Monday, June 2, 2014

Can't Do a Pullup?

Franco Colombu doing some pullups.

Saw this article today about a highly regarded NHL prospect who could not perform a single pullup at a scouting combine. This can be interpreted several ways. There is no doubt that Hockey is a physical sport. It is a high impact contact sport where high speed collisions are the norm. Players skate at speeds higher than an athlete could run. The surface of the ice is much harder than the ground. Slamming your opponent into immovable barrier walls is part of the strategy.
If a young man can play so effectively without the ability to do a single pullup, then are pullups really a valid test for hockey? It seems obvious from this case that pullup strength is not essential to hockey success.
However, as a long time Physical Educator with some military backround, I do think that being able to do a pullup is is important for both men and women. I believe that while the specific strength required is not vital to many athletic activities, it may have a positive impact on injury prevention and longevity.
In my mind, I still think the ability to pull oneself up to a bar is a foundational exercise that everyone should work to achieve. It is a survival movement that allows us to scale barriers and climb things. It reflects a certain amount of strength to bodyweight ratio that is a worthy goal. If I was his coach, I would get him doing pullups.

Sam Bennett is an extremely talented hockey player.
If he weren't, NHL Central Scouting wouldn't have tabbed him as the No. 1 prospect entering the 2014 NHL Draft.
Scouts found out this weekend, however, that upper-body strength is not the 17-year-old's area of expertise.
Bennett, who racked up 36 goals and 55 assists for the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs this season, failed to complete even one pull-up during testing at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto.
The young forward told reporters afterward that he was unhappy with his showing but not all that worried about it. "I was definitely disappointed with myself," Bennett said, via The Canadian Press. "I was wanting to do the best I can in every test. But, I guess, ultimately games aren't won or lost if you can do a pull-up in the gym."
NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr agreed with that assessment, saying Bennett's lack of pull-up prowess doesn't overshadow his skill on the ice.
"The fact that he can play the game the way he plays the game, I think the teams feel that he's a pretty complete package," Marr said. "This is what the whole combine's about: The team that's going to get Sam Bennett knows what work lies ahead and they'll be able to put him on the proper path for development."

The NHL draft will take place June 27 in Philadelphia, with the Florida Panthers owning the top pick. NESN.com's latest mock draft has the Panthers taking Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad first overall, with Bennett going to the Edmonton Oilers at No. 3.

I practice what I preach.

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