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Pettinger's Beach Workouts

A few weeks ago, I talked to ex-Redskins D-linemen Renaldo Wynn and Joe Salave'a about their offseason strongman workouts in Las Vegas. And while that story turned into a bit of a dud after both players were released, it turns out a couple Caps also engaged in some alternative training during their offseason. Winger Matt Pettinger and new defenseman Jame Pollock both did some noteworthy drills in Victoria, B.C. with their longtime trainer, Jeff Compton, who runs the Compton Sports Training Systems facility.

("Like in New York: 'Straight Outta Compton,' " Pollock explained.

"Compton's in L.A.," Pettinger pointed out.

"Not New York?" Pollock said. "That's what you get from a Canadian guy.")

Anyhow, Jeff Compton wants his charges--who, this summer, came from the Canucks, the Flames, the Wild, the Caps and a bunch of European clubs--to work on hockey-specific skills: linear explosiveness, change of direction, and the like. But he also doesn't want them to be bored. So about halfway through the summer, the hockey players left the gym and headed for the beach. They would head out early in the morning, so that the players wouldn't be surrounded by hockey-loving, flip-flop wearing beachgoers.

"Instead of sitting there with an umbrella and some drinks, we were there sweating it out, groaning and grunting, sweating profusely" Compton told me. "Instead of lifting a bar bell, they were lifting a tree trunk. Instead of throwing medicine balls around, they were throwing rocks and such."

The result, according to Pettinger, was a workout that kept the players interested, free from the repetition of a gym routine.

"What it does is it takes a three-month training program and it keeps it alive," he sad. "You're still working out, but it's something totally different from what you're used to."

Training on the sand also in some ways mimics being on ice, with an unpredictable surface that is always changing. This, though, was not strongman training.

"We're not working with boulders," Pollock said. "I mean, the odd time we'll work with a piece of driftwood or something, but no boulders."

"I'm not a strong man, pushing planes or anything," Pettinger said. "Just alternative training."

Although....There was one drill where the hockey players would put a car in neutral and then take turns pushing it 30 or 40 meters while sprinting. Pettinger said the car was "an old beater;" Compton said it was a 1990 Honda Accord.

"Nothing fancy," he said. "We're not pushing Matt's Mercedes around. The Mercedes stayed parked."

The challenge, Compton said, is to create drills that were both unusual and effective without doing anything potentially dangerous; "we're not doing anything crazy," as he put it. And he's found that hockey players tend to be more productive when there's a competitive element to their workouts, which is why the summer program also included frequent squash matches. Yup, squash. Pollock said Pettinger and Jesse Fibiger of the German League were the best players, for what it's worth.

And when they weren't heaving pieces of driftwood or pushing cars or playing squash, they were, very often, playing golf. Pettinger's a 2 handicap; I asked how many rounds he played over the summer.

"Don't tell him for real, that's embarrassing," Pollock said. Pettinger said it was probably 40 or 50. What he didn't tell me was that on the day before he left B.C., he got a hole in one. Not sure whether it was due to the beach workouts.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 12, 2007; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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