player tips

03

October

Summer Hockey Camp’s Best Reward 

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter's Hockey School

As we hit the ice full speed for the season, I was recently reminded of one of the best rewards from our summer hockey camp, and it’s not at all what I would have imagined, or you might think!

Having played hockey for nearly my entire life – youth, collegiately and in the ECHL – and more recently running our hockey camp for the past two decades, I have met virtually every ‘category’ of player. There are the players who have all of the talent in the world, but never figure out how to dedicate themselves and put it to good use, resulting in shortened careers. There are the players who have all the will in the world, but at a point in time run out of the skill needed to make it to the next level. And of course a million other ‘categories’ of players including those who just want to have fun, meet friends and enjoy the camaraderie and teamwork.

But every so often you meet a player who is as good of a person off of the ice as they are a hockey player on the ice. Nothing is more refreshing than a player who can go out and score a hat trick, lead the team in points all season and is at the same time respectful to coaches and officials, a great student and maybe even volunteering to help others in the community. What is even more refreshing, and rewarding, is when as a coach and instructor, you have had the opportunity to watch this player grow throughout their career knowing you have had a hand in helping shape such a well-rounded individual, both on and off of the ice.

This past summer I had the pleasure of welcoming back a couple of players who grew up participating in our programs and our summer hockey camps. Both will be playing Division I hockey this year for a storied program that ‘wins’ as much in the classroom as they do on the ice. One will be a captain as an underclassman after leading his team in goals last year. These two players skated with our youth players and it turned out to be one of the most memorable and rewarding weeks of the summer.

When they arrived everyone knew who they were and that they were great hockey players. They didn’t have to say please and thank you to everyone they met, but they did. They didn’t have to interact, smile, laugh and try to help every player on the ice, but they did. They didn’t have to pull a struggling skater aside for extra edge work, but they did. They didn’t have to tell stories to every kid that asked about playing college hockey, but they did, because not too long ago it was them looking up to someone, asking those same questions!

Character is critical in hockey, and I was reminded of this watching these two at camp this past summer. We’ve said in past articles that “talent gets you noticed, but character gets recruited.” It was extremely rewarding – and inspiring – as I watched these two at camp to know that yes, they became great hockey players, but even more importantly, they became incredible young adults.

As you go through this season and strive to win every puck battle, every shift, every period and every game, keep in mind that the very best players, especially in the game of hockey, are also great off of the ice. Respect your coaches, teammates, officials, parents and teaches, and most of all, respect the great game of hockey. I can tell you that after spending more than four decades in hockey that if you do this, you will be remembered, and rewarded, for the rest of your life!

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

 

11

September

Greg Carter Hockey Camp

Each and every summer our great staff of coaches spend countless hours instructing youth hockey players from across the country. We pride ourselves on building on each days’ skills and challenge players to reach their full potential as the hockey camp progresses. We see players from border to border and coast to coast, all with a desire to work hard and get better. While each player is unique in their pursuit of greatness, we’ve seen a consistent trend with players in terms of strengths, weaknesses and some of the intangibles that help define good versus great players.

Here are some of top takeaways from our hockey camps in 10 states over the summer of 2018:

Fundamentals. Skating, stick handling and shooting. Players need to work hard on these fundamental skills to build confidence. Think of fundamental hockey skills as the bricks of the foundation of a home. If the foundation and bricks are not sturdy, everything built on top of it will be weak. The same holds true for hockey skills, master the fundamentals and you are well on your way!

Determination and Desire. Coaches love hockey players who listen, and especially those players that listen and have the determination and desire to step outside of their comfort zone. Summer hockey camps provide an excellent opportunity for players to receive great advice and instruction, but only if they are focused, engaged and ready to apply what they learn. Have the desire to use coaching and teaching moments to improve your game.  Have the determination to work hard to do it the right way, rather than going back to the comfort zone of doing it the way you always have!

Accept Constructive Criticism. Coaching and instructing has changed over the years, especially the past few years. Good communication is key to making sure players understand what they need to do to get better. Sometimes players hear things that they may not want to, but in order to get better they need to understand exactly what their weaknesses are. Everyone loves to hear about their strengths, but good players are willing to accept constructive criticism.

Fun. That’s right, hockey needs to be fun! While it is a very intense game that requires a lot of skill, when you look at some of the best players, they are also the ones having the most fun. Look no further than Alexander Ovechkin and his pursuit of the Stanley Cup last spring, talk about a guy having fun!

And we also had plenty of fun and a great time this summer working with players who really want to work hard and get better! To everyone who attended our summer of 2018 hockey camps, thank you! We enjoyed working with you and hope you have a great start to the season.

See you at the rink soon!

 

22

August

Greg Carter

Whether you are playing football this fall or just enjoy cheering on your favorite team, the CARTER Method of training can be applied to multiple sports and athletes, whether it’s in the centerfield to the backfield!

Control. The importance of body control in an athlete is critical. Every movement is a skill and in order to master a skill, and movement, an athlete must be dedicated to it, whether on the offensive line in football, or the blue line in hockey. Athletes must understand and enhance body movements to improve their overall balance and performance.

Agility. There was a great video that came out this summer of Nashville Prdators’ defenseman P.K. Subban working out on the ice skating with quick feet, changing directions and position of his body quickly and effectively. And, he did all of this under complete control. Speed, coordination, quick reflexes and balance are all important characteristics of having great agility.

Reflex. The Little League World Series is one of the great sporting events of the year. Watching a recent game I saw a batter send a line drive screaming right back at the pitcher. This pitcher stuck out his glove and snagged the ball before it flew by him into the outfield for a base hit. Great athletes have excellent reflexes.

Technique. Proper technique is the foundation of training. Enhancing performance without the proper technique is virtually impossible, especially as athletes mature. With football season upon us, color commentators love to talk about the technique of players, especially quarterbacks! There have been many good quarterbacks who never became great or elite, because they didn’t have the technique that would allow them to get to the next level. Make sure to pay attention to and work and proper technique!

Edge. When we talk about ‘edge’ in hockey we are talking about skating and using the inside and outside edges of the skate blade. Having great control and agility as an athlete will give you every advantage when the game is on the line.

Retention. The retention of motor skills, technique and other skill attributes is paramount. Repetition leads to retention. Repeatedly test yourself on what you are learning and over time, you will find success!

We hope you have a great Labor Day Weekend and an awesome start to the season! 

 

 

19

July

Summer Dreams – Dream Big!

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter Hockey Camp

A big part of the enjoyment of training hockey players all summer is helping them reach their full potential. And when it comes to dreaming big about hockey careers, we’ve learned to never count out anyone!

Watching the Major League Baseball All Star Game this week it was amazing how many players have made it to the big leagues, despite being undersized. Consider the following players who were featured during the game:

– Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies is 5′ 8″. He has 20 homers this season.

– Cleveland Indians second baseman Jose Ramirez is 5′ 9″ and 165 pounds. He has 29 homers so far this season which is tied for first in the American League.

Mookie Betts, a right fielder for the Boston Red Sox, is also 5′ 9″. This season he has hit 23 home runs. Last season he hit 31.

– Often described as the “best inch-for-inch hitter in baseball” Jose Altuve is 5′ 6″. Altuve is a three-time batting champion. He has hit 24 home runs in both of the past two seasons.

All of these players made it to the top of the game because yes, they have a ton of talent. But they also overcame coaches, so-called experts and scouting reports claiming they were too weak, too small or too whatever to make it to the next level. But you know what? They made it to the next level. Why? Because they never game up on themselves!

This summer as you are training and working hard to become a better hockey player you have a decision to make. Are you going to listen to what others might say about your talent or physical stature – good, bad or otherwise – or are you going to stay focused on your training and your goals and overcome the obstacles. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will!  

A great coach once told me that you can’t ever let anyone control your destiny and that ‘if it’s going to be, it’s up to me”. As you progress through this summer and increase your strength, stamina and skills remember these lessons, and find some inspiration from these ‘boys of summer’ that not only made it to the Major Leagues, but became All-Stars!

Whatever your summer dreams, dream big, work hard and never give up!

Greg Carter's Hockey School

The top players in hockey are the best for many reasons, including possessing above average skill, but in addition to the talent, the best of the best also are the most driven to learn, develop and succeed. As you work hard to improve your game over the next few months, keep in mind the following list of intangibles that will help you make successful strides this summer!

Desire
We love players with desire! Desire to learn, desire to work hard, desire to go the extra mile, desire to be a leader, desire to be a great teammate. Players with desire are a coach’s favorite and the ones they rely on in key situations.

Creativity
Players can’t be afraid to make mistakes, especially at summer hockey school. This is the time to work on areas of your game that you have been compensating for during the season. Try that new move around the defense, take a snap shot rather than a wrist shot, try a deke on the goalie rather than firing the puck right away. Summer is the best time to not only work on new moves, but to incorporate them into your game so that when the season hits, you are ready to win!

Skill
When we talk about the CARTER method of training we incorporate six key areas that build a solid foundation for players: Control, Agility, Reflex, Technique, Edge, Retention. Players of all ages and talent levels need to increase their skill, and hard work is the best way to accomplish this.

Discipline
Good players show up to the rink. Great players arrive early, ready to warm up and are focused on accomplishing something, each and every time they hit the ice. Good players might do this 50 percent of the time, but great players have the discipline to set aside everything else (school, friends, phones, etc.) and focus 100% on hockey during the time they are training. “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

Dedication
Similar to discipline, dedication is the commitment to the game of hockey, and not just during the fun times (games!) but more importantly, during practices and training, both on and off the ice. If you are both disciplined in your approach to the game, and dedicated to your goals, the sky is the limit!

We look forward to seeing you at the rink this summer. We have camps in ten states over the next few months and it’s not too late to register! Click here for last minute registration opportunities.