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01

December

A Hockey Player’s Present

Posted by Greg Carter

Puck luck, pride & passion top this years’ wish list for youth hockey players!

With the 2021-22 youth hockey season well under way the holidays are always a good time to pause and evaluate your game. Very likely there are certain aspects of your game that are going really well, and also a few areas that need some work. 

Our past holiday hockey player wish lists have delivered some great gifts and this year the list starts with pride.

Hockey Players Play With PRIDE

A recent conversation with a fellow youth hockey coach was about how much pride their entire team is taking in the way they approach each and every practice and game. From being on time to working hard and getting along in the locker room, each and every player is taking great pride in being a contributor to the team. It’s no surprise their season is off to an awesome start. 

Hockey Players Play With PURPOSE

Youth hockey players have more skill than ever. The best players approach every drill at every practice with purpose. They don’t skate the drill to simply get back in line to do it again, they skate the drill with the purpose of getting better. If you play with purpose you will prosper! 

Hockey Players Are PREPARED

We’ve talked in past articles about the “6’s P’s of Performance’: Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” Being prepared is part of a winning mindset. Are you prepared for every practice and every game?

Hockey Players Play With PASSION

The best hockey players have one thing in common beyond a high skill level; they are also the most passionate about everything hockey. Passion can’t be taught, but if you have it, dream it, live it and pursue it! 

Hockey Players Create Their Own PUCK LUCK

How many hockey games have you watched where the puck just seems to be bouncing in the right direction for one team all game. Hockey is a game of inches and there is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time and ‘lucky bounces’ . . . but there is also something to be said for creating the opportunities to be in that lucky spot in the first place. Work hard and create your own puck luck this season!

Thanks for reading and we hope our annual hockey player holiday list provides you with plenty to think about and to help improve your game this season. As a reader of our Player Tips from our Pro Staff, we would also like to extend our Early Bird Special to you for our summer of 2022 Hockey Schools. Take advantage of the best prices of the season by clicking here

18

November

Summer Hockey Camp in Massachusetts

You made it through tryouts. You made it through the first few practices of the season. You’ve pulled the game jersey over your head. Now what?

We all know the saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. The question for youth hockey players is, how tough are you?

Toughness In Youth Hockey Players

We are not talking about physical toughness here, but instead mental toughness and the ability to fight through adversity. This season a friend’s daughter started her freshman year at a top Division I school. She came out of high school as a highly regarding player. Being handed a redshirt for her freshman year – and being told she would not see any game action – was not something she expected or was used to.

At this point, there are a few paths that this player could go down:

1. Frustration at the coach, program and fellow players that there would be zero game action for an entire year, again not something she was accustomed to since she started playing hockey in pre-school. It’s a long year when all you do is practice and frustration can set in!

2. Go with the flow, knowing she wasn’t going to be playing, hang in the shadow of the team for the season, and do just enough to get by until she had a chance to see some game action after her redshirt season.

3. Maintain her character, rely on what got her to that and even ratchet it up another notch, continuing to work as hard to harder than anyone on the team.

When the going gets tough, what would you do in this situation?

This player chose to shift into the next gear. Super positive attitude on and off the ice. First on and off the ice and practice. Always in the weight room. Always shooting pucks. Then more pucks. And when it was time to go, shooting a few more pucks.

Youth Hockey Lesson: Hard Work Always Pays Off

When the time came to fill an unexpected opening on the roster, guess who got the call into the coaches office. This player traded the redshirt for a game jersey, and the rest is history!

This season you are sure to experience disappointment and adversity, youth hockey is full of it. The important question is, how will you respond to it? Like this college hockey player, we hope that when the going gets tough, you too, will get going!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful Thanksgiving next week. All of our 2022 Summer Hockey Camps are listed on our website and we once again invite you to train with us!

03

November

In a recent article we talked about Alex Ovechkin’s pursuit of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time scoring record and lessons youth hockey players can learn from watching this chase unfold over the next few years. After a dozen or so games this season, the excitement has only continued to build.

While scoring goals garner the headlines – and in the case of Ovechkin another notch closer the record – assists and great passes can be equally impressive and exciting. 

Great players know where teammates are on the ice and great passers have the ability to put the puck on their stick: stretch passes that spring players into the offensive zone to split the defensemen are just as exciting as the goal itself. Tic-tac-toe passes that force the goalie to move laterally across the goal crease allowing for an easy tap in are as pretty as it gets.

Saucer passes across a sprawling defenseman’s stick landing perfectly flat on a linemate’s stick should be an ESPN Top 10 every time. Full-stride tape-to-tape passes heading up ice that leave a defender spinning like a top, is just as fun to watch as the puck crossing the goal line.

Precision passing is a skill that just like any other, requires practice, practice, and more practice. Youth hockey players should focus on the fundamentals of passing such as keeping your head up and proper form and follow through. Mechanics are important to passing, but one of the greatest passers said it best ‘great passers don’t miss the tape, just like great goal scorers don’t miss the net.’ 

As your youth hockey season gets underway, focus on making great passes – precision passes – every time.  Too often practices and drills lose their flow because of errant passes. The drill stops, players get back in line and the opportunity is lost. A great coach once said that players need to work as hard as making a great pass as they do taking a great shot on a goal.

This season pass with purpose and pass with precision! 

Thanks for reading and good luck with the start of your season!  If you are starting to think about youth hockey schools for the Summer of 2022, so are we! Stay tuned HERE for dates and locations!

This article first appeared in the Massachusetts Hockey Newsletter.
Greg Carter Hockey School is a proud partner of Mass. Hockey, the governing body of youth hockey in Massachusetts.

13

October

Learning From The Best

Posted by Greg Carter

Youth hockey players have a great opportunity to learn this season from the NHL greats. Alex Ovechkin enters the 2021-22 season with 730 goals. Wayne Gretzky scored 894 goals, leaving the Washington Capitals superstar 165 away from surpassing The Great One as the games greatest goal scorer. 

It’s worth noting (or reminding) that Gretzky also had 1,963 assists totalling 2,857 total points. Those numbers were long believed to be carved into the record book in stone, and untouchable!

While the NHL superstar is beyond the peak of his career, and would need to score at a record pace for an older player, there are plenty not only cheering for him, but firmly believing he can accomplish the once unimaginable.

What can youth hockey players learn from this pursuit of greatness?   

Listen to how the superstar is approaching it all: 
“Let’s don’t look too far,” Ovechkin said. “Game by game, step by step.”
This is something all great coaches tell great players and great teams!

Listen to his teammates:
“I absolutely think it’s realistic,” said Nicklas Backstrom. “If anyone can do it, it’s him. That’s the kind of hunger he’s got, and that’s the kind of goal-scorer he is.”
Great players have confidence and those around them develop that confidence. Great players always remain hungry. 

Listen to The Great One:
“He’s definitely got a legitimate shot,” Gretzky said. “I’m one of his biggest fans, and it’s only good for the game if he can break the record. He just has to be relaxed, and it’s going to take two, three, four years but eventually he’s probably going to break the record.”
How many youth, prep, college or professional players would be a cheerleader for someone chasing their record? Respect in the highest regard and something all players should emulate! 

Humility:
“I’m going to try (my) best,” said Ovechkin. “That’s why I want to play five more years. To have a chance to catch the ‘Great One,’ why not?” “If I’m going to be second, it’s a pretty good number, as well.”

For the record, Ovechkin needs 72 goals for second place.

NHL All-Time Goal Scoring Records

Wayne Gretzky – 894
Gordie Howe – 801
Jaromir Jagr – 766
Brett Hull – 741
Marcel Dionne – 731
Alex Ovechkin – 730
For a full list, click here.

Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy the NHL season. There is a lot to be learned from the game’s greatest! Good luck with the start of your youth hockey season. For more articles, check out our Player Tips!

29

September

Let The Games Begin!

Posted by Greg Carter
Summer Hockey Camp in Summer Hockey Camp in Massachusetts

We hope that the start of your season goes as planned, whether that is tryouts which will start soon in many parts of the country, or first practices which is the case here in our home state of Massachuesetts. 

In our last article we talked about 3 Reasons for an Awesome Season including preparedness, desire and the band of brothers and sisters! Chasing Your Hockey Dreams and not being afraid to take chances (on the ice creatively) as well as pushing yourself outside your comfort zone with training and new opportunities often can lead to great things. Never be afraid to chase your dreams!

With the NHL preseason starting in a few days, it’s always a good idea for youth hockey players to watch what the best players in the world are doing on the ice. We like to say that The Great Ones Make It Look Easy and all of the most skilled hockey players have a hero or heroes that they look up to and try to emulate.

You might recall that a year ago we were in the midst of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Yes, hockey playoffs in September due to the pandemic! Our player tips talked about great teams winning one goal games, the fact that great players make great plays when it counts the most and that shuffling lines is not the end of the world. Keep this in mind as you start the 2021-22 youth hockey season! 

We wish you the best of luck with the start of your hockey season and hope that the skills you worked on at summer hockey school get you off to a great start. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows and remember to Focus On What You Can Control versus worrying about what you can’t.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

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