Play fast without being fast: The importance of hockey IQ

Processing speed matters too.

Everyone is obsessed with explosive speed but rarely do you see anyone focused on processing speed. Players just want to get faster and coaches constantly push this perception that the answer to players’ problems is their lack of explosive speed. This is the number #1 request I get from players and parents. Sadly, this is another overused and misunderstood concept filled with half truths which only leads to confusing players.

How many times have you heard this?

  • “It’s all about your first three steps.”
  • “Speed kills.”
  • “You need to work on your explosive speed.”
  • “You don’t have enough fast twitch.”
  • “You need to get more explosive.”

These are blanket statements that rarely solve the problem and lead to players working really hard with minimal results. This is especially true when players ask how to get more explosive and the answer given is “do a bunch of sprints.”

This breakaway goal by Joe Pavelski from the 2020 Stanley Cup Final is a perfect example of processing speed versus explosive speed.

Let’s break it down, starting from Pavelski’s early recognition in the defensive zone:

Processing speed matters too . . .



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Mason Baptista

My name is Mason Baptista and I'm the founder of BapsHockey. A player-coach, I'm currently in my sixth year of pro hockey. I specialize in hockey IQ development and personalized programming for players. I teach the importance of IQ and how it can allow individuals to apply the skills they have while creating unique competitive advantages. Hockey IQ is the next frontier in hockey development and we're here to show you how to access this new way of training.

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