Dryland Training a Focus for Acres

Parksville-Qualicum News

August 14, 2007

THE PRONE SIDE Bridge exercise isn’t pleasant, but it works.


Oceanside’s own Henry Acres, he of the successful European hockey career, was back home this month for the fifth annual summer camp that bears his name, and this year’s installment also saw him putting his young charges through their paces in a new dryland camp held at OMS.

“(We had) a great turnout this year and I have plans for expansion next summer, with different age groups and camp options,” said Acres, who then made the point in terms of the dryland, “the guys work hard but also have a fair bit of fun.”

“Dryland has and will continue to be a major portion of the program,” Acres said, adding he has, and always will be, a big believer in the important role dryland training plays in the development of young hockey players.

All of the stabilizer muscles used during skating he explains are put to work during his dryland workouts; 95 per cent of the exercises he employs are hockey specific.

“If you have seen Sidney Crosby skate, his agility came from doing this type of training since age 10, along with the countless hours of basic skill training he has put in to make him the player he has become.”

Along with the physical changes that are developed, Acres points out the mental strength and focus required to complete the exercises breeds self confidence.

This year Acres Hockey Training penciled in participants ranging in age from 13 to 34, from all over the Island, the Mainland and as far away as Alberta, Washington and California. Over the years, Acres Hockey School has had students from Sweden and Germany.

In the mix this year were midget aged, to players with BCHL, WHL, NCAA and pro experience including 14-year-pro, Shane Peacock, from Nanaimo, who has attended NHL training camps and has played in Germany’s top league for 10 years.

Broken into two separate camps, Acres Hockey Training saw the players put through two hour dryland sessions. Eighteen players signed on for the dryland sessions, and 20, the maximum, for the week long ice sessions.

As for next year, Acres says he’s planning a more typical hockey school day schedule for younger participants broken into two age groups — 9 to 11 and 12 to 14 — under the Foundation for Success Program.

The youngest group will focus on the European model of individual basic skill development (skating, passing, stick-handling, and shooting) while the older group will still focus on this skill set while also building towards the adaptation to his Elite Program.

The Elite Program (Midget, Jr, College, Pro) will still be offered in a separate week in the evening time slot it was in this season. AHT 2008 is tentatively scheduled for mid-late July 2008.

Acres heads back to Sweden today (Tuesday) for training camp with Asploven HC where he’ll also be helping school the area’s young players. For more information check out www.acreshockey.com.