Jay Schroeder’s goal is to drive players to new physical limits.
As the Wild comes home to resume its playoff series against the Jets, a man named Jay Schroeder also has made plans to return to the Twin Cities.
His availability is significant for three members of the Wild: winger Zach Parise, Matt Cullen and defenseman Nate Prosser. But Schroeder isn’t a hockey coach. Frankly, he doesn’t care what sport you play. He doesn’t even care if you play sports. He has one goal if you work with him: to wring every drop of potential he can out of your body.
Parise, Prosser and Cullen stay in constant contact with Schroeder, a 62-year-old trainer and de facto life coach for the trio for years.
Schroeder helps them maintain peak health and recover from injuries during the grit and grind of an 82-game season plus playoffs. The Wild’s third intense-as-it-gets game in five days comes with Sunday’s Game 3 in St. Paul. Four more games might come in the next 10 days. Everyone on the ice will be trying to keep their bodies in one piece while playing to their maximum potential — and three Wild players will know who to call.
“If you twist your knee and you text him, he can send you back things that you can do for it,” Prosser said.
Schroeder is not a typical physical trainer you’d see in a team locker room. He works to maximize the three’s potential using a training method based on Russian techniques he read about while recovering from a motorcycle accident — EVO training, with EVO standing for evolution.
Just what is EVO training? Schroeder, who lives in Gilbert, Ariz., sounds part philosopher, part motivational speaker when he describes its seemingly pacific mission.
“We challenge each of the areas that are important to a human being,” Schroeder said. “I call it PIPES — physiology, intellect, psychological, emotion and spirit. All those things, if they aren’t challenged or up at the same level, then you can only perform to the level of the lowest functioning one.”
But there’s nothing easy about getting to that point. EVO training is arduous — emotionally and physically.
“It’s really tough stuff,” Cullen said.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Prosser said. “You’re just like, what am I feeling? What is this?”
A box, wires and electrodes
Schroeder has worked with Prosser for six years and nearly a decade with Cullen and Parise. They keep him close because the training requires intricate adjustments to the exercises they do.
EVO training essentially tries to readjust the human nervous system and the brain’s communication with the rest of the body. In his training with the Wild players, Schroeder attempts to get the brain to send signals to certain muscles to act differently in certain situations. For instance, the brain may want to contract, or shorten, a quadriceps when a player is performing a squat. Schroeder may try to get it to expand.
One tool Schroeder uses to accomplish this is called Force Velocity Training. It involves attaching electrodes on the ends of wires from extending from an ARP (Accelerated Recovery Performance) machine to a person as he is working out, to send different information to the muscles and to the brain. When your brain wants a muscle to do one thing and the electricity is telling it to do another, it can create some tense, painful training.
This is where the emotional and psychological aspect of the training comes into play — to overcome the pain temporarily to consistently achieve peak performance. And it’s not just muscles. The training also involves blood flow, metabolic and organ function.
“You challenge each of those areas at the same moment in time,” Schroeder said, “and that’s how we participate in sport.”