by Lindsay Miller
Have you been to a Nashville Predators hockey game yet? Of course you have. But in case you are one of the few that hasn’t, I guarantee you’ve checked for tickets. The fast paced play, the sound of skates on the ice, the puck flying into the stands, the lights, the crowd, the action, the pure adrenaline through the packed crowd. After taking in a Preds game inside Bridgestone Arena, you will officially be a hockey fan – and your live sports experience will never be the same.
David Good has been a hockey fan all his life. Growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he was lacing up ice skates before he learned to tie his shoes. Hockey was introduced early in his childhood and continued to be a steady passion as a teen and into college where he played for the University of Colorado. Today, he considers himself lucky to be surrounded by the sport he loves. Good isn’t just a fan though, he is a long-time athlete, a motivator, a modest human-being, willing student and a well-respected Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Nashville Predators.
While Good may not come flying out of the saber-tooth tiger tunnel on game night, he sure as daylight deserves the credit for helping those players get there. Good is responsible for preparing and supervising workout programs for all players on the team. While much of his work is done behind the scenes – calculating everything from rep schemes to sports psychology – he lays the foundation for what all of us screaming fans see under the bright lights on the ice.
Before coming to Nashville in 2004, Good served as the Director of Speed, Strength and Conditioning for the West Coast Sports Medicine Foundation in Manhattan Beach, Calif. He served as the Assistant Speed, Strength and Conditioning Coach from 1997-99 with the Ice Dogs (IHL). And later held the same title with the Los Angeles Kings from 1999-2003. He also served as Strength and Conditioning Coordinator at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles from 1998-99.
Before moving to California, Good served as the Student Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Colorado for two years, where he also received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. While there, he gained certifications in strength and conditioning, sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting and kettlebell training.
Overall, Good provides players with guidance in all things health and fitness. He claims the key element to the success of the Predators isn’t just one aspect or another – it is the combination and balance of them all. Between strength training, conditioning, nutrition and a solid rehab program, the players have an exceptional staff to support them. Furthermore, Good claims, “We are all working towards the same goal and that is the most important thing.”
The team is kept on track and healthy with the help of many. He says, “For five years, Marietta Parrish has been the team dietitian, and she is amazing. With her help, the performance of our athletes has increased. Her work allows me to be more of the nutrition cop, because I get to enforce her expertise.” What Good is eluding to is the teamwork that makes the team work. Good agrees, the health and performance of his players is only amplified by the dedication and consistency to improve their bodies from the inside-out.
Good is entering his fifteenth season as the Strength and Conditioning Coach. “This institute is amazing, from the top down,” he says. “They’re hiring really great people – everyone from the staff to the professional players to the surrounding volunteers and interns,” which is a testament to the reason Good has stayed in Nashville for this extended amount of time.
At this professional level, Good explains, “you have to find different ways to motivate athletes.” He’s tasked with stimulating interest and enthusiasm in order to accomplish the required work rate. He explains the overall accomplishments are not because of effort or muscle gain (which are both helpful), but how you speak and what you say. “Sports psychology is fun and challenging, but you have to learn how to communicate with your team. Otherwise no improvement and no progress is made,” he conveys.
According to Good, the major difference between professional athletes and the average gym goer is specificity. “I have to be hands on,” he says. And because specific needs have to be met in order for this level of fitness to succeed, the first thing he does every day is talk to the team’s athletic trainer. He also says, “mental training is a large part of our recovery.” But between the starting product and the end product, it is hard to predict. “It’s impossible to program too far out because [the players’ needs] change from week to week or day to day,” he admits.
As a self proclaimed military brat, Good says he loves all things concerning the armed forces and seems to always be reading something on the topic, which transfers to his focus on discipline and continuing education. He understands that as an individual, being well prepared and continuing to grow with the sport, will offer the same advancements to those around him. If he grows, everyone grows. That is the purpose of a coach.
The ability to lead by example requires multiple strong character traits. Good claims, “My parents set up that type of role model for me and then professionally my mentors taught me a lot, especially about the business.” He thoroughly believes in doing what you ask of others. He is direct. And he is honest. And he honors the lessons in his own life by passing them on. One of his most memorable pieces of advice was, “Be a leader not a boss,” and he reveals, “I would have a harder time asking anyone to do things if I, myself, refused to do them.”
Living in three different cities, has had a major impact on his life. Good says, “I was excited to learn at the beginning of my career. Los Angeles was such a big city, far from my experience at home. It was great support and awesome to be around my brother, but I had to figure out how to survive almost.” Each place in life created an important memoir, as is the case for many of us. But from the beginning to now, he has managed to keep certain common denominators: Working in a field he loves, in a place he admires, doing what he has always had a passion for. Because of this, his excitement to learn and improve has not faltered.
Good grew up with a family of athletes whose mother, to this day, at the age of 80, is still figure skating. The role models in his life continue to lead him the way he leads others. “I want people around me to be healthy too,” he says, “because I want to know I have set the proper example – the way others have set one for me. That way, when someone needs me, I am present and able to support them the way they have supported me.”