Off-ice training program coming to Neepawa


By Eoin Devereux
The Neepawa Banner

There used to be a time when off-season training for hockey players on the prairies consisted of simply doing chores down on the family farm. Today, however, many athletes are taking a more proactive approach to their off-ice conditioning. That type of high caliber performance training is now available in Neepawa, as Derek Pearson has created the PASS (Pearson Athletic Skill System) program.

Pearson, the owner and operator of the Boxe Neepawa Combat Sports and Fitness Club, will run the three day seminar from July 19-21. It’ll teach hockey players, both boys and girls, how to train on their own. Pearson noted that as part of the two sessions per day, they’ll cover the five main attributes of athletic training (strength, speed, skill, stamina and flexibility), and how they can be improved.

“Each session will be geared to each of those attributes. How to improve those criteria and how to do it without the need for a gym. Simply whatever you have around for equipment,” stressed Pearson.
During the three day course, the majority of teaching will be done at Boxe Neepawa, with arrangements being made for guest coaches to work on more training speciality issues. He added that the seminar will show individuals how to get the most out of their solo training regime.

“Some athletes, as they develop, tend to have a general idea when it comes to off-ice training, but a lot of that can be learning through trial and error.  Specific skills that they want to improve, such as foot speed, for example, are not likely something they’ll be about to create a program for on their own. Through my years on coaching in boxing and mixed marital arts, I’ve seen that a lot of the drills can be transferred over to assist hockey players. A term we use a lot in boxing is ‘physical literacy’, so it’s basically going to be a physically literacy type camp, where we’ll teach them different ways to prepare for the hockey season without having to go and skate all year round. Without having to do summer hockey. They can improve their abilities on their own, in their own time, whether it’s in their back yard or whatever.”

Pearson added another important aspect of the seminar will focus on the importance of recovery, both on and off the field of play.
“Athletes are exerting themselves for a maximum amount of effort for short periods of time. Just because it’s not your shift or not your turn doesn’t mean that you can’t be going. If you’re not going, you have to be ready to go. So, it does work well, because a hockey shift is a lot shorter than a round of boxing or mixed martial arts. If they can learn that they can push themselves for three minutes at maximum effort, a one minute shift with a two minute recovery time will be nothing,” Pearson said. “Having previously trained for football and for hockey, I can say that nothing compares to the intensity of training for MMA. You can’t glide, you can’t coast. This will effectively teach them how to efficiently use that one minute to recover. How to gain their oxygen back. The correct posture so that they’re getting the maximum lung capacity, things like that,” stressed Pearson.

Around a dozen athletes will be accepted for the initial program, ranging in age from pee-wee  up to junior ‘A’. Anyone interested in more information, or signing up for the PASS program, is asked to call 204-841-1425 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Cost for the three day seminar is $65, with registration open until Tuesday, July 18.