The newest frontier in elite hockey training is ‘all between the ears’
I t follows that a sport obsessed with speed would eventually find itself taken with training focused on reacting and processing as quickly as possible. And yet, to much of the hockey world, approaches like Takano’s are still fairly novel, Gabriel says.
“I think the higher [into the elite echelons of the game] you go, it’s more known, but it’s just still a new frontier,” he says of cognitive training. “It’s still ingrained to just do the physical aspect of the sport.”
For Jobst, part of the decision to dive into this training, even this late in his career, was his belief that this type of work will soon become the norm across the game.
“As far as training goes, you know, you’re trying to get an advantage over your competition. That’s really what it boils down to. I’m sure before long, if you’re not doing this then you’re going to fall behind. It’s the same thing with shooting pucks in your driveway, it was the same thing with if you didn’t have a power-skating coach, and the same thing with working out. Those are all necessities, basically, if you want to make it to the next level.”
It’s a distant leap from the type of training Jobst and Gabriel were brought up on. Getting a taste of this new world now, they can’t help but let their minds wander to the impact cognitive training would’ve had on their own development had it been around earlier.
“If you’re learning to see and process the game, and use your eyes and how to manipulate people with your eyes and your head at such a young age, it’s just going to become so much more natural as you get older,” Jobst says. “It’s just going to be second nature.”