player tips

16

October

Hockey Camp

I like asking kids at our summer hockey camp what position they want to play in the upcoming season. Most often we hear center, and then right after that they bellow out ‘first line center!’ A team obviously can’t have nine first line centers, so what can you do as a player if you don’t find yourself as a first liner?

Skill development is a marathon, not a sprint. Players that were leaders on a team one season can be ‘caught’ by other players as they age, grow and mature. I’ve seen first line players one year become third line players the next and have also seen plenty of players who started the season on the third line work their way to a spot on the power play, penalty kill or first line.

How? It all starts with a desire and willingness to show up and work hard. Not once in a while, but every day at every practice! An old coach used to say that ‘the one thing we are going to do each and every day is get better, and if we do that, we’ll be a team full of really good, hard working hockey players at the end of the year.’

And for those players that did show up, work hard and get better every single day, things can change quickly, and a third line spot can change to second and first in the matter of weeks. Another key to success is being a smart player and making good hockey decisions. This is even more true at the Peewee and Bantam levels where coaches start to integrate systems and players who understand and can execute their roles and responsibilities become the trusted players that coaches can count on in special team situations.

If you have found yourself in a situation this season where you are on a line that you don’t like or aren’t part of the power play or penalty kill, embrace the challenge and turn up your effort even more. Continue to focus on specific skills and bring a great attitude each and every day.

An opportunity will present itself at some point this season and when the moment arrives and the coach calls your number, take advantage of the break and don’t look back!

The great college basketball coach Roy Williams was quoted as saying “I can live with just about anything, but not a lack of effort. If you want to play in the game, you must give me 100%.”

This is even more true if you want to play on the first line or power play. Work harder than everyone else and don’t give the coach any reason not to play you!

Thanks for reading, good luck this season and we look forward to seeing 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! 

 

 

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 Camp

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!

12

December

The Need For Speed

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter's Hockey Camp

Hockey can often seem like a very complex game, but it really doesn’t have to be. Simply put, it is a game of creating favorable odd-man situations and winning ten foot races to the puck, which we have talked about in previous articles. Every player who laces up their skates has a need for speed, and while some possess a natural talent for accelerating like a Jack Russell Terrier chasing a red a squirrel through the neighbor’s backyard, most players have to work extremely hard on and off of the ice to develop and maintain their speed and quickness.

Here are a few great tips to building and enhancing this important area of your game:

  • Top speed comes from maintaining acceleration. Use your inside edges to start off and create speed, then use your outside edges to maintain your stride. Practice moving between the two edges and feel the difference. Also swing your arms north and south to aid your momentum. At out hockey camp we see many players who slow themselves down by moving their upper body and arms east and west, this is a pretty simple correction that can have immediate impact.
  • The harder you dig into the ice, the faster you will propel yourself. Reaching top speed, and maintaining speed, requires full body coordination. This is where technique is very important, work on it and built a solid foundation for your stride and over time, you will become a fast skater.
  • Focus on powerful, long strides. This includes maintaining a 90-degree knee bend, and using your three skating joints: hip, knee and ankle. In order to extend your stride, you must work on your recovery, which means bringing your knee and skate under your shoulder, allowing you to maintain your balance and give you the ability to reach full extension with your stride.

An explosive start to your stride ultimately means more quickness. Building muscle, along with mastering the proper fundamentals, is important to increasing speed. Squats and plyometric training are two common exercises that athletes use in the weight room to build the muscles that help win the races. Take the time on the ice to work with coaches and instructors to refine the mechanics of your stride. Off of the ice, put in the time with a strength coach focusing on the leg muscles that will provide the horsepower for your stride.

Like all of the great skills needed to achieve your goals, developing speed comes down to who is willing to put in the time to work hard at it. If you take the time to create a fundamentally sound stride, and also develop strength, you will be well on your way to possessing game-changing speed!

We hope you are having a great season and look forward to working with you at one of our summer hockey camps in ten states next summer!