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Daily Dish: The Coach's Note to All Prospects Canadian Junior Hockey News

Published: Wednesday, 31 Jul 2019  
By: Stephen Heisler,

Victorious Hockey is a completely different type of hockey advisory company. With the words character and integrity engraved in our foundation; we offer players and coaches alike the unique opportunity to develop their individual skill-sets with a focus on the human element that's needed for success on, and off, the ice.  

We also believe in staying in constant contact with our players and prospects alike. One of the key components is this weekly email that we hope will deliver a bit of insight and direction.

"By training a player’s focus skills, they are able to improve their ability to rely on top-down attention to make better decisions on the ice, and to make them faster."

Coach Littler asked us to share this information from Axon Sports' Jason Sada:
"Whenever Peyton Manning took the field, the superlatives come fast and furious from football commentators. As well they should, the future Hall of Fame QB has proven his superior cognitive and physical skills repeatedly over his 15 seasons. However, back in week 2 of the NFL season when the Broncos met the Falcons for a Monday Night Football game, the importance of a well designed and disguised defense was on display.
The Atlanta defense highlighted the importance of cognitive skills in football, as the ability to force bad decisions was shown to be able to beat even an all-time great, like Manning.
With three interceptions and a 58.5 passer rating, Manning was humbled by Atlanta’s Cover 3 scheme. As pointed out by Matt Bowen on NFP, Atlanta was able to disguise their pre-snap look and bait Manning into his third pick of the night.
Even at the highest level of the game, one of the league’s most cerebral quarterbacks misdirected his attention to the wrong cues.
Fast forward to Week 8 with the Broncos facing Drew Brees and a recovering New Orleans Saints team. Manning passed for over 300 yards for the fifth straight game with three scores and a passer rating of 138.9 in a convincing 34-14 victory. What could account for such a drastic learning curve improvement, even for an experienced QB?
According to cognitive researchers, it all starts in the head.
Whether it’s a QB reading a defense or a running back trying to anticipate a blitz, players have to combine what they see with what they’ve learned through repeated drills and practice.
If we could look inside Peyton’s brain when he walks up to the line, we would be impressed by the amount of information that is being processed.
 There is a combination of both overt and covert attention being paid to different targets on the defensive side of the ball. A quarterback’s overt eye movements dart from one defender to the next identifying the player and his pre-snap position on the field. Covert attention happens while staring at one defender or point on the field even though Manning’s attention might be focused on other cues such as subtle changes in a players position or the angle of their shoulders.

 As Peyton Manning's body and mind get back into football shape, the Broncos become more and more dangerous.
This ongoing comparison of what is being seen live and a prediction of what will happen next is the competitive edge that great players possess.
 Recently, neuroscience researchers at MIT shed some more light on how our brains accomplish selective attention, or the ability to focus on the cues important to the task and ignore the noise.
In their study, it was shown there are actually two different types of attention, bottom-up and top-down.
Bottom-up attention highlights the objects in our visual field that pop out at us because of their movement or size or even color. They try to demand our attention and distract us from our top-down attention which is seeking out specific targets that we intentionally want to find to complete our task.
"It's as if the brain is using two different stops on the FM radio dial for different types of attention," said study co-author Earl K. Miller, Professor of Neuroscience at MIT.
By training a player’s focus skills, they are able to improve their ability to rely on top-down attention to make better decisions on the field, and to make them faster.
Simulation-based cognitive training apps are now available to younger players to increase the number of reps they can experience off the field.
After the Falcons game, the Broncos’ QB said it had nothing to do with his physical condition, but rather, “three really poor decisions.” After the historic, Week 7 second half comeback against the San Diego Chargers, receiver Demaryius Thomas summed up Manning’s magic, “Peyton started clicking and seeing everything. It was like clockwork.” Apparently, the cognitive process of seeing, analyzing and acting remain critical to any player’s game, even a future Hall of Famer."
Jason Sada is president of Axon Sports. Axon is working on transforming the way an athlete trains for sport by developing new cognitive training apps that will accelerate the acquisition of athletic expertise. To learn more about Axon Sports, please visit
Boys, we all know that Manning is never going to play in the NHL, but that's not the point. Split-second decision making, and the ability to trust one's instincts, are key factors in every successful athlete's success. Hockey players should take advantage of every opportunity to enhance that part of his (or her) game.

Is YOUR profile on complete? Is it up to date? We give prospects the platform to publish a very comprehensive profile on the site. This profile can include embedded video, statistics, and even a Twitter style active feed that should be updated weekly. Players should share their personal url with coaches from higher levels of junior and college hockey. Those coaches then have the ability to follow the player's progress along the way. This is a FREE service being offered by the site.
If you would like more information about Victorious Hockey and just how we can supercharge your hockey career, feel free to reply to this email or simply give us a call.

Let's have a great week of hockey!

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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