on me from when I was a competitive athlete to the present. Many of these guys became high profile S&C coaches at the professional level and others are the athletes I have had the privilege of working with.
As an athlete at Springfield College, I learned a great deal about training for sport. It was eye opening. I had never been exposed to organized resistance training, nutrition, and speed and power development. I was motivated to become a better athlete through what I was learning. I was intrigued by the personal adaptations to the many training advances introduced to me.
I went on to get a Master’s degree in exercise physiology (MSU) so that I could continue to fully understand the needs of the training/competitive athlete. I was fortunate to be offered a job as the S&C coach for a club in the NHL and remained in the league for 30 years. Over that time I created my own player-tracking methods, utilizing the most advanced devices available for measuring mechanical and physiological data to create highly-individualized programs for each athlete.
My player tracking practices steadily evolved from manual data entry and analysis in the early years, to a sophisticated mobile platform developed with and by CoachMePlus. I now work with CoachMePlus as Founding Coach/Sports Performance specialist and have the opportunity to share my experiences with Coaches interested in advancing their Sports Performance programs.
JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the
United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.
DM: There would be two things:
1. Athlete testing, assessment, evaluations performed by sports performance/strength staffs are not utilized to advance the development of the individual athlete. In most cases, I see it used as a method for ranking, team averages so they can say they have improved as a team. There is a lot of information gathered that is not useful for establishing individualized programs that lead to improved athletic development.
Correction: Perform testing specifically designed to evaluate the individual athlete so you can effectively help them improve in areas of weakness. Let’s be honest…this is simple but generally not being done.
2. We all know the critical value of nutrition/hydration to training, performance, and health, yet we still fail to adequately enhance that position with administrators and athletes.
Correction: Establish a culture that educates the athlete on a daily basis. Occasional speakers, handouts, the typical Carb Up bark or make sure you get your fluids at the end of practice or workouts is not working. We need a structured approach that hits the athlete in the face every day. A lot of teams are tasked with feeding and hydrating the athletes daily so we should organize and control the environment in an effort to educate the athlete.
JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?
DM: Personally, for young students and practitioners in the field, I think this is easier than it has ever been. With podcasts, blogs, on-line seminars, conferences, internships endlessly available, along with the traditional review of literature. The bigger issue is choosing the coaches that strive for evidence based principles/practices. The best way to do that is read the most recent studies and reach out and communicate with as many coaches actively in the field.
JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The
DM: The title is Hockey Measurements and Analysis
Sharing the many experiences I have had over the 30 years as a strength & conditioning coach in the National Hockey League. The differences between working with coaches and athletes in the 80’s -90’s -2000-2015. The impact technology has had and how it has helped coaches more effectively train athletes.
JD: Any closing thoughts?
DM: As coaches, I believe we are called to be servant leaders. Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring environment. I work to seek out opinions, learn and share with others. Leaders cultivate a culture of trust. I have challenged myself to live by that while coaching thousands of athletes and coaches over the last 30 years. Educating and pushing athletes while demonstrating encouragement, motivation, kindness and compassion has been my approach. Future leaders will learn to lead by the example of those who act with humility and live a life of moral character.
Who is Doug McKenney:
Longtime National Hockey League strength and conditioning coach, Doug McKenney became the first, full-time head strength and conditioning coach in the NHL when he began a four- season tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1985. In 1989, he moved to work with the Hartford Whalers, serving in the same capacity for the next six seasons. In July of 1995, McKenney was named the Buffalo Sabres’ first-ever Strength and Conditioning Coach and was instrumental in the development of young and veteran players, steadily improving the performance levels for the team throughout a 20-year tenure. His success can be measured by the impressive consistency of his team finishing near the top in the least amount of man-games-lost category throughout his NHL career.
Over his 30-year tenure with the NHL, McKenney employed player-tracking systems, utilizing the most advanced devices available for measuring mechanical and physiological data to create highly- individualized programs for each athlete. McKenney’s player tracking systems steadily evolved from manual data entry and analysis in the early years, to a sophisticated mobile platform. In 2011, McKenney worked with M2Synergies to develop the software necessary to transform the delivery of his programs from a website format to an early rendition of what eventually was developed into the CoachMePlus* system. Combined with the information technology expertise of the M2Synergies team, McKenney’s vision of a high-tech method for data-management was born. CoachMePlus, first and currently utilized by the Buffalo Sabres, has now been widely adopted by many amateur, college, and professional sports teams across the country.
In October 2015, McKenney joined the CoachMePlus staff as Sports Performance Specialist/Founding Coach. Drawing on the many years of experience training elite hockey athletes, McKenney brings intuitive industry knowledge from a unique experience to the growing company whose athlete data-management operating system is working with teams across the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and NCAA. Additionally, McKenney has established LeanFitStrong Consulting, LLC, a sports performance consulting business designed to offer guidance for professional and college sports teams relating to their desire to achieve the cutting-edge advantage over competitors. McKenney’s LeanFitStrong © philosophy places a special emphasis on teaching athletes about: the crucial relationship between healthy nutritional practice and body composition; strength and power attainment; and sport-specific conditioning. His focus on the relationship between proper hydration/energy-repletion practices and maximizing performance capability / reduction of injury risk, has become signature to his approach for elite sport performance. McKenney’s extensive applied-physiology knowledge informs the solid foundation for his philosophy by combining research-relevant justifications with various data from player-tracking. McKenney’s practical application of sport science can help an organization understand the tremendous value of effective collaboration and appropriate coordination amongst existing professionals serving the team’s medical/physiological/coaching needs.
* CoachMePlus was founded to meet the growing demands of the sports science and sports performance industry. It has been transforming the world of applied sport-science data-integration ever since. The centralized system brings a level of sophistication to tracking athlete information like no other. A company grounded on expertise, innovation, and client services,
CoachMePlus is the go-to system for over 50 professional and collegiate athletic teams and 35,000 athletes, tracking over 7 million data points. CoachMePlus is headquartered in Buffalo, NY with offices in New York City. For more information visit www.coachmeplus.com.
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