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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hockey Camp

“Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

–Wayne Gretzky

For their gift this holiday season, kids aren’t going to the North Pole or flying a drone to intercept Santa’s Sleigh, instead they are headed to where the presents are going, under the tree! In the same way, players need to head to where the puck is going!

Watching kids play hockey, especially at the younger ages, it’s interesting and entertaining how they swarm around the puck and as a group, chase and follow it like it’s the town mayor handing out candy at the 4th of July parade. While coaches continually stress the importance of spreading out and playing position, it’s almost as if the puck is a magnetic force they are attracted to like, say, their cell phone or video game!

The ability to read the play in hockey is an extremely important skill as players progress through their development, and the best way to understand how to read and react is through experience. The time spent around the rink playing, practicing and even watching hockey on TV will help provide this experience.

The importance of understanding position play and the flow of the game looks natural to some players, but that intuition and ability to pick out tendencies is a learned behavior. I love driving by parks, ponds and driveways where kids are playing hockey in unstructured environments. Not only are they developing creativity and fundamental skills, but they are also mentally building an understanding of the natural flow of the game so that when it comes go game time, their instincts can take over.

Watching the best players at the top levels of the game, it’s not a coincidence that certain players always find themselves with time and space, and often, in breakaway situations. These players read, react, anticipate the play and as the Great One said, go not to where the puck is, but to where the puck is going.

We hope this holiday season that your player not only heads to where their gift is going, but learns over the course of the hockey season to go where the puck is going. Thanks for reading and we invite you to celebrate our 25th year of hockey camps in 2019! Dates, locations and registration information is now posted for our Greg Carter Hockey Schools located in 10 states across the U.S.!

 

 

 

 

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!

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!