Quick Test for Young Athlete Potential

Thomas I agree fully!!! Hockey is very difficult to test off ice for…especially at Junior age guys usually 16-20-21 yeard olds, Not sure if they still have it but in the WHL they have Bantam draft which is 15-16 year olds so if that is the age you are testing it might be difficult to really say that if they bench a certain number or squat a certain number then they are good players…potential at that age is just beginning…Also a key point to ask you friend is what they are looking for…what I mean is do they need a goal scorer, grinder/powerforward, or enforcer…goal scorers ( finess types) are usually smaller guys that are not going to be as heavy or as strong,look at Watne Gretzky…he could barely bench like 135…or a goalie…Most of the goalies I have played with have been really weak in the upper body…All I am trying to get at is that one universal test will be very difficult…maybe if you had a set group of tests and then you could predict what type of player that guy might be…if he is squatting 45lbs and benching 45lbs chances are he better be a skilled player or else he is gonna get killed!! Also like Thomas said you really cannot tell with tests what kind of player they will be…two players I can think of off the top of my head might be Mike Peca and Mathew Barnaby…Peca weighs like 170 and I have seen him lay out guys like 220, and Barnaby was a skilled player in the QMJHL but in the NHL the only way they would let him on the ice was to fight, he might be 180 MIGHT BE, but he throws with the best of em’. Sorry for the bable… :smiley:
P.S. I’ve heard that Mario Lemieux used to smoke in between periods!!! He probably would score low on a max Vo2 test :stuck_out_tongue:

Ok so pretty much nobody has any quick tests for upperbody power.

It all basically boils down to how they are on the ice, if they can skate or have skill, grind or fight or whatever.

If a coach or a scout looks at a kid on the ice he has a good idea what the kid plays like and how he’d play if he were on their team.

My friend likes to get an idea if the kid is at his full potential or if there’s a lot of room for improvement. Some kids play well at a certain pace but when that pace or tempo is raised they can’t handle it. Their nervous system can’t keep up at that tempo so that player can continue to excell. They would fall back to the middle of the pack.

So a question about a 15 year old that’s 5’5" and 140 pounds. If he has an unreal vert and can bench 135 for 10 then he might get a closer look. They want to have an idea what this kid looks like with their shirt off (no pervs) and if the kid looks really lean and muscular or looks like that German exchange student Uter from the Simpsons.

Just a little something extra. Some guys figure the more in shape kid has a better work ethic and would be more dedicated as well. Stuff like that.

As far as the Dub team I can’t remember, maybe Prince Albert?

As far as Barnaby’s brigade goes, I love that kid, he had 42 points with Buffalo one year playing under Ted Nolan.

As far as height goes, I totally agree. These dipshit scouts aren’t looking at a lot of these kids unless when looking at their height it starts with a 6. Stupid.

While we’re on the topic of the WHL…

I can’t believe how bad that league has gotten. I’d didn’t use to remember it being that bush league… But, really… what can you expect on the ice when your players are playing as rediculous number of games with barely any rest days. Also, most hockey coaches are such idiots that they skate they’re players hard the only days they have off. Man, those bag skates sure are fun and productive!!

Plook, Unfortunately six foot is the cut off now…most teams keep one or two small guys for the powerplay :smiley: …Best player on Halifax when I was there got sent to the minors after one day in Vancouvers training camp cause he was 5’6(better than Tanguay and Nagy, in my opinion)…anyway I think for the upper body maybe you could do a med ball toss for distance??? The reason for this is that the upper body in hockey needs to be explosive but you do not want a lot of xtra mass that could slow them down…I know you need good forearm strength for shooting/stickhandling and or squeezing the water bottles if you sit on the bench a lot…I remember seeing a picture of one of the best shooter ever Bobby Hull after he had retired from hockey working on his farm balin’hay, hit forearms looked like Popeye!!! Uck uck uck!!! Toot toot! :cool:

Plook I have read the sprint speed and Vertical Jump are related to skating speed…so I would definatley add in a VJ test and maybe a sprint test if you can…maybe also a squat test!!

I still have that photo of Bobby Hull and it was when he was still playing. The reason I know this is because he didn’t have his rug yet.

What was the name of the player that got sent down. Lubomir Vaic? That kid rocked but was so small.

I will do the standing long and vert test and for upper body will do the med ball push.

The test will just be rough but will give a good idea when later looking at overall speed on the ice and explosiveness.

I think the whole idea is not to use the test as a final score but something to backup observations on the ice. Or contradict. Lol.

As far as bag skating goes… what can you say?We all had to do it at one point in time. If I ever see coaches do it, I ask them if they are trying to turn their hockey players into endurance speed skaters. They usually get hint.

On the topic of midgets who were good hockey players…

Brandon Reid of the Canucks used to be a very explosive, high power/bodyweight ratio player. Then one year he decided to put on about 15 lbs of upperbody mass(which slowed him down)and he hasn’t seen a shift in the NHL since.

They want to have an idea what this kid looks like with their shirt off

Don’t judge the ability by a physique.
Is it a bodybuilding contest or a hockey game?

Two bad bodies that come to mind right away are Wendel Sukow who was world champion in luge in I believe '94. When I met him at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY he was wearing one of those 8" black fabric lifting belts you see guys wearing in Home Depot.
I thought he was a custodian looking to empty trashcans. Didn’t look like an athlete at all but had a world championship medal.

The other is former NHL’er Keith Jones who played for the Philadelphia Flyers and the Colorado Avalanche. I’m in the Flyers workout facility and Jones is getting ready to jump into the full body whirlpool. He had the body of a ten y.o. boy. But he ran his mouth and got under guys skin in the league and made a career out of it.

As far as testing goes I like a close-grip BP for hockey players as far as testing UB strength to gauge a level of strength or fitness, but it’s no indicator of how they can put the puck in the net.


No idea, how do you personally judge a young athlete’s potential? Lol at the fitness test 3/4 through the season.


Blinky Brandon Ried was the best hockey player I ever played with, Vancouver cut him his first year, after like a day at camp, that was the year they brought in the sedin twins…he was amazing in juniors!!! I do not really follow it closely anyomre, if you remember Martin St. Louis could barely get into the NHL after college, this is the best player in the league, he was 28 by the time they actually gave him ice time!!! Rember what calgary did to him??? The height thing is a joke in my opinion, imaging in St. Louis got in the league at 20 and played a lot all that time he would have 5 MVP’s under his belt!!! Anyway enough of my pathetic bitching…
PLOOK here is an article I found, not sure if it helps but it maybe stir some line of attack!!!

Training For Better Hockey
Testing Your Athletes
By Ed Kubachka MS, CSCS

 Fitness testing should be an integral part of hockey programs at all levels of play.  In the pre-season, and periodically throughout the season, the players should be tested on physical attributes that are important for success in ice hockey.  Initial and periodic fitness testing provides the players and their coaches with an excellent indication of their current level of hockey fitness. 

 There are many purposes and benefits of fitness testing.  First, initial testing in the pre-season informs the coaches and the players of their strengths and weaknesses.  If a player is weak in a certain area, his or her training program can be structured or adjusted to improve the identified weakness.  Second, initial testing can assist a coach in the team selection process.  A players performance level in pre-season testing can indicate both his amount of off-season preparation and dedication, and his potential for success, very important information for a coach.  Another benefit of initial testing in the pre-season, is that it provides the players with added incentive to train during the off-season, as they know that they will be tested.  Initial testing also provides a baseline value or starting point, to which coaches and players can refer to for information later on in the season. 

 Periodic testing throughout the season also serves many purposes and benfits.  First, in-season testing allows for progress to be monitored and training adjustments to be made accordingly.  If a players scores are declining, or not continuing to gradually improve above the baseline scores attained in the pre-season, this is an indication that either the player is fatigued and perhaps may be over-training, or the player is not putting the effort he or she should be into their in-season training.  Second, periodic testing also provides the players with added incentive to continue to train throughout the season, knowing that they will be re-tested.  A third benefit, is that the athletes, if training, will get a boost of self-confidence at each testing session as they see their scores improve.  This increased confidence will provide the athlete with incentive to continue to train, and will carry over onto the ice as well.  For these numerous reasons, it is important that fitness testing be part of all hockey programs. 

 Even more important then whether or not fitness testing is part of your program, is what tests you are actually using.  Due to the expense of ice and limited ice time, fitness testing may be best done off the ice.  It is imperative that the tests administered are specific to the demands of the sport.  In other words, the tests should measure athletic attributes that are important for success in ice hockey.  The players are going to train to perform well in the testing sessions.  If the tests do not measure attributes important for hockey then the players will not be deriving much benefit from the training, and the results will provide little infomation. 

While a 5 mile run, pullups, and the bench press may have been popular tests in the past, none of these tests measure attributes important for success in ice hockey.  The 5 mile run measures aerobic capacity.  Never in hockey will an athlete go straight ahead, at a low to moderate intensity for a long period of time.  In fact, the aerobic energy system is utilized less than 80% of the time in hockey.  The anaerobic energy system is the primary system used in hockey, and thus it should be tested.  To test the anaerobic system, all you need is two cones placed 20 yards apart.  Have the athletes run up and back six times (240 yard shuttle run) and time them.  After a two minute rest have the players repeat the drill.  The time from both trials, as well as the drop-off from the first to second trial should be noted.  This test will determine which players have the highest, and lowest, hockey- specific endurance. 

  The bench press and pullups measure chest and upper back strength, respectively.  Unfortunately, neither attribute is important for success in ice hockey.  The incline bench press or military press, because they involve the shoulders and the triceps, would be upper body strength tests more specific to hockey, and a better indication of hockey success. 

 All programs should include the standing broad jump in their testing protocal.  The standing broad jump measures lower body power (explosive strength), the single most important athletic attribute for ice hockey.  Coaches can get an excellent indication of who has the potential to be a successful player from this test.  The players with the most power have the potential to be the best players.  With good coaching and practice, the players that jump the farthest should shoot the hardest, skate the fastest, stop the fastest, change direction quickest, and hit the hardest.  Players wanting to jump farther will train using strength and plyometric training emphasizing the lower body musculature.  As a result of proper training, the athletes will subsequently jump farther, and more importantly their on-ice performance will improve. 

 A fourth test important for hockey players is a lateral change of direction agility test.  This test can also be implemented simply and cheaply.  For this test, all you need is three cones in a straight line.  The distance apart is not critical, only that the distance is consistent from test to test.  I like to space the three cones ten yards apart.  The player starts at the center cone facing forward.  At the command of go, the athlete turns, crosses over and sprints ten yards to the cone at the right.  Upon touching that cone, the player changes direction and sprints 20 yards, past the center cone, all the way to the cone at the left.  After touching that cone, the athlete finishes by sprinting back past the center cone.  This test is very specific to the demands of a player on the ice. 

 There are many benefits of initial and periodic testing.  The tests must be consistent, and most importantly, must be specific to the demands of ice hockey.

“The anaerobic energy system is the primary system used in hockey, and thus it should be tested”

I don’t really agree with that one. I’d have to say that short term power output makes up about 80% of the game.

Good article though. Another good test for defensemen is a standing side jump from one leg and landing on the other. A decent indicator for some lateral power.

As far as Brandon Reid goes, if he’s really 5’9" (height and weight are often inflated) then there is no way he’s too small for the league.

Ok so it took me awhile but I found my resource for the jump while reading through my “Supertraining” book

The chart looks like this

Mean dynamic start Vertical Jump for Olympic Weightlilfters

Class of Lifter Vertical Jump cm

Novice 57.3
Class III 58.1
Class II 65.3
Class I 67.8
Master Of Sport 72.3
Elite 85.5

Ok so I don’t know what Class I-III actually means but I figure novice would be a good place to start for a 14 year old hockey player.

On a side note, I spoke with one of my buddies who was talking with his friend who is the head SCC at the Univeristy of Minnesota and he has a shotputter that’s 6’3" I think and 270 lb that has a vert of over 40" !!! He’s also white. Go figure.

Plook, are you still helping your friend scout? If so, was any of your testing taken into account for the recent Bantam draft?

Since this thread was started 2 years ago, have you found any correlation between the tests you’ve done and how the players have eventually performed in the league? Have you changed your approach to the testing? Any tests added or eliminated?

Great questions.

Well as far as the Bantam Draft went, I had one of my kids drafted in the second round by the Vancouver Giants. This kid is unreal as an athlete and a person.

As far as the testing goes, I didn’t really ever need to get to scientific with it but when I did the testing last fall I did a few tests. The standing jump wasn’t one for the lack of a proper wall to jump to. But we did a 30 meter sprint and low and behold the fastest sprinters were the fastest skaters on the team if you can believe it. I did a med ball throw 2kg and 4kg for the second year boys and that was just a general indicator for upper body strength/power. You could see who struggled and who didn’t. You can also see who tries hard, who takes it seriously and who competes.

As far as my testing goes, I’ll keep the sprint the medball throw but get a wall/beam somewhere to do it. I think it is a test that says a lot about an athlete wherever power is neccesary.

On a side note, last week I went to a seminar with some people from Pacificsport and they are going to set up for some free testing of athletes in the middle of next month. I think the only tests I’m going to have my boys do are the 30 meter sprint, jump and VO2 max test (just for fun).

One of the points one of the preseters brought up was the fact that there’s so many tests out there you can do but what do you do with all the data once you get it? I think the best way is to look at the player on the ice, take some notes and compare your notes with the test results.

I agree fully with this setiment. The analysis of data is where the ball is usually dropped (or purposely skewed :mad: ). There are a lot of analysis methods though, if one is willing to find them. (Although if the test is held haphazardly or tests the wrong factor, no analysis will be able to save it).

Personally i think that testing is useful for highlighting areas of improvement (as long as it is used intellegently) Especially when an athlete’s score is significantly lower than their peers.


What are all the tests PacificSport plans on doing? Who and what are they testing for?

More questions regarding testing…

Have you ever found any correlation between off-ice agility tests and on-ice agility? I imagine if the athletes have adequate skating skills, as with sprints, the most agile athletes off-ice will be so on-ice. Do you feel it’s necessary to test? Being as you frequently hear about athletes who are fast in a straight line but not so fast as soon as they have to turn.

What do you feel about testing aerobic or anaerobic conditioning as a means to determine athletic potential? Or is it more for determining the athlete’s dedication to and/or the quality of their training program?

I’m not sure what PacificSport has in plans or really what they do, lol. I just went to this thing last week and liked who came to speak but I think they provide stuff to competitive kids in all sports. Really I haven’t seen what they do. They do have good intentions from what I’ve seen so far. Lol.

The only test for agility I’ve ever done is the 3 cones 5m apart. Start in the middle and go to one side then to the other then back to the middle. It gives a time and it’s something to look at but I don’t know how concrete it is.

If athletes are fast in a straight line they are usually fast period unless they have crap starts and first 2-3 steps then a standing jump would probably show that. Also a 30 meter test would show a crap start as well.

Anaerobic and Aerobic potential would be good in sports that predominantly use those fuel systems. For Basketball, hockey, baseball and football, I don’t think that would make a star athlete. Like you said dedication and hard work will take you further than any potential.