Prior to TCS Live 2023, you’d have been forgiven for not having heard of Karl Schwarzenbrunner.
His presentation in Ann Arbor was a game-changer and a lot of North American hockey circles have been applying his teachings ever since.
Schwarzenbrunner has been involved with German hockey since 2016 and is the current Director of Coach Education and Sports Science for the German Ice Hockey Federation. He’s been tasked with helping create a successful development program for German players and coaches, and he’s doing this without a traditional hockey background — he’s never played or coached the game.
But that’s what makes his perspective so fresh and intriguing. He doesn’t share the typical philosophy of a hockey lifer and is willing to consider anything that will enhance his agenda. In his brilliant 25-minute presentation, Schwarzenbrunner begins with a quote from Epictetus to support this: “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
That should hit home for a lot of coaches.
Schwarzenbrunner explains that he’s responsible for bringing scientific research into every day practice and the first example offered is contextual interference for learning motor skills in ice hockey. Schwarzenbrunner presents a few suggestions in his presentation, including that players should practice more variably, meaning that coaches need to manipulate practice, building in hurdles, changing aspects and conditions, so players have to continually look for solutions.
Schwarzenbrunner, who was previously the Athletic Trainer for FC Wacker Innsbruck and also a former competitive powerlifter, explains how to implement the most important scientific findings he’s found success with, into your practices.
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