continued from page 4
However, problems for the average
high school competitor don't really
matter because the scholarship
players are often much better than
the average high school
"When you come to this league,
you got a lot more people at the
same level," Plocki said. "So any
time you have weight training to
get bigger, stronger, you gain an
In the case of Michigan guard
Kirk Taylor, working out is not a
case of gaining an advantage; it is
done just to be able to play. On
February 11, 1989, Taylor tore
knee ligaments in a game against
Minnesota, sidelining him for 18
months. He had to wait over six
months before he could even step
on the court and dribble again. Last
December, Taylor finally returned
to the same starting position he
held in the Minnesota game.
"In high-intensity sports, the
majority of the people who have
his injury return," Michigan trainer
David Ralston said. "The key is
not the surgery. It's the
rehabilitation that's really the
Despite the fact that ligaments
are missing and there is some scar
tissue left, Taylor feels his knee is
functioning at 100 percent. He has
his own weight set, with which he
works his knee three times a week
to keep it strong.
"Kirk is somebody you have to
push to do it because now that he is
recovered, he thinks he's better,"
trainer typically sees a player
needing care for a bruise, sprained
ankle, or even a blister every day.
About once a week he has to send
someone to get X-rays or to see a
"A majority of them are things I
can treat in the training room,
whether it be through physical
therapy, taping technique, exercise
or whatever," Ralston said.
Even though the Wolverines
are often regarded as the weaker
team this season, it can be noted
that Michigan has only suffered
'The advantage of the Center of Champions is... for
recruiting, it's a nice, big facility. Recruits see a big
facility and they're wide-eyed and bushy-tailed '
- Jim Plocki,
continued from page 5
Brad Andress oversaw their
program. Andress has since taken a
job with Bo Schembechler and the
Detroit Tigers. "The kids,
especially this year's sophomores,
really got into it," Berenson said.
"For the first time, we had a
strength coach the players could
relate to. Ken has been excellent
"If the kids fight for a puck in
the corner, no matter how big the
other guy is, they tell themselves
that they can win the fight for it and
outmuscle the opponent."
While the muscle and bulk the
players add in the summer greatly
helps the players win the fight for
the puck, visualizing the
surroundings and happenings before
it occurs also plays an important
role. This year is the second year
the team has been staying
"mentally fit" through the help of a
team psychologist, Dr. Hugh Bray.
Bray has worked for the Detroit Red
Wings and St. Louis Blues under
former coach Jacques Demers.
"His job is to try and teach the
players how to handle the emotions
of playing a sport," Berenson
explained. "We all know that
hockey is a mental sport. If you ask
hockey players, they'll say anywhere
from 70 to 90 percent of the game is
mental. We coaches practice just the
physical. We all like to think we're
amateur psychologists, but it's good
to get a professional in to teach the
Bray attempts to have the
Plocki said. "This is the critical
time, because if he were to stop
lifting right now and just played
hoops, he would be very
Taking care of injuries is
Ralston's responsibility. The
C ina at
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one significant injury this year - a
minor foot injury to James Voskuil.
The credit has to go the
This is also a young team.
Plocki thinks first-year forward
Rich McIver "is gonna be big" in
the years to come, as he is the
strongest player on the team.
Mitchell is not far behind, and if
Riley can finally bulk up, maybe it
will be Michigan giving the lessons
of strength during a press
conference next season.
We will prove
Wolverines deal with all that is
happening around them, and keep
their emotions in a proper
perspective. He has them envision
situations before they occur, both in
the large perspective (before a
game, they picture what
surroundings they are about to
enter) and the minute (foreseeing a
play). 'This weekend, a centerman
knows he will have to faceoff
against [Michigan State's] Kerry
Russell," Berenson said. "Now, he
sees himself doing that and doing it
well. Once he does it, it's a natural
reaction. It's really like a dream."
Again, what is available is afar
cry from when Berenson was a
player. "I know how important the
mental game is because I played it,"
he said. "For me, being prepared to
play in a game is so tough. I would
sit at home and think of nothing
else. Sometimes I would break out
into a cold sweat. I wasn't fit to live
with because I knew I was about to
go into a lion's den.
"'I equate it to going to the
Coliseum and the lions and the
Christians - and I didn't know if I
was a lion or a Christian.
"You just have to be ready. You
have to be ready to stick your head
through a wall, even if it is a brick
wall. If you aren't ready, then it's
too late, no matter what the coach
says. Mental preparation is a big,
big, part of hockey."
Team members were curious
when they first found out a
psychologist would be working with
them. After last season, Berenson
polled the team on whether they
found Bray helpful, and the team
agreed that it worked.
While on-ice preparation remains
most important, many things go into
creating a successful hockey team.
Work is year-round, physical as well
Now, the team needs only to
visualize scoring 2-on-4 goals in
practice. If those dreams become
reality, Red might again be smiling,
and physically holding an NCAA
championship trophy - because
this team has gone the "longway.
Now that would be "fitting."
by Mike Gill
At a recent Michigan hockey
practice, coach Red Berenson had
his team practicing 2-on-0 moves
against goalie Steve Shields. Two
skaters would pass the puck back
and forth and attempt to stick it past
the rookie netminder.
Few succeeded. Berenson
rounded his troops up and lectured
them on such a poor display. He
told them to redo the drill. They
did. And few.again succeeded.
Red turned angry as he called
the group in for another lecture.
"How many scored?" he asked and
only a couple of hands went up.
"Well, what do you guys have to say
There was silence. Finally, one
player smiled and said, "With
goaltending like that, we're going to
go a long way."
Even Red couldn't help smiling
at that response. With the Michigan
hockey team soaring toward the
CCHA and NCAA playoffs, on a
school record 14 game winning
streak going into this weekend's
matchup against Michigan State, no
one can argue that the team is
poised to go a long way. But in
addition to puck handling, goal
scoring, and tough defense, some of
Michigan's success can be traced
away from the ice surface at Yost Ice
Arena, and upstairs to their
lockerroom. That is where the team
maintains physical fitness and
improves their strength, as well as
prepares mentally for games with
the help of a psychologist.
Ilockey is not just an ice sport
anymore. At Michigan, preparation
for games begins in the summer
with intense strength and
conditioning workouts, which
continues to a lesser extent until the
conclusion of the season. It is a far
cry from the days Berenson spent
with four teams during his 17-year
(1961-78) NHL playing career.
Red's team fit in mind and b
"You didn't have strength
conditioning, they just weighed you
in at the beginning and that was it.
Then you would work on the ice,"
Berenson said. "Hockey is slow to
change. But we learned a lot from
the Russians in 1972. They were in
really much better shape because
they did more off ice. We started to
look at our sport. It's come a long
way since then."
Berenson said there are still
some pro teams that don't condition
the way Michigan and other college
'I equate it to going to
the Coliseum and the
lions and the Christians
- and I didn't know if I
was a lion or a Christian'
- Red Berenson
Michigan Hockey Coach
or NHL teams do because their
coaches "just play the games. They
don't feel it's worth the time, or
coaches don't think it's necessary
because they didn't do it. Hockey
players are in much better shape,
The usual itinerary during the
season for Michigan is:
Monday - intense practice
with weight training; some
stationary bike riding.
Tuesday - regular practice
with added skating; meet with
psychologist for 30 minutes.
Wednesday - practice with
some weight training.
Thursday - light practice.
Friday/Saturday - Training
table (a buffet of pasta and salad) at
Cottage Inn (if playing at home);
Sunday - optional ice; power
skating for first-year players
(through the mid-season point).
This season, Michigan's weight
training program has been under the
guidance of graduate assistant Ken
Mouton. During the season, the
hockey team attempts only to
maintain their strength, not improve
it. "All you are doing is maintaining
what you got," Mouton said. "It's
during the summer that you bulk
up. Hockey season is so long that
the muscles break down because of
all the skating. You might lose
weight, but you lift to maintain the
The hockey team, as well as the
football team, lift on a "work until
failure" program. Mouton explains
that once a player cannot lift his
maximum weight, it is reduced to
approximately 60 percent, and the
player continues until he cannot lift
anymore. In contrast, swimmers are
on a totally different program in
which they do a set number of
Both Mouton and Berenson
point to Hobey Baker Candidate
Denny Felsner as an excellent
example of what the program can
do. When Felsner arrived on
campus three years ago, Berenson
estimates his weight was around
175. Now, he is over 200. "He has
really matured physically, yet he has
not lost speed or agility," Berenson
said. "Don Stone is another
example. I remember his coach
Michigan puckster Mike Stone appears t
teeth while lifting weights after practice
telling me that he had absolutely no
upper body strength. Now for his
size, he's a strong player.
"I've heard coaches say that we
are the strongest team in the league,
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