The hockey world is full of different camps, training centers and clinics, none have been more intriguing to me than the “Farm Tough” hockey training center in Pewaukee, WI. With the amount of options out there that are exactly the same, Farm Tough offers a MUCH different hockey-training regimen than any camp I have come across. Farm Tough’s founder/owner/head trainer Peter Dale’s unique hockey background has helped his training center become one of the best hockey training facilities in the Mid-West.
In order to better describe Farm Tough, let’s take a closer look at Peter’s background to see where his inspiration started. Peter started playing hockey at the age 8 playing his youth travel ice hockey for the Des Moines Buccaneers in Des Moines, Iowa. high school Peter was about as well versed of an athlete as you could be. He participated in 5 (yes 5!) varsity sports in high school; Football, Diving, Ice Hockey, Track and Baseball. He attended St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN where he would play Soccer, Tennis and his favorite sport; Ice Hockey.
Like 99% of the hockey-playing world, the NHL did not come calling for Peter. In 1995, when roller hockey was a big sport in the USA, he founded ‘USA Clinics’ to educate players and coaches around the country on roller hockey training and how it applied to ice hockey off season training. The traditional ice hockey community typically frowns upon roller hockey crossover, but those closest to both sports know the real benefits of the sport and it’s training.
“There is certainly still a lot of misconceptions about roller hockey, ie- It creates bad habits, ruins your stride, etc. The reality is that our kids who play roller are the best ice hockey kids and that is the best advertising. This helps create discussion and brings new players to our game. The ice hockey season is so long and roller provides that much-needed mental break but still allows kids to work on skills. It’s a great compliment.” - Peter Dale
Countless NHL players grew up playing roller hockey in the off-season as a training tool for ice hockey, players like Connor McDavid, Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner, Paul Stastny, Joel Ward, Ales Hemsky, Pat Maroon, TJ Oshie, and so many more. Peter took his love of ice hockey and started playing roller hockey when professional leagues were still in existence. He would then go on to play for Team USA where he would win 6 world championships.
Peter was able to take his passion for sports, specifically hockey (both ice and roller) and training for these sports and combine them to develop Farm Tough hockey training. He learned of a farm that was being sold just outside of Milwaukee, WI and upon seeing it, knew it was perfect for a hockey-training center.
“It’s kind of like a ‘Rocky’ meets ‘Youngblood’” – Peter Dale
Inside the barns you will find sport court tile, hockey nets, pucks, Power Edge Pro apparatus’, Russian boxes, slide boards, foam rollers, balance boards, speed training tools, medicine balls and more. All of the training done at the Farm is actually on roller blades. Their ice hockey camps and training is done off site at one of the local ice rinks. Outside of the barn you find different size tires as well as an old school ropes/body weight pull up apparatus. This place is rugged and you want to work hard just by looking at the facility.
Their philosophy for the center is described as “Farm-tology” a term that Peter came up with to really hone in on their values and vision.
“Farmtology is the art of blending old school virtues and values with the lifestyle of the 21st century. It’s about respecting your past in order to shape your future. It’s born from YOUR VISION of who you are and who you want to be.
Farmtology is about developing an AWARENESS of your STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES in order to improve and grow. This approach blends gritty effort and a desire for greatness, with passionate enthusiasm and a respect for life!
Farmtology celebrates the value of honest, hard work, which breeds accomplishment and self-reliant individuals. Our shared experiences make up a community of like-minded people who understand the value and significance of family and friendship. We live by the philosophy the better you get, the more fun you have™. We strive to create consistency over time, proving that small changes create long-term positive HABITS!
Farmtology, at its’ essence, can be summed up this way … Dig deep, work hard, give thanks, believe in yourself, and you will be rewarded.” – Peter Dale
Peter now had his venue and his vision for his center. This wouldn’t just be a place to go shoot some pucks and mess around. This would be a place where you would go to work hard to maximize results. One of their favorite phrases is “We train at game pace”. If you can’t make it out to the center, check out the videos. Top end junior and college ice hockey players flock here in the summer for their skills training, nutrition training, and mental training.
The players’ skill training is both on the ice and in the barn, with a lot of drills being performed with the aid of the Power Edge Pro. Much like USA Hockey’s AMD model, where they preach puck touches, this is the same idea at Farm Tough. You cannot be better with the puck, without having it on your stick. The benefits of the Power Edge Pro system are that you can work the puck through different moves, at different speeds, in different body positions that directly carry over into games. There are plenty of good videos of Connor McDavid working on this equipment and then direct videos of him on-ice doing the same moves on NHL defenders. On top of the on ice skills training, their off-ice workouts are grueling. A lot of body weight training, plyometric training, and balance training highlight the sessions. They focus on resistance training, quick decision making, and small space work.
The nutrition training that is offered at the Farm starts with basic things like identifying current eating habits, likes and dislikes, allergies and more. They stress pre and post game fueling options, timing, and the importance of why they are following the program that they are given. They set new habits in motion at the Farm, so that when players return home/to their teams they can hit the ground running with good habits.
One of the most interesting parts of the training at the Farm is the ‘Mental’ training aspect. This is becoming a bigger and bigger trend in the sports world from youth through professional athletes. Each athlete is different and they create a system of thinking and approaching sports, schools, and life situations. They work to identify each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to approach them in all aspects of life. They lay out goals, both long and short term, and put an action plan in place to achieve them. At the Farm, you work very hard, but it’s filled with plenty of positive reinforcement, positive talk and visualization. They also provide take home manuals for the players to stay focused during their seasons.
During the summer Farm Tough runs ice hockey camps, roller hockey camps, and roller hockey leagues in addition to their training at the Farm. Check out their website here
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