player tips

11

September

big-time-player-blog

Each year at the start of the season after tryouts, players and parents are revved up with anticipation about where they will fit in on their team, what their role will be, and of course, what position they will play and the biggest question, what line will they be on?

At younger ages however, it is important to pump the brakes a bit, and to keep the larger development picture in perspective. The better players are not just the players who did the best at tryouts. They are players who understand all aspects of the game. They are players that are able to adapt to all situations in the game, offensively and defensively, are able to skate competitively both forwards and backwards, and understand the importance of “positional versatility” as it is described in a recent USA Hockey article:

“The ability to be versatile is a key component of today’s successful hockey player,” said USA Hockey’s Bob Mancini, an American Development Model regional manager. “And it starts in youth hockey. Playing multiple positions at a young age does more than just give options to kids and their coaches. By playing and learning multiple positions, players view the game from different areas and understand  how to better defeat opponents in the small battles that typically pit one position against another. So the benefits can be immediate, and they can also be long-term. Years down the road, those youth hockey days of playing multiple positions can pay big dividends.”

Being able to play multiple positions will help players not only with their long term development, but also immediately this season, as  you seek to find your place, and role, on a team. There are numerous success stories about prep, collegiate and professional players who earned a spot on a top team – and the top line – playing a position other than the one they anticipated. The great players know how to play all positions, and how to accept their role on a team.

As an old coach of mine used to say, it’s more important to be a complete player, than a first line player.

So as you start the season, rather than focusing on the first, second or third line, keep in mind all of the hard work that you put in at hockey camp and your off-season goals, and remember that playing all positions is just as important in long term development as is playing first line center or first line wing. The best players will always find a way to play together, and sometimes that might mean playing defense instead of center.

The question is, will you be prepared, and ready to play?

I have a friend in Minnesota, the Great State of Hockey, who loves spending time in the summer on the open water as much as he does in the winter playing hockey on the frozen ponds. Stories of catching walleyes during the months of May and June are told with as much enthusiasm as scoring goals in January and February. When the calendar turns to mid-July and August however  – the dog days of summer – fishing slows down, but that is when he gets the most excited!

As the water temperature heats up in the late summer, the fish become a bit lethargic and can be difficult to find. For those who are able to find fish, that is when the real game begins, which is getting them to take the bait. As my friend tells me, for the most part, he used to buy the same bait, use a similar presentation and fish some of the same spots, regardless of the time of year. As he became a more experienced fisherman, he tried new techniques, new lures and new spots on the lake.

As he put it, most fisherman don’t really put in the time to try new things, they are sort of stuck in the same old way of doing things, and the result is very few fish finding their way into the frying pan. My friend spent many winter hours reading about tactics that he was unfamiliar with, watching YouTube videos of professionals, and studying new ways to catch fish during the ‘slow’ months. And once he invested time and energy into exploring and learning, he found a better, more productive way to fish, and now looks forward to this time of year, when the boat traffic is less, and the abundance of fish has increased.

For hockey players, this fisherman’s story is no different than the hockey season. There will be that part of the season that is the ‘grind’, when you are physically and mentally tired. You have already played a lot of games and you still have a lot to go, plus playoffs!

The question is, what are you doing now, during the off-season, to prepare for the grind, or the dog days of the season. Are you, like this fisherman, preparing yourself so that when the team needs you most, you are able to step up and bring your best effort.

Players who prepare now, trying new moves, perfecting their stride, shooting pucks on a regular basis, they are the players who will outperform the opponents during the season, just as my friend is out fishing nearly everyone on the lake. It takes dedication and commitment during the off-season to not just hit the ice this fall in great shape, but perhaps more importantly, to carry your team through the tough stretches of the season.

As my friend from the State of Hockey put it, ‘It’s amazing how many people just quit fishing this time of year, because it’s so hot, or because the fish just aren’t biting. The fish are always biting, you just have to find the right presentation.’

Work hard this summer, train with a purpose and you will be ready for the mid-season grind when, like many fishermen, many hockey players go through a slump. Train hard and be ready to take advantage of the opportunity, because when everyone else slows down, the best players speed up.

Good luck and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

Click here for a full list of our remaining summer hockey schools.

13

June

There can always be an excuse for why something can’t or didn’t get done. It’s too early, too cold, too late or too difficult. But people who set goals and really want to achieve something don’t make excuses. They simply find a way to get it done and make it happen, regardless of the obstacles.

Stairs

I was chatting recently with a rink manager about an NHL player. This arena manager described the player as ‘one of those kids who came to the rink to run stairs‘. He would show up at the rink unannounced, ask permission to run the stairs, and there in the dark – the only one in the entire building – he would start his workout.

Eventually the arena manager started turning on the lights for this athlete and over time developed a friendship.  Sometimes friends would show up to run stairs with him, but eventually they would drop off and within a week or two, it was back to this one player running stairs, alone.

One day the arena manager asked the athlete what happened to his buddies. They had work. They went to the beach. They went fishing. They went to a movie. They were tired . . . The excuses were endless.

However for this one player who set a goal, who wanted to make the most out of his hockey career and play at the highest level he possibly could, there was no stopping him. This was his priority and he wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of it. There were no excuses, ever, for why he couldn’t find time in his daily routine to workout and best prepare himself to reach his goal.

There is a quote that says, “If it’s important enough, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.”

So this summer ask yourself, are you finding a way, or are you finding an excuse?

02

May

Finding Your Next Level

Posted by Greg Carter

Watching the NHL Playoffs, it becomes obvious very quickly that the players are competing at an entirely different level out there compared to the regular season. The speed and quickness of the game is greater. The intensity is higher. It makes you wonder, how do these players take an already accelerated game to a whole new level?

There is a quote about leadership and coaching that says if you can raise the level of effort and performance in those around you, you are officially a leader. When it comes to coaching hockey players, especially elite hockey players such as those playing in the NHL, finding a way to connect with each player and understanding how to get the most out of them is a key ingredient in the recipe for success.

But when it comes to finding that next level it begins and ends with the individual player. The great Vince Lombardi once said that if you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives. When you watch playoff hockey, these players are not settling for anything less than their best. They lay it on the line for every race to the puck. Every shot on goal and every pass is a laser. The battles in front of the net and in the corners are their own individual cage matches.

When you break down the game and analyze how amazing the individual talent and skill sets are out there, it can be compared to an engine in a machine. If the engine is built properly – in the case of hockey players, developed and trained properly – and also cared for properly, there will be a time when you can run that engine at the highest RPM’s and push it to maximum performance.

Youth hockey players who spend the time training and working on skills are doing just that, they are preparing themselves – their engine – for the periods of time (the playoffs) when they are going to need to rely on optimizing their performance at the highest level.

As the run for the Stanley Cup continues, it should serve as inspiration to take your own game to the next level, to shift your engine into the next gear. There is another great quote about commitment that says you’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.

We invite you to join us at one of our hockey schools this summer and with our training, find your very own next level!

 

 

 

 

 

Hockey SchoolGet ready to start your journey! With the hockey season behind us and summer training and development on the minds of hockey players everywhere, we invite – and challenge – you to become a better hockey player this summer.

Mapping out your summer hockey training is an exciting process, and our staff at Greg Carter’s Hockey School welcomes you to join us at one of our camps located in 10 states this summer. As we have discussed this season in our many player development articles, we have 23 years in the hockey school business and have enjoyed training thousands of hockey players who come to us sharing the same goal as you; to become a better hockey player!

We take development seriously. Our pro staff challenges skaters to reach their full potential by teaching the fundamentals of skating, stick handling and shooting. We pride ourselves in teaching in a way that builds confidence and leads to continuous improvement. Simply put, at our hockey camps and hockey clinics we offer you the most on-ice instruction with the best results.

A few of the highlights of training with the CARTER METHOD include Control, Agility, Reflex, Technique, Edge and Retention. Our website is loaded with player tips and testimonials about our successful teaching methods. If you are a serious hockey player looking for an elite training program this summer, give us a call or click here to register for one of our programs!

We look forward to a great summer and to having the opportunity to help you achieve your goals!