SMALL TALK WITH THE NEW STAFF
By Jason Lockhart
(Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) Graham Black, the Islanders' new strength and condition coach, brings 13 years of training experience to Long Island for the 2006-07 season. He recently opened his own strength and conditioning clinic called the Max Health Institute where he trains more than 100 athletes from various sports. Black comes to the Islanders after working with Ted Nolan in Moncton for the Memorial Cup finalist Wildcats.
"Things went extremely well last year in Moncton," said Black. "We had a great team and that's why it's good to be working with Ted again."
As the strength and conditioning, Black is in charge of getting the Islanders in tip-top shape for the upcoming season and getting the players to use his and Nolan's routine.
"Since I'm new here, I don't know how any of the players train; I don't know any of their background. This week I need to find out who the players are, where they come from and how they train."
Black did so by sitting down with each player throughout the week and going over his and Ted's system.
"We need to teach these guys mine and Ted's philosophy on training. The game is about speed and puck movement, and that's how we train our players. I just want to make sure the players buy into the system that we're trying to sell to them. I call this sort of training hockey conditioning because it's extremely specific sort of training. I don't think it will be a tough adjustment for the players to buy into our system compared to previous habits they might have had."
Just by watching his daily interactions with the players, you can tell that Black is as conscientious as anyone when it comes to being in touch with the players and their workout.
"It's important to get the players to understand why they should buy into the system," said Black. "A lot of people train their players, but don't really tell them why they do it or what they're doing. Often times players don't really know why they're doing things, they just do it. It's good to have everyone on the same wavelength."