*Disclaimer* - This has nothing to do with the beastmode videos of JT training at home released on NHL.com a couple months ago.
I happened to come across some videos on youtube of various NHL players training with a coach named Darryl Belfry in Canada during the offseason. Belfry runs a program called Pro Playmakers, whose students have included the likes of John Tavares, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Dan Girardi, Kyle Okposo, and many, many more. As per their youtube page, Pro Playmakers Hockey is, "A high performance hockey training company developing NHL, Pro, AHL, OHL, QMJHL, WHL and European Pro athletes, based in St. Catharines Ontario Canada."
After watching a bunch of their videos, the way Coach Belfry works with these players is incredibly unique, and obviously effective. Essentially, Belfry will watch hours of game film on his students, analyze the nuances of what they do well, and coach them to improve on these very small details. The videos also do a great job of showing how these skills they practice have paid off for the players in games. Check out some of these videos below:
Personally, I find this kind of stuff absolutely awesome, but that's probably just because I'm a nerd like that. One of the things that I'm sure Belfry noticed was how strong Tavares is on the puck (duh!). If you've been watching him play, especially this year, you will notice that much of his best work comes from behind the net. Not as much the way Gretzkey would camp back there and dish out dimes, but JT is incredible at controlling the puck back and forth behind the net and creating options for his teammates.
This next video is fascinating because it shows Coach Belfry talking JT through what he wants him to be able to do positionally behind the net, and then Johnny putting his skills to work. The video is about 6 minutes long and shows Belfry working with offensive and defensive players. When you watch, you'll see just how much practice and effort goes into the smallest parts of the game of hockey, stuff that can easily go unnoticed while watching from your living room. If you only want to watch the JT segment of it, skip to 4:30 (I recommend the whole thing because it's awesome. And hockey, and stuff.)
One last video I wanted to share shows JT practicing coming down the right wing, squaring up to the net, and ripping the shot. Yes, that sounds very vague, but you when you watch you will see exactly how his offseason training contributed to a huge goal during the playoffs last year against the penguinos.
Like I said, this stuff rules. If you want to watch more videos with many other NHL'ers and pro's from leagues around the world, check out Pro Playmakers' youtube channel here
I think these videos also speak to how incredibly skilled these guys are. Maybe it's because I've been playing since I was 3 and I realize how much better these guys are than me. I don't know, but I do know that I will literally never get bored of watching these guys play. Ever.