Interview with Hockey Player Mike Gillespie (Future Buckeye)

By Nunzio Signore (BA, NASM, CPT, PES, FMS)

Gillespie Picture 2The following is the first of many interviews I will be conducting from time to time with aspiring young athletes that train at RPP.  I believe their experience can be invaluable for other young athletes that train with us. 

Today my interview is with Michael Gillespie, a graduate of the Clarkstown High School Hockey program who has been training at RPP this summer getting ready for playing hockey at Ohio State this coming fall.  He has been playing with the Lincoln Stars in the USHL since graduation.   I think it’s a great read for aspiring hockey players.

We are here with Mike Gillespie just coming off a stint in the the USHL with the Lincoln Stars getting ready to start his first year at Ohio State this fall.

What’s up Mike.  What do you feel is your best attribute as a skater?

I think my speed and my quick feet in and out of corners is my best attribute as a skater.  I am small guy and I don’t have a long stride but I have been working hard trying to extend that so I can be faster and quicker.  All the bigger guys have a longer stride and I am trying to match that by opening up my stride so I can take off and be as fast as I can.

Awesome, what is the biggest difference you feel between playing high school hockey and in the USHL?

Gillespie Picture 1

There’s countless number of differences, speed, bigger, stronger, faster.  Guys are more talented.  High school hockey is like, you know it’s not… The talent level just isn’t there.  In high school there are two or three guys on the team that are talented.  In the USHL every guy top to bottom is talented.  They’re all college bound hockey players and they are going to be playing in Division I, hopefully.  In high school hockey you have those one or two guys that steal the show and that’s it.  You can’t have that in the USHL, teams are too good.

Do you follow a nutrition program?

I tend to.  I don’t really eat fast food.   I try not to each too much junk food like chips and everything.  I usually have my protein, chicken and steak.  I have to have my salad and vegetables.  My father cooks every night so it’s usually a protein meal.

So you’re eating a lot of calories but you are eating clean foods?


For our younger players out there, what do you think it takes to get to the next level?

It’s all hard work.  That’s all it is.  You know there are those guys that are better when you are younger.  Everyone is talking about them.  They are better and they are getting looks.  At the end of the day it’s what you want to put into it and what you are going to get back.  If you give it all you got it’s going to come back to you and be good for you.  You are going to get the opportunity you need.   If you aren’t working hard that’s on you.

Do you take time off after hockey season and cut down your skating considerably to strength train?

Absolutely, I think that it’s important that [you train in the off-season] when you have a long season, 60 something games, whatever it is.  I think it’s important that after skating all that time that you take two weeks off from skating and cut it down to skating twice per week instead of four to five times per week and that you train five times per week because the off-ice is just as important.

So when you say train you’re talking about strength training in the gym?

Oh yes, strength training in the gym. Whether you are going to a trainer or working out by yourself, staying in shape.  You know skating is important but at the end of the day it’s all the off-ice work that you are going to put in that is going to make you a better hockey player.  Going back on the ice, you are going to get all your skills back and it’s going to make it easier for you to play.

Do you feel the off-ice training that you’ve been doing at RPP has been helping you open up your stride and given you longer and more powerful stride?

Absolutely, training at RPP is top notch.  It has helped me to be more agile on the ice and quicker.  I went and skated past two weeks and I can already see a change, big time, with my speed and quickness and everything else.   It’s been a great help.

Awesome Mike, thanks a lot for your time.