player tips

11

December

Rails

The holidays are a great time of year both on the ice with tournaments and games in full swing, as well as off the ice celebrating the season with friends and family. I have actually found the the month of December to be a really interesting stretch of the hockey season because players are settling in and finding their place on the team.

How is your season starting out? Are you playing on the first line? How about the power play or penalty kill? Are you skating in your preferred position or do your coaches have you elsewhere? Are you scoring as much as you would like?

If you are having the success you anticipated, do you have a plan to continue playing at that level? Or, if you haven’t yet found your stride, are you prepared to work even harder? Youth hockey players at this time of year too often allow their current situation to dictate their work ethic. If they are not skating on the first line they resort to thinking they are a second or third line player. If they are not on the power play or penalty kill, they think they must not be good enough for special teams play. Conversely, some first line players get complacent and stop working hard, thinking that every time there is a power play they are going to be put on the ice.

The holidays are a great time to reevaluate your game and think about all of the hard work you invested over the summer to prepare for the season. It’s an excellent opportunity to rededicate yourself to being not just a good forward or defensemen, but a good, well-rounded hockey player who understands the game and can play in many different situations and positions.

Often times at summer hockey school we train forwards who say they don’t need to work on their backwards skating because they are a forward. Or we see defensemen who don’t work on their offensive moves and scoring because they feel their role is to prevent goals from being scored rather than scoring goals. The best hockey players are those who understand that it takes hard work and consistent effort in all areas to get to making the most out of the season.

As we enter the winter break, here are 3 holiday hockey gifts to help you get the most out of your season!

1. Attitude and work ethic. Playing hockey is one of the great joys of childhood. Make sure you remember this and bring a great attitude and awesome work ethic to every practice and game. A coach once told me that anything worth doing, is worth doing well. I have never forgotten this and it is especially true in youth hockey!
2. Coachability.  Coaches love players that show up ready to go and ready to learn. Make sure that you pay attention and digest what your coach is telling you. Many coaches have years of experience and played the game themselves. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from those who have already been there and done it. Learn from them and do it better!
3. Pucks & Practice. This is simple. You can never practice enough, and you can never shoot enough pucks.

From our hockey home to yours, enjoy the holidays and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

Greg Carter