COVID-19: from the ice rink to the computer screen

For ten years, Mathieu Thibodeau has given courses, workshops and hockey camps year-round with his Center Excellence Hockey. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, forced the ex-hockey player to move from the ice to the computer screen this week to continue teaching his young students.
“I have 1000 members and I welcome from 50 to 100 students per day and up to 350 on weekends for the lessons I give. Overnight, it fell to zero, “tells the Sun the former physical education teacher who started his own business in 2009.

“In short, with the crisis, I had no choice but to try things,” says the man who had already juggled the idea of ​​online training two years ago. “But at the time, there was not really any demand, people were well served with the training given on ice,” he explains.

The events of the past few weeks have prompted him to bring this idea up to date. “I started by launching“ challenges ”to my members online. But I watched their videos and I said to myself that it didn’t make sense the way some people launched! ”

Inspired by Turk

As the teacher was never far away, he quickly got it into his head to correct the shortcomings of his students with the help of the internet. “I developed the concept two or three years ago after bringing in Tim Turk, a skills coach who has worked with several players from the Canadiens and the NHL,” said the former center player for the Beavers of Sherbrooke. and Patriots from the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières.

“His clients, who were all over America and around the world, produced videos which he sent to him and which he could analyze. I had already made video with my young people, but it was I who filmed and analyzed them, ”says Thibodeau.

Initially, “Coach Mathieu” therefore began to produce five or six capsules a day for his students, who watch them and practice them at home. Using the Coach’s Eye application, he can also receive their videos, analyze them and thus advise his protégés even if he is not on the ice with them.

And in this period when the schools are closed, his students have ample time to practice the techniques he teaches them.

“They are about thirty to follow me online for three days. I analyze their techniques, I talk to them and I can compare. For example, on a five-shot streak, I’ll make a few things change for them, ”he explains.

“With the crisis, I had no choice but to try things. But at the time, there was not really any demand, people were well served with the training given on ice. ”
– Mathieu Thibodeau


Mathieu Thibodeau wants to push the experience even further by partnering with the company Hockey Shots, which sells home training sets for hockey.

“For my first capsules, the young people needed a stick, gloves and pucks, but with that, I could provide them with a small training kit that they will use for their videos,” continues Thibodeau, who made against bad luck good heart in these difficult times.

“My banker told me that I was the first one he spoke to in ten days who had managed to bring some positive into it. I’ve always been in the mode of finding solutions! ”, He concludes.

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