Paul Goodman Helps Chicago Blackhawks To Be In Top Physical Form
Imagine what it would be like to be in charge of making sure every player on the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster is physically and conditionally ready to play every game. It is essentially your job to ensure each athlete has the right tools and is doing the right things to perform at his best. This is the job of strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman.
Here is an excerpt from the Blackhawks bio on the Chicago Blackhawks website that better describes what Goodman does:
“As the strength and conditioning coach, Goodman is responsible for the development of all players within the organization by preparing on- and off-ice training regimens during the season and in the offseason. Through the creation of blackhawkstrength.com, Goodman is able to track individual player performance and progress throughout all club affiliates, as well as prospects and draft picks from all over the world. He also works in conjunction with the sports medicine staff by assisting in the rehabilitation process for injured athletes.”
Goodman is a 1992 graduate of the University of Wisconsin. He earned his master’s degree there in 2002, all the while working as a member of the Badgers’ hockey strength and conditioning staff. After Wisconsin, Goodman went on to serve at the University of Vermont as the head strength and conditioning coach. He joined the Chicago Blackhawks in June of 2008. The 2016-17 campaign will be his ninth season with the team.
The relationship between Goodman and the Blackhawks seems to be working out well. He develops an individual fitness plan for every player during the season. It is tailored to each individual and his specific needs. After all, a forward might focus on different specifics than a defenseman or a goalie. A smaller player might want to concentrate on building strength, whereas a bigger player might need to work on his agility. A player recovering from an injury wants to concentrate on strengthening the injured area, as well as emphasizing avoiding further injury.
“You give them the tools for all aspects of the game, whether it’s speed, agility, strength or power,” Goodman says. “At certain points in any shift, they’re going to engage in all of those things. My job is to allow them to have that huge toolbox that they can draw any of those skills from.” (Chicago Tribune, Aug. 20, 2011). These plans also take into account the number of games played per week, travel days and recovery days. It’s like a science.
Of course, Goodman’s job is important during the season, but it appears it is even more of a factor during the offseason. Gone are the days when players could take the entire summer off and ease back into things during training camp. They now must come to camp in great shape already, so they can focus on fine-tuning their hockey skills before the season starts.
Goodman keeps in touch with the players through a website on which they can access specific five-day-per-week workouts quickly and easily. He also keeps in contact with them via phone and texting to answer questions, and makes sure they are on the right track. Wherever players are, Goodman is essentially looking over their shoulder.
Goodman certainly seems dedicated to helping players be at their best. Many swear by his program; former ’Hawks Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp claim they were in the best shape of their careers while working with him. (Chicago Tribune, Aug., 20, 2011)
“The ultimate goal is for them to play at their highest level,” Goodman says. “We want to make sure they stay away from anything that’s going to infringe upon them not being able to play at that level. We want to make everybody a better and safer athlete. That’s the priority (because) the better the athlete, the better the hockey player.” (Chicago Tribune, Aug. 20, 2011)
I imagine it would be pretty fun to be a strength and conditioning coach and be a part of helping top athletes perform at their best. But it could also be a very grueling and time-consuming profession. It would take a special person to do the job. Goodman appears to be the right person.
“Strength and conditioning is the love for the behind-the-scenes, gritty atmosphere of athletes getting better and reaching physical achievements,” he says. “It’s a field that’s about striving for excellence when no one is looking. It’s contagious.” (Sports Illustrated, April 12, 2016)
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