Ryan O’Reilly is leading the St. Louis Blues to the promised land.
The 28-year-old center is a big reason the Blues are within one win of their first Stanley Cup title, as he’s notched a team-leading 20 points this postseason.
Before playing with the Blues, O’Reilly was with the Buffalo Sabres and the Colorado Avalanche, where his unique training methods became better known to his teammates and his fans.
Starting at the age of 5, O’Reilly began training with his father Brian, who’s a sports trainer for professional athletes. His father put him and his brother through rigorous workouts with a different edge.
What’s unique about the way he trains?
Ever since Ryan was a kid, his father has tested his mind by firing questions at him while he exercised. Brian would throw math and logic questions at his sons while they stick-handled and worked on their balance. In an interview with Sportsnet‘s “The Pro Files,” Ryan said those quick questions during training are what helped him develop a better hockey sense by allowing him to think and act simultaneously while on the ice.
O’Reilly is also really big on yoga, another discipline encouraged by his dad. O’Reilly will perch on a balance beam as his father verbally guides him through different poses, which looks insanely tough:
According to an article published by the Denver Post, who interviewed O’Reilly during his time on the Avalanche, “[yoga] works all the fibers, all the tissue. A lot of times guys get hurt (playing hockey) because they’re extended and don’t have the strength and flexibility. Yoga is the teacher of strength and flexibility, and it activates everything.” His routine includes plenty of running, telling KMOX NewsRadio he logged 4-6 miles a day last summer. Skill-wise, his hand-eye coordination is incredible:
He often trains alongside his older brother, Cal, who’s appeared in 145 career NHL games:
O’Reilly seems to have a good head on his shoulders when it comes to his on-ice work, telling ESPN, “If there’s a play last game that I mishandled or I didn’t see what I wanted to see on it, I take some reps on that. So if it happens again, I’m not worried about it.”
The routine has helped O’Reilly stay resilient, as he’s suffered just one significant injury in over 750 career NHL games. He led the NHL in face-off wins this season while also notching 49 assists. He is one of just three finalists for the Selke Trophy, which is awarded to best the defensive forward in the league.