Dr. Yasha Smushkin Photo


Dr. Smushkin's "GYM on ICE"

"GYM ON ICE" is the unique invention of Dr.Yasha Smushkin. It is also as embodiment of creativity and innovation that are starting to dominate today world's hockey player's individual development. Dr. Smushkin is the first Russian skating and hockey teacher who introduced for the first time in America (1973) his ice teaching machinery in the well-known "Gym on Ice" for figure skaters and hockey players. His "Gym on Ice" offers comprehensive iso kinetic training for discovering a child's potential talent through consistent development of his/her body-skates-stick system. Dr .Smushkin can be proud of the fact that many of his former students have opened their own schools in North America and Europe, incorporating Dr. Smushkin's unique training skating equipment. Dr. Smushkin has accomplished something so subtle and difficult that other privately operated hockey schools in Canada, United States and Europe try to follow his lead by imitating his teaching style and adopting his ideas.

Dr. Smushkin's first encounter with athletic machinery was very early in his career, when he trained and competed in gymnastics in the former Soviet Union. As a former gymnast (junior champion of Moscow), he could appreciate the magnitude of the forces that an external apparatus can exert on in athlete's body.

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The search for maximize efficiency of on-ice training come to a successful conclusion: "Gym on Ice" made its first appearance in USA (Boston, 1973) and established itself as the leading method of developing elite hockey agility.

Dr. Smushkin's "Gym on Ice" consist of 3 pieces of equipment: the carousel, the spring boards and parallel bars. Each training apparatus builds up a specific dimensions of the player's body. Working with all on-Ice mechanical apparatus the player also improve his dexterity, since all "Gym on Ice" exercises can be done with the stick and same with the stick and puck.


"Dr. Smushkin's approach to conditioning is that, first of all it's for life, and then you tailor it to specific sport or interest. He teaches exercises and acrobatics as well as skating aides to try up strength, speed, balance and control."

Nora McCabe, - The Globe and Mail {Toronto, Canada}

"The relationship established with Dr. Smushkin has been the basis for implementing, over a period of time, a creative and innovative approach to the game of hockey. His learning programs provide a continuity of teaching approaches which, if utilized, will produce better skaters. The exercises and mechanical equipment develop by Dr.Smushkin stimulates young skaters to excel"

Jim Henders, - President of the Columbus Youth Hockey League

"Smushkin's technique are an unconventional, creative and innovative approach to the game of hockey".

US Hockey/Arena Biz,- October 1977

"Some time before training camp Red Kelly (coach of Toronto' Maple Leafs), call me to say that there a Russian guy in Toronto, Dr. Yasha Smushkin, who had some interesting ideas about skating and balance, and he was running a course. Kelly thought Smushkin could help me. So, of course, I went to Toronto early. Jack Valiquette was also asked to attend, along with Brian Glennie, who was a poor skater. Dr. Smushkin had some pretty weird ideas, but deep down I thought he was on to something. He had this big black band of elastic stretched across the ice and slam into it. It would whip you back like a slingshot. The idea was always keep your balance whatever the situation. Dr. Smushkin worked only on situations that took away your balance, and you had to fight back to win back some control."

Tiger Williams, Toronto Maple Leafs

"Determined to improve in preparation for prep school and college hockey, I first became attracted to Dr. Yasha Smushkin's Hockey Camp while reading its advertisement in a hockey publication. The words "seven hours ice time daily for serious and competitive hockey player" made me feel that Dr. Smushkin's Camp and I were a perfect match. "Push, cross, together," - while I leaned into each crossover, I realized this was the first of seven hours of on ice instruction. Dr. Smushkin's own invention of the carousel represented just one of the many challenges I faced this summer for one week at his hockey camp in Toronto. Each hour concentrated on a different aspect of the hockey game. Using Dr. Smushkin's Gym-on-Ice invention, I found myself jumping off spring boards for balance control, skating under monkey bars, practicing crossovers on the carousel - although these educational drills could not be used in game situations, they drastically improved my skating ability. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Camp was Dr. Yasha Smushkin himself. When a player did not pay attention to his explanation of a drill, he would whack his stick on the ice and emphasize in a deep Russian accent: " I come here to educate, not to entertain." During the last day of camp, many players wanted extra time to scrimmage. Admittedly, many other hockey schools follow this tradition allowing extra scrimmage time on the last day. Clearly, Dr. Smushkin does not follow the methods of other camps. Instead, Dr. Smushkin helps aspiring players follow the path of their hockey dreams."

The Unique Hockey School - By Tracy Burns