player tips

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!

15

January

Hockey Camp

There are two types of hockey players, a player who thinks of themselves first, and the player who is unselfish, and puts the team first. If you want to play at the next level, your best chance is not by being a “me” player focused on personal stats and accomplishments, but instead by being a player who makes the entire team better through unselfish play.

Someone summarized a recent game by saying that it seems like parents used to come to the rink to cheer on the team, but now they come to the rink to cheer on their child. While every parent wants nothing more than what’s best for their child, hockey is a team sport, and it should be treated that way.

What makes hockey such a great sport is that you celebrate a win, or become humbled by a loss, with your buddies. It can become a major distraction to team chemistry however if a player doesn’t celebrate the win because they themselves didn’t score a goal or make a big play. This is the beauty of the sport of hockey, it was your friends who picked you up and help earned the win so that the next game, it can be your turn to ride the momentum and make the big play.

 

Every hockey player loves to win! And playing with a “we” versus “me” attitude is a key to this success.

“We” players make the easy pass to their buddy standing on the side of the crease for the tap in goal.

“Me” players take a bad angle shot.

“We” players get off the ice when they can after a good shift.

“Me” players stay on longer than they should.

“We” players celebrate a win, regardless of their personal contributions.

“Me” players celebrate, win or lose, based on how they played.

“We” players win championships!

Coaching hockey and developing skills is extremely rewarding. Players with really good talent need to have a lot of “we” in their game. At younger ages the better players can develop a “do it all” attitude. However as players develop into teenage years, it becomes increasingly more difficult to dominate games. “Me” players need to develop a “we” attitude to play at the next level.

As a college scout recently said to me about a player he was watching “The distinguishing factor for us in recruiting this player versus another with equal talent is that he is selfless and makes the right hockey decisions regardless how it impacts their name in the box score. He puts team success ahead of individual accomplishments. That tells me he understands the game, the team, and that fits in with the culture of my team.”

And just at that moment the “we” player came down on a two-on-one and with an opportunity to shoot from an awkward angle, feathered a saucer pass over the sprawling defenseman’s stick onto the tape of the winger who tapped it into an open net.

With a wink of an eye the scout closed his book and walked off saying I’ll take “we” over “me” every time.

Thanks for reading and we welcome the opportunity to help develop your hockey skills at one of our summer hockey schools located in ten states this summer. Click here for dates and locations!

17

October

Shoot To Thrill

Posted by Greg Carter

When it comes to scoring goals, it all starts with a great shot.

IMG_6250 - Version 2

An old coach of mine used to tell our team that you can never shoot enough pucks, and that the all of the great goal scorers could pick a spot, and hit it 9 out of 10 times. He would then tell us to go home and shoot pucks in the driveway, basement or back yard, and once you hit your target 9 out of 10 times, pick up the pucks and do it all over again.

Of all the great players that I’ve skated with, I always remember the guys who could shoot the puck. Some had a really heavy shot, but not great accuracy. Others could snipe a spot no larger than a mouse hole every time, but weren’t strong enough to beat the better goalies. The really great shooters had a combination of both power and accuracy.

With today’s stick technology, finding the right stick is a very important factor in shooting. The science in sticks today has been a game changer because of the flex and whipping motion that with the right technique, allows players to shoot harder than ever. Make sure to pay attention to the the pattern and flex which will play a role, especially as players get older, in developing a good shot.

So how can you increase the accuracy and power behind your shot? At our hockey camps we stress the importance of the fundamentals in shooting technique. This varies a bit from player to player and also by the age of the player. Older, stronger players have the strength to lean on a stick, creating the torque necessary to best leverage the technology in sticks. Younger players meanwhile, may not have the strength, and need to really rely on accuracy, while developing the strength and technique needed to score on goalies as they get older, and as the goaltenders get better.

Another key to a great shot is keeping your head up and your feet moving. We see a lot of players who have a good shot, but cant snipe the spot because their head is down and they don’t ever see that wide open top corner! Also, as soon as you stop moving your feet, it’s a big clue to the goaltender that you may be going for a deke versus a shot.

If you are spending your time away from the rink shooting pucks , you are already on your way to scoring more goals this season. Remember to practice all shots including the wrist shot, snap shot and slap shot. Each require a unique discipline that with the right stick, will allow you to shoot to thrill!

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!