player tips

11

April

This spring we’ve seen the first pitch of America’s summer pastime lead to games being postponed because of snow; and wow, have we seen snow! So what has the weather and baseball taught us about hockey? Well, just as we saw at the NCAA Frozen Four, to be prepared for anything.

As the commentators described how the Bulldogs were lucky to even get into the NCAA tournament with the last at-large bid – ironically via an overtime win by Notre Dame who they eventually beat for the National Championship – I was reminded of many times in sports when an unexpected opportunity presented itself, and the outcome being squarely rooted in being prepared.

Just like the UMD team was prepared to make the most of the opportunity to play in the NCAA’s, players themselves need to be ready for the unexpected. When the chance presents itself to fill in on the power play, will you be ready? When your linemate gives you the perfect no-look pass on the tape, will you bury it? When the coach calls your number in the shootout with the game on the line, do you have a ‘go-to’ move or a sure-fire shot?

Even though I wasn’t ready for all of the snow this winter, or what I thought would be a nice little late-season snowfall that lead to a dreadful blast in mid-March, and ended with what we can only hope is a final kick in the teeth last week, I am ready now, with a snowplow large enough to blow out three lanes of interstate highway in a single pass. 

Like our unexpected battles with Mother Nature this winter, UMD’s unexpected birth in the NCAA’s and the boy’s of summer having snow delays, hockey players need to always be ready for what the game presents.

We hope you take advantage of the opportunity to train with us this summer. Our hockey camps have locations in 10 states and specialize in key areas of skill development that we call the CARTER METHOD. This includes the fundamentals of skating, stick handling, and shooting, and we teach in a way that builds confidence and leads to continuous improvement. Control, Agility, Reflex, Technique, Edge and Retention.

Our talented and knowledgeable staff is eager to answer your questions and help you prepare for next season, as well as the next time the unexpected opportunity presents itself. Because when it’s your turn to shine, great teams and great players are prepared, confident and ready to perform!  

 

14

March

Hockey School

As a hockey player, to achieve something special, you need to know what you want, and once the top of the mountain is in sight, it’s time to set the goals to get there.

A coach used to say that goals without a plan, are just dreams. And while there is nothing wrong with dreaming, if you really want to make dreams come true, there needs to be a road map with mile markers to help you get there.  Each summer we work with players from across the country who share a common goal, to become better hockey player. Most have an idea of what they want to achieve in hockey, and a select few have a really thought out plan on a training regiment that will increase their odds of accomplishing their goal.

So what are your summer plans? If you are really serious about becoming a better hockey player, your summer plans should include goals written on a piece of paper. One youth hockey player that I know actually has goals written in inspirational quotes on the bedroom wall. Documenting goals on paper, bedroom walls or on the goalposts of the net you shoot on in your basement or garage is important. If a goal is not written down somewhere they are too easily and often forgotten.

Start simple with your goals, maybe this summer you hope to develop a really good wrist shot. Or maybe you need to increase your speed or quickness. Power skating is something every player needs to continually improve on, so maybe that is on your list. The point is, when you start to set goals and work towards achieving them, when you finally do it is an extremely rewarding process, and increases the likelihood that you will reevaluate your game, and set higher goals next time. The most important step in this process is the first one, to get in the routine of setting goals, and then developing the good habits of working towards that goal!

Alexander Ovechkin recently scored his 600th goal, and did so fourth fastest in the history of the NHL. Ovechkin is obviously graced with plenty of natural talent, but his off season focus is about fitness. He knows that if he is in the best shape, he stands the best chance of dominating in the top hockey league in the world. His summer goals are focused around fitness and conditioning. Ovechkin was quoted as saying “Without training, I’m nothing. If I’m not training, I’m done.”

Long before he scored all these goals, he set his own goals. And after 600, he’s still committed.

So what are your goals for the summer? We invite you to set your goals and train with us to help achieve them at one of our 2018 summer hockey camps in ten states this summer.  Thanks for reading!

25

February

Olympic Inspiration

Posted by Greg Carter
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Watching the Olympics in Pyeongchang, and specifically the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team win gold, was a great opportunity for young athletes to gain some motivation and inspiration. Here are some of the excellent lessons and takeaways for hockey players from the 2018 Winter Games.

Follow Your Dream. One of the best parts of the Olympic telecasts are the stories about the athletes themselves. Where they came from, their home town, their grassroots level coaches, their family and friends. When you get a behind the scenes look at these athletes competing on a world stage for all to witness their extreme highs and devastating lows, you realize they are just like . . . you! They started as normal, everyday athletes from across the U.S. who followed their dream, and were lucky enough to accomplish it! What is your dream?

Stick With It. Olympic hockey without NHL players was interesting. Some of the coolest stories were about the players in the twilight of their career who only a short time ago never dreamed of pulling an Olympic jersey over their shoulders. These are the guys who perhaps appreciated it the most; players who grinded through a career in the minors or played in Europe or other far-away places. But their love of the game and commitment earned them a spot representing their country in the Olympics!

Training Pays Off. Whether it was cross country skiing, hockey or snowboarding, these are extremely well-conditioned athletes. Every single one of them. It seemed however, that when you followed the story line of the best of the best, these were the athletes that went above and beyond the rigorous training of their teammates and competitors. Sure, there is some God-given talent in these athletes, but the best of the best combine that talent with a work ethic and training program outdone by no one.

Winning Is The Greatest! Watching the emotional celebrations of the athletes was super cool. Seeing the raw emotions when they captured a medal, it was evident that the culmination of all of their years of training, sacrifice and dedication was spilling over. To spend the thousands of hours training, away from school, family, friends and a normal life, all to capture that win, is something special and should serve as motivation as we all try to win in our own lives each and every day!

The Olympics are a very special time, and there are many inspirational lessons to be learned from all of the athletes from around the world. Take those lessons and apply them to your daily routine for hockey, and you are sure to improve your overall game, on and off of the ice. Thanks for reading, and we invite you to follow your dream with us this summer at one of our 2018 hockey camps located in 10 states! Registration is in full swing, claim your spot today!

13

February

What Are You Teaching About Tryouts?

Posted by Greg Carter
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Tryouts are undoubtedly one of, if not the most, stressful times of the hockey season. What can you do to reduce some of the anxiety and nervousness during the week? Over the years we have discovered a few great nuggets of advice to assist both players and parents.

The first thing we like to talk about is preparedness. Have you done everything you could at hockey camp, during the season, and practicing on your own to work on your weaknesses and improve your skills? Being prepared for tryouts includes getting good rest, having the little things taken care of ahead of time – such as skate sharpening, tape and laces – as well as eating the right types of food that will provide much needed energy. I’ll never forget watching a parent park on the curb of the rink to unload a player who ran a 40 yard dash to the locker room. Why? Because the line for skate sharpening at the local sporting goods store was 10 deep! How do you think that player performed that day!

Confidence is also important, and is a direct result of preparedness. When you hit the ice for tryouts, are you poised and self-assured, knowing that you have done all you possibly could to improve every aspect of your game. Skating is one of the primary skills that a tryout evaluator will take notice of. Shooting, stickhandling, hustle and ‘game awareness’ are also important. Be confident in your game and it will show!

Manage the mayhem. This is very important, because as a parent, the more excited you get about tryouts and the more stress and anxiety that you show, the more your child will bring it onto the ice. What are you teaching and talking about when it comes to tryouts? Rather than spending the week quizzing your child about how they did during each and every drill and scrimmage, focus on making sure they are prepared with good rest and meals. What we have found is that it’s best to simply give your player everything they need to properly prepare and have the confidence to perform, and then let them talk about it when they are ready. It’s amazing how obvious it is to see the stress and downright fear in the face of the players who get lectured on the way to the rink.

Finally, one very important thing to keep in mind about the week of tryouts, is that although it is one short period of time to show what you’ve got, coaches have been watching and listening. This is where some intangibles come into play. If you are a player that consistently is a positive player who brings a great attitude and a team player mentality, this is going to help when it comes down to tough decisions. Coaches know players, whether they have coached them recently or not, they know what they are getting both on and off the ice. If you have worked hard this season and been a good player and teammate, you are already well on your way to a great tryout.

Remember, this is one tryout in one moment in time. We have seen plenty of players make a team one year, and get cut the next. The motivated ones are those who come back the following year and make the team again. There are plenty of great players in college and the NHL who have been cut from a team. The biggest regret you will have is if you weren’t prepared and didn’t give it your all, so get prepared, get some rest and eat well and the rest will take care of itself!

Good luck at tryouts and we look forward to hearing how you did this summer at one of our camps in 10 states!
If you haven’t already signed up, registration is in full swing and you can claim your spot today!

31

January

Goal Scorers & Prolific Passers

Posted by Greg Carter
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Most teams have a goal scorer that can be counted on to find the back of the net on a regular basis. And as every good hockey coach will attest to, wherever you find a goal scorer, there is usually a great playmaker nearby. While everyone wants to score goals, having the talent to read a play and put the puck on the tape is an equally impressive skill.

Are you a good passer? Making a good pass can be the difference between winning and losing a game. In practice it can be the difference between a great start to a drill, or it ending before it ever begins as the puck slides down the entire length of the ice.

Practicing passing, and the proper fundamentals, should be a regular part of your skill training. Becoming a better passer is a simple way for players to make huge contributions to their team, and it all starts with a good hockey personality. A good personality you might ask? Absolutely, because in order to be a good passer you can’t be a puck hog! Great passers have a high ‘hockey IQ’ and try to making the right hockey play, not just trying to light the lamp themselves. And best of all? Great playmakers know that when they make a great pass, they oftentimes can expect a great pass back!

Tips and tricks to passing with precision:

Vision. Making a good pass starts with keeping your head up and being aware of the play. The skill of passing involves reading and anticipating the play, and not just making a pass, but making the right pass.

Accuracy = Tape-to-tape. Players hear this all of the time from coaches, and in order to make an accurate pass you need to look at your target and make a good, crisp pass with a proper follow through. Taking the extra split second to find your target and see how fast he is moving is something that will come naturally with practice. A pass into the skates of your linemate is a surefire way to quickly end a breakout or breakaway. Practice makes perfect, so hit the tape every time in practice and you stand a good chance of doing the same in the game!

Mechanics. The mechanics of passing have changed over the years as sticks have evolved. Gone are the days of needing to over emphasize receiving the puck, especially as players get older and stronger and the stick flexes when receiving passes. Some fundamentals do remain constant, such as not slapping at the puck. This is a common mistake players make at younger ages. Instead of slapping at the puck, players should concentrate on the puck rolling off the blade from the heel toward the toe in a sweeping motion. Weight transfer is also important, so move from your back to front skate as you begin your follow through.

Once players master the basic fundamentals of passing, they can start to practice more advanced passes such as a saucer pass, which is one of our absolute favorites! Take the time to work on your skills so that when the game is on the line, you make the perfect tape-to-tape pass!

Need more help with your passing and skill development? Join us at one of our 2018 Summer Hockey Camps in ten states this summer!