player tips

Hockey Camp

The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships just wrapped up in Vancouver, Canada. This tournament features the best hockey players under the age of 20. The action is intense, the speed is incredible, the passing is crisp and the overall talent out of this world!

So you might ask yourself, how do players take their game to the next level, and along with their team, rise to the occasion and take home a championship? How in ‘The Wolrd’s’ do they do it?

As witnessed at ‘The World’s’ in this tournament, here are the common characteristics of how players and teams win championships:

Bonding for a Common Goal: Teams are only as good as the players, and therefore the players need to all ‘buy-in’ to the process and systems to achieve the common goal of winning. Teams that are unable to bond and are instead comprised of a bunch of individuals skating for their own stats and recognition will most often not come out on top. To win, everyone needs to be a great teammate and always put the team first!

Selflessness: It’s always team first, ‘we’ over ‘me’. Individual stats and accomplishments come second. Fans saw this during the World Juniors when the Player of the Game was announced. It was evident in the humble reception of the individual award versus the overwhelming emotion to the team winning the game. Selfish players rarely win championships.

Talent & Teamwork: Talent wins hockey games, teamwork wins championships. This one is pretty obvious and can be seen at the local rink every week during every game. When a player has the opportunity to take a low percentage shot versus making a pass to a teammate for a better opportunity, what is the decision? As we have discussed in previous articles, it’s more important ‘that we do’ than ‘who’.

Winning Attitude: A great coach once said that ‘you have to believe you are a champion before you ever will be a champion’. While there is a ton of training, talent and hard work that factors into being a champion, a positive mindset and winning attitude definitely go a long way. Successful teams that I have played on have always believed that ‘we will win’ right up until the final buzzer. Do you believe?

From start to finish the World Junior hockey tournament was awesome. Although the U.S. Team came up a goal short and finished with the silver medal, it was must watch hockey TV. If you missed it, make sure to add it to your holiday calendar this year!

Thanks for reading and as always, we invite you to join us at one of our summer hockey camps in ten states this summer. 2019 is our 25th year of hockey camps and we are excited to celebrate it with you!

Click here for more information or to register!

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

November

Hockey Camp

Is there any question that one of the most – if not the most – exciting moments of a game is a breakaway, or in the case of a tied game, a shootout. Throw in a penalty shot and you have a hat trick of thrilling plays! However when the moment pops up, and you find yourself picking up a loose puck and racing in alone, full speed towards the opposing goalie and a split second decision needs to be made, do you know whether you are going to shoot or deke?

Here Are 5 Keys To Scoring On A Breakaway, Shootout & Penalty Shot!

Keep The Goalie Guessing. Goalies try to ‘read’ players because if they know what a player is going to do, it’s much easier to stop the puck. So as a player, part of the strategy must include keeping the goalie guessing. This can be done by stickhandling the puck side to side, keeping your feet moving (more on this in a minute) changing speeds and other movements that will get the goalie moving laterally. Goalies love players who basically skate a straight line towards them and then stop moving their feet at the face-off dots, which usually means a shot is coming straight at them from an easy angle.

Keep Your Feet Moving. Whether you are going to deke or shoot, it’s important that players keep their feet moving to keep the goalie guessing. With your feet moving you can more easily change direction and speed which will get the goaltender moving laterally, which is always a good thing to free up more net. As soon as you stop moving your feet all of your momentum is slowed and options become limited. Keep your feet, and your options moving!

Keep Your Head Up. Players need to read what the goalie is doing and the only way to do so is with your head up. If a goalie comes out beyond the crease to challenge, it’s probably a better option to try and deke. If however, the goalie remains deeper in the crease, there likely will be plenty of net to shoot at. Keep your head up, pick a spot, make a decision and score the goal!

Change Your Release. Great goal scorers know that a big secret to scoring is changing the direction and timing of your release. Sometimes goalies can be surprised by a quick release that catches them off guard thinking a player is going to deke during a stickhandling move, but instead of sliding the puck forehand to backhand rips off a quick snap shot. Also, changing the direction of release can keep the goalie guessing, which is a key part of scoring success!

Practice Your Dekes & Dangles! When you see the best players score on incredible moves or super shots, they have all been practiced countless times. If you want to be a serious scorer, a great time to practice shootouts and breakaways is before or right at the end of practices. One great shootout player used to buy the goalie a Gatorade after every practice in return for getting on the ice early or staying a little late to help the player work on his breakaways. Turns out this player scored nearly every time!

Like anything in hockey and life, if you want to be good at it you need to practice, if you want to be great at it you need to practice even more! We hope you are having a great season and wish you and your family a great Thanksgiving holiday! We will be releasing our Summer Hockey School schedule in the coming weeks and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

29

October

Greg Carter's Hockey Camp

Here’s how I’m going to beat you. I’m going to outwork you. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. – Pat Summitt

I saw this quote recently and it made me stop and think. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t work hard, you aren’t going to be successful. Who is Pat Summitt you might ask?  Summitt was the head coach of the Tennessee women’s basketball team and at the time of her retirement had 1,098 wins, which was the most in college basketball history. As a player she won a sliver medal at the 1976 Olympics and later coached the US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team to a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. She knew a think or two about winning.

Good coaches are good coaches regardless of sport, and it’s interesting as a hockey coach to learn from others.  And the thing about Summitt’s quote about winning, especially winning consistently, in the big games and in the playoffs is this: you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t work hard, someone else, regardless of talent level is going to want it more, work harder and win the game. Will over skill is much more than a simple motivator or cliche.

At our summer hockey schools we focus heavily on skill. Specifically, the CARTER Method focuses on Control, Agility, Reflex, Technique, Edge and Retention. We challenge players to reach their full potential in each of these key areas and also teach of the fundamentals of skating, stickhandling, and shooting, and we teach in a way that builds confidence and leads to continuous improvement.

While we strive to instill not only these fundamental skills, we also stress the importance of hard word. A great quote from the best of all time is;

The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say
that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.
-Wayne Gretzky

The Great One finished his career with a 1.921 points per game average. Think of that, nearly two points per game in the NHL and what he wants to be remembered for is that he worked hard every day and ‘never dog it.’

Players who want to be successful in hockey need to continually work on skill development, but must also ask themselves if they ‘dog it’. One of the greatest and most fun part of being a coach is being a part of a team that not only has a ton of talent, but also three lines of players who all want to be at the rink and all want to work hard every practice, every game, every period and every shift.

This season have fun, become a better hockey player and make it the season that you focus on hard work. Good luck, thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the rink very soon!

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!

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!