player tips

31

October

What’s In Your Game?

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter's European Hockey Camp

It’s been great to have the NHL back in action on tv, but it was really tricky trying to watch hockey recently when there was such an incredible World Series taking place. While there is little doubt that hockey is way more entertaining than a baseball game, the drama unfolding in this championship series was absolutely epic and made me think about some of my hockey experiences.

Game 5 in particular kept many of us up until the game-winning run was scored in the wee hours of the morning; actually 1:37 a.m. on the East Coast where our hockey school is headquartered! How could anyone fall asleep during a game where three-run deficits were overcome three times? In hockey they say that a two goal lead is the hardest to keep, well in baseball this was just the second time in postseason history that a game featured three separate comebacks by teams down by three runs.

The Dodgers led 4-0 early, and were tied at 4 on a three-run homer by Yuli Gurriel. Then the Dodgers went back ahead, 7-4, on a three-run homer by Cody Bellinger. Houston proceeded to tie the game 7-7 on a three-run homer by Jose Altuve. Then the unthinkable happened when Houston coughed up a 12-9 lead in the ninth to force extra innings!

The Astros went on to a 13-12 victory in this five-hour, 17-minute thriller when Alex Bregman singled in Derek Fisher in the bottom of the 10th inning. Al Michaels’ had the famous line in the 1980 Olympics ‘Do you believe in Miracles’. But during this game, we might just ask, do you believe?

And in your own games, when the game is on the line, do you believe? Do you dig down, think of all the time, energy and training, and confidently know that you can do this? When you are behind by a goal, or two or three, do you start to lose confidence, or do you look around at your teammates and instill the energy and poise needed to mount a comeback.

As a coach when we are behind in games, I’ve seen players look at their opposition and question if they’re outnumbered and too good, or maybe start to think that their goalie can’t be beat. Watching game 5, the Astros were facing Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ ace who was having the best postseason of his life. In fact in 61 regular-season games when Kershaw had six or more runs of support, he won 59 of them. But when it mattered most, Houston found a way to succeed.

A great coach once told me ‘you have to believe that your are good, before you will ever be good.’

When it’s the clutch moment, and the game is on the line, will you be ready? Will you believe that all of your training and preparation has put you and your teammates in a position to win? Will you believe that you can mount the comeback?

The Houston Astros did. The LA Dodgers did.

What’s in your game? Will you believe?

17

October

Shoot To Thrill

Posted by Greg Carter

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

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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!

02

October

Make It A Great Start To The Season!

Posted by Greg Carter

I recently received a phone message from someone who is always upbeat, energetic and positive. On this particular day he left me a voicemail updating me on everything that needed attention, and then as he always does, finished the message with “…and hey, make it a great day”.  His emails are also signed the same each and every time with “make it a great day”.

Life is busy and this small shot of inspiration can easily be ignored as just another cliche, or overlooked and lost in the clutter of daily communication. Or, it can be embraced. In this case, somewhere along the line, this guy decided that he was in fact not just going to leave this saying as a tagline on his emails or a sign off on his voice mails as a way for people to remember him, but to actually live each and everyday, truly trying to make it a great day!

Of course some days this can be an easy task because everything goes well, and things just sort of fall into place. Other days however, it takes focus, hard work and plenty of energy to turn a bad, good or ordinary day into a great day.

What I’ve seen from people like this guy is that when you start to live each day by the attitude you bring, it can become contagious among friends, coworkers and for the purpose of those playing the great sport of hockey, coaches and teammates!

It’s been said plenty of times that life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it. So as you start this hockey season, remember that there will be plenty of things that you can’t control, including the team your are on, the teammates that you have, the coach or your linemates.  What you can control however, is your attitude towards it all. Attitude determines altitude. The start of the season is a fresh beginning, and another opportunity to have an awesome time playing the greatest sport on Earth.

Enjoy the car rides to the rink with teammates and family. Bring a smile and work hard at practices and dryland sessions. Treat each and every game like it’s an opportunity to showcase everything that you have trained so hard for during the off-season and at summer at hockey school.

Start the season with a great attitude and your chances of success will increase dramatically, both individually and as a team!

Make it a great day!

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