Dr. Yasha Smushkin Photo



I'm a licensed sports teacher training young hockey players all year-round; hoping to improve their performance in Minor Hockey or looking for Hockey Scholarships in College/University. I'm extremely proud that so many of my graduates have accomplished these goals.

My training roots come from the Soviet Union Physical Education System. This System is based on scientific data and requires a license for teaching young hockey players. Hockey techniques are a tactical skill and teaching these techniques has to be in a challenge situation, where a teacher simulates the stress of game situations in large group training, organized by one teacher, not several instructors all working at the same time on ice.

In North America as well as in the Toronto area, there is no Official National Compulsory Program for individual skills development and no license is required to open a private hockey school or to be a hockey skills teacher. I am convinced this is the main reason for the strong impact European Hockey was having on the traditional game, especially by displays of fluid skating, pinpoint passing, precise puck control and outstanding body maneuvering on ice.

The era of "Hammer Hockey" where intimidation and brute instinct popularized by the Broadstreet Bullies is Yesterday, not Today and, certainly not Tomorrow. You cannot just play big body, hard contact hockey. You must play fast paced, smart, challenging hockey. Combining the physical and technical approach to the body and mind development is my goal, when I scientifically choreograph my workouts. Smart, cool, head first, strong body moves second and hot emotions at the end, this, I think, is the secret of a Million Dollar Hockey Player!

In our free society, too often, marketing of product attracts the public more than the quality of the product. For the majority of parents, it is too difficult to understand the scientific principles of youth sport development and differences between team preparation and individual skills teaching and learning.

Before you spend money on the education of your child, carefully research who the educators are!

In fact many charlatans and dilettantes successfully use the naivety of parents and innocence of children and the apathy of various levels of government.


My daughter has attended Dr. Smushkin's camps for about 2 years now, and as many of his weekly sessions as her schedule will allow. Sadly, not very many this year because her team scheduled practices at the same time; she has skipped some team practices to attend because Smushkin is more challenging. He is completely unique and his theories are well grounded and systematic. She has said it is the most mentally challenging camp she has ever participated in and credits the Doc with sorting out her skating by tearing down the bad habits she had developed. The first session she attended, she was the only girl and could not do a single drill while younger kids were whizzing around her. She came off the ice saying it was the most difficult 2 hrs she had ever spent, she couldn't do anything and she NEEDED to come back next week.
You will not see his drills anywhere else. He brings his background in gymnastics and figure skating and applies it to hockey. Many power skating instructors in Toronto are graduates of Smushkin, and you can see elements of him in their program, but my daughter says they are "modified Smushkin and waaay easier than what the Doctor does"
He is not for everyone. He is demanding and challenging and PASSIONATE. He does not hold anyone's hand and there is not a lot of individual correction in his program. You watch and figure it out and try. Repeat. It is highly frustrating at first until you begin to get the hang of it. He is highly tolerant of people who are determined and really trying... and has little time for those who aren't. If he doesn't feel you are working he kicks you out of the program. He speaks with a thick Russian accent that is hard to understand at first and he can be quick to anger. The kids who "get him", absolutely love him and work damn HARD to EARN his quiet "good" and avoid his "bye-bye, you were born by mistake" or "move your a$$".
His program is based on a deep understanding of skating bio-mechanics, individual creativity and both physical and mental agility. If you are prepared for a challenge I highly recommend his program. If you're not, my daughter would prefer you not clutter up the ice...LOL
I or MissD would be happy to answer any questions you may have about his program.


Doctor runs hands down the best skating school i've ever seen or been to. Believe me, the only people to criticize are the ones who don't understand or are unable to see any improvement because they don't know enough. I went to him since I was eigbt years old (11 years ago) and I've seen a lot of kids and parents walk away from his school, but it's generally because a lot of kids are lazy and too many of them as well as parents think that they know everything there is to know. I'll admit that he's not as energetic as he's always been but cut him some slack he must be eighty years old. Most of the kids around my age that started around the time I did and stuck with him are playing at least tier II Jr.A. Just remember it's the kid who turns himself into what he wants to be and not the coach. It's just important that he or she is willing to work hard and be open to coaching, and believe me Dr. Smushkin is as good as they come.

Eric G.

i can't believe the guy is still going. i did his camp 20+ yrs ago
my skating definitely improved i remember jumpiog off spring boards .. and jumping over chairs .. turning with the pinwheel.. looking back on it, it was fun . but when i did it, we thought he was a bit crazy I didn't quite understanding everything or why he was doing stuff. but it did improve my skating. i dont remember him yelling at any one or kicking anyone out.


Perhaps the type of parent you are dictates if you will like the doctor or not. If you expect a great deal from your kid, want him to learn just how hard he has to work at something to succeed (either in hockey or life), etc, then the doctor is a good experience to try. To really make it in hockey, there are going to be 3 hour per day sessions x5 days per week in a weight room somewhere in the players future. Are they going to do that? There are going to be grueling bus rides all over 2 countries-while having to do college homework on the bus. Are they going to stick to that plan? It is all about how they gradually get introduced to the hard work=success formula of life.
Wow Biff, I think you've hit the distinction of the type of parent and player spot on here. I found out about Dr. Smushkin by reading his books and it sounded like his understanding of biomechanics and skating would help MissD's issues. Other parents in Toronto discover him by realizing that the Head Instructors of virtually all of the power skating schools are graduates of his program. I emailed the Doctor to see if he would take her on and he replied "Bring daughter to camp. Is simple matter, we fix." They warned us not to expect to be able to do the drills the first time ... Dr Smushkin even came into the dressing room and thundered at her "You WILL be Frustrated! You must have Heart and Determination!". (He was trying be helpful, but it scared the crap out of her at the time. Now it wouldn't phase her; she loves his passion).
I was in absolute agony watching MissD's first session. At one point I thought "Oh gawd, this ordeal must surely be almost over by now" .... and looked up at the clock, shocked to realize that we were just into 30 minutes of the 2 hour session!!
Every class after that she saw improvement. But I don't believe she would have kept at it if her recognition of her limitations and challenges - and her determination to work through them - wasn't so strong.