Damien Brunner is drinking a hot tea in restaurant Schluefweg. Heâ€™s looking back on an intense summer of training and canâ€™t wait for the NHL season 2014/15 to start.
Damien, you seem to have a cold. How fit are you?
Iâ€™m in a very good shape. The cold only cost me two or three training sessions. Sometimes itâ€™s better to listen to your body and give it the time it needs to recover.
This summer, you trained with the Kloten Flyers, the same team where you used to play when you were in your junior years. How did that come about?
Iâ€™ve known the coach (Felix Hollenstein) since my junior years in Kloten. Iâ€™ve come back to Switzerland every summer for the training camp ever since Iâ€™ve been playing in the NHL. Two years ago in Davos (with Arno del Curto), last year in Biel (with Kevin SchlÃ¤pfer) and this year in Kloten. Their methods and the quality of the training are outstanding in my opinion. The idea was to start with some training on the ice, to further develop individual skills. This was ideal for me and I made a lot of improvement.
How would you characterize these individual skills?Â
Itâ€™s mostly general skills like passing, shooting in all variations; practicing individual movement on the ice and fitness training on the ice.
Letâ€™s look back on your training sessions since Mai. What did you focus on?
I reduced the scope of training from 27 to 20 hours a week. At the same time, the intensity of the training session increased. Iâ€™m 28 years old now and Iâ€™ve not only learned to listen to my bodyâ€™s signals, but also to anticipate and analyze them. I always included the fitness training from the New Jersey Devilsâ€™ strength coach in order to achieve the maximum benefit.
My dad is a very experienced coach in youth- and competitive sports. Ever since I started playing hockey, his know-how and training systems resulted in ongoing improvements on my side. In the Cross-Fit training I was supervised by a friend of his, who pushed me to the limits with his intense units.
Apparently you increased the quality of your training. What does a â€žmore intenseâ€œ training mean?Â
In the beginning of the summer training, I did interval training on the track in order to improve my endurance and speed. The traveling and time differences during the season can take a toll on your health and fitness and I tried counteracting with this training.
After the intervals, I put my focus on muscular endurance. In a further phase we concentrated mostly on quickness, which involved a lot of jumping exercises.
These so called plyometric exercises (i.e. jumping exercises) could result in injuries pretty quickly…
… It can be quite risky. Thatâ€™s why we planned them systematically and cautiously. My physical and mental fitness is the result of a harmonic and balanced development that started in my childhood. Jumps, quickness and rapid strength are not only the outcome of all those training sessions, but also from playing beachvolleyball. Another advantage is the peripheral vision, which is essential on the ice.
Youâ€™re already drinking your second tea; you used to drink a beer from time to time.
I pay attention to proper nutrition, thus looking after my intestine, which is essential for the immune system. Another advantage is the rather light weight of mine: when i exceed my ideal weight (83 â€“ 85 kilograms / 183 â€“ 187 lbs.), my legs get slower. Quick and agile legs are one of my strengths and when I can use my fast acceleration, automatic procedures work perfectly.