The Friday morning in November in Kera, Espoo, is sleepy and gray.

The Kera hall complex next to the train track does not look particularly attractive from the outside, but the former logistics center has undergone a major transformation inside.

The envelope of the huge, 92,000-square-foot hall area features 18 paddle courts, a new rough gym, a frisbee golf course, golf simulators, snooker tables, startups and small brewery activities.

  • The article was originally published in Urheilulehti 50/2020.

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The hall provides an extensive setting for avid padelists and fitness enthusiasts, but inside the concrete walls of the industrial hall, one of the NHL’s best defenders is also sweating.

Miro Heiskanen is looking for a kick for the beginning of the season in the multipurpose hall in Espoo. Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Miro Heiskanen, one of the best hockey players in Finland at the moment, has been training closely in the halls of Kera in recent weeks.

In addition to Dallas Stars ’21-year-old star defender, there will be a small group of women in the gym’s functional area at 9 a.m. who are starting their own morning workouts.

For Heiskanen, Fridays are speed and foot days.

The morning and afternoon sessions will be led by Heiskanen's physics coach, two-time world aerobics champion Jouni Viitanen, who this time has also exceptionally brought his eight-year-old Leo son.

Viitanen, 38, is the physics manager of Viima Hockey, who offers individual training to players, under whose supervising eye Heiskanen does a weekly speed training.

- Miro is a very self-initiated and motivated top athlete.

He always comes to the exercises focused and ready, Viitanen says, while at the same time in the background Heiskanen warms up his body for the first speed bets of the day.

Not unnecessary lumps, but focused doing.

- Miro practices like he plays: an ice-cool guy, Viitanen announces.

The number of kilograms of running bets that Heiskanen pulls after him always depends on the test results obtained at the beginning of the training season.

This fall, we set off on a 25-pound record.

The response is increasing week by week as the NHL season approaches.

- Wait until you get to the maximum speed, and tighten it even more, Viitanen instructs his protector.

Heiskanen's fitness coach Jouni Viitanen is a two-time world champion in aerobics. Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Heiskanen darts performs face-to-face with basic readings, but with regular electrification round after another.

Accelerating running thrusts, nerve-irritating reaction exercises, and multi-rhythmic jumps with alternating series of movements.

Performances are short-term and recovery breaks are long.

- We try to do all the exercises, for example speed exercises, as sporty as possible and without forgetting the rhythm changes.

Miro's speed output is at a tremendous level.

Among other things, in the five-day jump, he gained 5–10 cents more in length in the results every week, Viitanen says.

Heiskanen is now training for the third year with Viitanen's teachings in Viima Hockey's stable.

The initiative originally came through Heiskanen's agent company, but the spark for continued cooperation quickly ignited.

- I liked this hustle and bustle right away.

A lot is known about physics training and this is so different from what you are used to training with the team, Heiskanen says.

- Here it is a really versatile workout.

I've noticed that every time you need to do to force the big weights, but rather seek to strengthen many different muscles in a diverse range of movements.

Speed ​​exercises that require different rhythms have brought a lot more to my own skating.

Quite rarely, completely similar situations come up on the ice.

It is good that there are a lot of different series of movements that require reactivity in training as well.

It also keeps the boxers awake on ice.

Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Building physics is an accurate and long-term job.

Heiskanen looks like a typical hockey player in his twenties in a t-shirt and shorts.

The upper body is narrow-lined and the legs have tendency.

Heiskanen is not a big or strong NHL player by any measure, as he is 185 cents tall and weighs close to 90 pounds.

Instead of collecting raw steak, the development of power levels focuses on species-specific series of movements instead of traditional side-pulls and squats.

- There is a lot of one-footed play in the game, so a better variation in power movement is, for example, one-foot hauling.

It’s a little different to pull it a hundred pounds than to pull a hundred pounds side by side.

That, in turn, brings more support and balance to the skating position, Viitanen explains.

Leg strengthening movements are done twice a week.

The range includes lots of skating-like movements, such as a side step squat and box jumps on the outermost leg.

- Studies show that the approximator muscle is the most important single muscle in skating.

That's why we immediately added the movements that affect the approximator muscle to give it more strength and speed, Viitanen explains.

Leo Viitanen, 8, sparrows from Miro Heiska. Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Heiskanen is one of the fastest defenders in the NHL, one of whose trump cards is an exceptional slider.

Skating is sleek and easy to look at, but by strengthening your foot strength levels, it’s possible to get even more gunpowder for skating.

Pistol squats with bar weights and compression movements with rubber band resistance are not favorites, based on Heiskanen's painful facial expressions, but he has noticed the benefits they bring concretely on ice.

- Especially at the beginning I noticed that all the small muscles got stuck because they hadn't been used to them before.

When you now going to be three years, I have noticed how long could start as compared to the first years, when we went to press, with stories still pretty basic, Heiskanen says.


 Miro practices like playing: an ice cool guy.

In the starting phase, Heiskanen made some movements completely without weights, but now, for example, “water-like” pistol squats go at 30 kilos and one-foot pull-out kits at just under 90 kilos.

- In the beginning when there was no weights involved, it is thought that whether this makes any sense, but that after the summer, must have felt that I am stronger and faster.

In movements where you have to go all the way deep and require a lot of small muscles, find that I can do them much more easily.

I've developed quite the biggest steps in recent years, experiencing Heiskanen.

The body is tuned on a “quality before quantity” basis.

Traditionally, company exercises rely on quantity, but under Viitanen you don't have to constantly go for acids in your face, as Heiskanen describes.

- Not just making tight sets, but tightening towards the end of sets.

All movements are always done at an accelerating rate.

If you just run full, it won’t bring development.

Adequate rest is also needed.

The last week of the exercise program is pulled hard, but otherwise the training periods are rhythmically accurate, Viitanen says.

Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Combining customized physics and skills coaching under one roof has been a comprehensive package for Heiskanen.

An Espoo resident gets to train in the landscapes of his youth with familiar specialist coaches on a weekly basis.

- Everyone is from the same company and blows into one coal, which helps players a lot.

A lot of things are done with the same idea.

When planning exercise programs, coaches know which exercise is appropriate for which day.

It also brings clarity.

Although he sometimes does some exercises alone, he always knows what to do and why it is useful, Heiskanen experiences.

Viima Hockey's customers are hockey players of different levels.

In addition to professional players, the customers include top-level juniors as well as hockey players who play for their own pleasure.

Precisely chopped individual coaching mariners several NHL players as well as players hockey in Europe.

For an exceptional individual at the level of Heiskanen, checking the training program does not seem easy at first.

- Many skill coaches may feel that what I can teach to a player at the level of Heiskanen.

Therefore, it is bowed in vain, but in that way one cannot earn the player’s appreciation.

I told Miro right at the beginning that I’m not here as your fan, but I want to be brutally honest and help you through that.

Miro only stated that he is not here to hear praise but to learn to be better, Viima Hockey's skill coach Iiro Mäntylä says.


 That’s why I told Miro right at the beginning that I’m not here as your fan, but I want to be brutally honest and help you through that.

Heiskanen has rocketed into the NHL starry sky in a few years.

Immediately in the coming season, he took on a big role from the Dallas downstairs, and development continued by leaps and bounds during the second NHL season of his career.

Heiskanen was downright the dominant player in the fall playoffs and one of the biggest reasons Dallas advanced to the Stanley Cup finals.

Heiskanen, who excelled as the third best scorer in the playoffs, left a strong wooden mark in the first playoffs of his young career.

Now the surface has just been scratched, they say they work with Heiskanen every day.

The skills of a young superstar are on display for everyone, but the engine can still be tightened tremendously in many different areas.

Miro Heiskanen makes every move accelerating in his physics training. Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

Improving physics is only part of the whole.

Heiskanen's weekly calendar is filled with a comprehensive training bank that develops motor skills, skating, shots, feeding, puck handling, observation and decision-making skills.

- I told Miro right at the beginning that you only take these tips in the mail.

Yes, he’s a third reserve, an NHL star defender and an exception in the world, but there are still so and so many things where he’s “bad”.

However, it should be seen as a good thing.

We have to think about how huge the potential is for him to become an even better player, Mäntylä says.

Heiskanen's skating is eye-catching and stands out from the crowd in the best league in the world, but even in that area there is still a lot to develop according to Mäntylä.

- You can see from skating that he can be much better at it, which inspires me as a coach.

It would be really depressing to tell Miro that he’s good at this and that, but that final level now just is this.

It’s really cool to see that while he’s already so good, there’s room for improvement in many areas.

Heiskanen's training includes, for example, quick changes of direction - just like in hockey. Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

- The purpose of this first exercise is to take away self-confidence, Mäntylä grins.

The Tuesday-day skill exercise led by Mäntylä begins with an exercise that requires motoring and coordination, where Heiskanen has difficulty getting to the rhythm.

The legs do not hit the stepladders applied to the artificial ice exactly as desired, which clearly frustrates Heiska.

As soon as Heiskanen gets his hands on the composite racket, the pace changes.

The rhythm is starting to be found better.

The disc stays on stage and the rhythm between the legs and hands condenses.

The motor exercises led by Mäntylä require a lot from the players, because sometimes the legs, arms and head have to be able to work at a completely different pace.

- The intention is to develop the commercial bank to be large enough so that you don't have to think too much about the performance on the ice and the solutions come from the so-called backbone.

In some game situations, your feet can quilt really quickly, but at the same time your upper body should be relaxed and allow for a soft, slow motion.

It is not easy even for these tops in the world, Mäntylä says.

Heiskanen's main job is at Dallas Stars.

The NHL season begins Jan. 13. Image: Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports / Reuters

Heiskanen's game literacy and game eye are second to none, but it is possible to refine this aspect with different exercises.

Thanks to a good understanding of the game, the game can be seen in a certain way, but good motor skills help to test it even better in game situations.

The versatility of solution models is key.

At the same time, a patent solution can be a good option, but also a limiting factor in the trough.

- Developmental reflections can remain on the nervous system, which can be seen in rapid stress situations.

In these situations, the body always locks up or reacts in the same way.

It is very difficult to change.

When this package can be opened and the neural network expanded, the business models will diversify and thus make gaming easier, Mäntylä opens.

There is still room for improvement in Heiskanen, for example in sharp translations.

Long and powerful straight skating is magical, but when more rhythm changes can be added to the range, Heiskane becomes an even more dynamic and harder to guard player.

If two completely opposite solutions are found for the same game situation, ie Miro can pull the gas past the bottom or make a punch turn and come out at a fast pace, after all, no person in the world can defend it out, Mäntylä says.


 It’s really cool to see that while he’s already so good, there’s room for improvement in many areas.

Anticipating and identifying situations separates top players from good players.

This side can also be developed both on and off the ice with playful decision-making exercises and sensorimotor exercises.

In order to develop observation and vision, Heiskanen has practiced this autumn, among other things, shooting and receiving inputs with specially developed strobolases, where the field of view is disturbed by a light stimulus.

- We do not practice technology so much, but maintain it more.

The practice aims to create the most challenging environments possible, where the player has to apply the learned variations and skills in many ways.

This makes it possible to transfer them to the game as efficiently as possible and speed up the decision-making process, Mäntylä says.

According to Heiskanen, Dallas trusts what is done in Kera. Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS

- I like that the exercises are challenging and sometimes you have to go into an area of ​​discomfort.

No more specific instructions or requirements have come from the end of Dallas, as they rely on what is being done here.

The results have been so good so far, Heiskanen says.

The player's own attitude and ability to internalize new things are decisive.

In this respect, according to his coaches, Heiskanen is the ideal coach.

- Miro is a very humble and capable player.

I have said that I will start a gimmick to book the end of the section between pages, because he has gone to three years, so a lot of forward and learn new pace all the time, Mäntylä laughs.

- It's really scary to think how good Miro will still be when his physics and motor skills improve.