Through technology, Islanders players can communicate with the coaching staff and improve their offseason workouts from anywhere
Islanders players have a whole new way of training this offseason.
With players hailing from around the world, it used to be a challenge for the training staff to communicate with the team during the summer months. Now, players can access instructions for their individualized workouts through an interactive, on-line program run by the Islanders strength and conditioning staff.
In addition to entering stats for each exercise such as weight, reps and time into the online system, players are sending their workout videos to the strength coaches for critique. After studying the workout, the trainers send back instructions on how to improve everything from form to pace.
Director of Sports Performance Sean Donellan believes that the technology in place allows players to get the most out of their workouts year-round.
“Coaching is teaching,” Donellan said. “In order for me to teach, I have to be able to see. What’s been really nice for us this summer is getting the video feed back from the guys so that I can see what they’re doing. I can’t fix it if I can’t see it.”
After the Islanders season ended on April 7, most players had about two weeks to unwind and charge their batteries. By April 20, that break was over, and new workouts were in place.
The programs start slow but pick up in intensity as the summer progresses.
“The early part of the program was rehabilitative and restorative in nature,” Donellan said. “Our goal is to get their bodies recovered from the season.”
While the players are all working to get bigger, faster and stronger, each athlete has his own personalized program depending upon age and medical history.
At 22 years old, Josh Bailey is one of the younger players on the roster, allowing the staff to add more volume to his workouts, which target his athleticism.
“Josh is a very good natural athlete,” Donellan said. “One of the things we have to focus on is to re-program these guys on how to be the athletes they used to be. One of the reasons these guys made it here in the NHL is because they were more athletic than their junior teammates. We’re trying to improve his movement skills and improve his overall strength and power to body weight ratio, while also letting his body mature.”
Almost three months into his offseason regimen, Bailey has noticed a difference.
“Once you buy into the program, you start to see the results,” Bailey said. “You know what you’re going to get in the workout every day. The last 15 minutes are the toughest and it can be pretty easy to shut it down but those are the times you just have to grind through it and give it your all.”
Donellan spends time refining and scrutinizing each player’s exercises. He watches the videos to make sure players like Bailey are getting the most out of their workouts.
“There are a lot of different exercises to improve your speed and agility,” Bailey said. “A lot of it is very technical and really strict on movements. All of the little things that will make your stride better and loosen up your hips are emphasized.”
Donellan pointed out that while the older players do many of the same exercises as their younger teammates, there are key differences.
“While the methodology is consistent, volume and exercise selection are altered,” Donellan said. “The younger guys need more time under the bar and under tension than the older guys do.”
Goaltenders are a whole different case because they rely on different skill sets and muscle groups. Their workouts fulfill those needs.
“With the goalies, they are in their crease all the time, so there is much more lateral and multi-directional movement work,” Donellan said. “They don’t really have the component of linear speed.”
Donellan's offseason program runs through the start of Islanders Training Camp in September, when he transitions the team into his in-season regimen. So although the players won’t all be under one roof for several weeks, they can still train as if there is a coach right there with them.