Every hockey coach wants to make his players better. There are always new drills and workouts to help his or her players develop better skills and fitness, but there haven’t been many developments in training the most important tool a player could have in his or her arsenal: hockey sense.
Enter The Hockey IntelliGym, created by Applied Cognitive Engineering in partnership with USA Hockey.
A software-based program initially designed to help fighter pilots improve cognitive skills necessary for combat, The Hockey IntelliGym aims to train hockey players’ brains to think better, faster and, in turn, make better decisions on the ice.
Jacob Mars, a USA Hockey Level 5 certified coach, was an early fan of The Hockey IntelliGym as one of the first individuals to test the program while it was still in development.
As head coach of the Oz Fitness AAA U16 team based in Billings, Mont., Mars has implemented The Hockey IntelliGym as part of the training for his players.
“Hockey sense is really the one thing, as a coach, I have a tough time teaching,” said Mars, who also works with the Billings Bulls Junior hockey team.
“When there’s a program out there that has shown great results in warfare and in sport, that’s what we have to bring to the table. It’ll give us a leg up on the competition. It’s going to show the players we’re serious about training all aspects of their game. Most importantly, it’s a way for the players to work on their individual game on their own and show improvement.”
Designed as a video game, The Hockey IntelliGym software presents challenges to the player in ways that will stimulate the brain processes needed on the ice. Based on the player’s performance, statistics are accumulated in order for both the player and coach to track progress.
After enduring extensive testing with players at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, The Hockey IntelliGym has shown the ability to improve players’ on-ice performance significantly.
Since the NTDP adopted The Hockey Intelligym as part of its training regimen during the 2009-10 season, the U.S. has captured three straight IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship titles.
Ice hockey has evolved in many ways, and there are many tools at a coach’s disposal to keep his or her players evolving along with it. The Hockey IntelliGym offers its users a completely new way to develop a skill once thought untrainable to give them the edge on the ice and in the stat column.
To learn more about The Hockey IntelliGym, visit TheHockeyIntelliGym.com.