player tips

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

Summer Youth 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!

03

October

Summer Hockey Camp’s Best Reward 

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter's Hockey School

As we hit the ice full speed for the season, I was recently reminded of one of the best rewards from our summer hockey camp, and it’s not at all what I would have imagined, or you might think!

Having played hockey for nearly my entire life – youth, collegiately and in the ECHL – and more recently running our hockey camp for the past two decades, I have met virtually every ‘category’ of player. There are the players who have all of the talent in the world, but never figure out how to dedicate themselves and put it to good use, resulting in shortened careers. There are the players who have all the will in the world, but at a point in time run out of the skill needed to make it to the next level. And of course a million other ‘categories’ of players including those who just want to have fun, meet friends and enjoy the camaraderie and teamwork.

But every so often you meet a player who is as good of a person off of the ice as they are a hockey player on the ice. Nothing is more refreshing than a player who can go out and score a hat trick, lead the team in points all season and is at the same time respectful to coaches and officials, a great student and maybe even volunteering to help others in the community. What is even more refreshing, and rewarding, is when as a coach and instructor, you have had the opportunity to watch this player grow throughout their career knowing you have had a hand in helping shape such a well-rounded individual, both on and off of the ice.

This past summer I had the pleasure of welcoming back a couple of players who grew up participating in our programs and our summer hockey camps. Both will be playing Division I hockey this year for a storied program that ‘wins’ as much in the classroom as they do on the ice. One will be a captain as an underclassman after leading his team in goals last year. These two players skated with our youth players and it turned out to be one of the most memorable and rewarding weeks of the summer.

When they arrived everyone knew who they were and that they were great hockey players. They didn’t have to say please and thank you to everyone they met, but they did. They didn’t have to interact, smile, laugh and try to help every player on the ice, but they did. They didn’t have to pull a struggling skater aside for extra edge work, but they did. They didn’t have to tell stories to every kid that asked about playing college hockey, but they did, because not too long ago it was them looking up to someone, asking those same questions!

Character is critical in hockey, and I was reminded of this watching these two at camp this past summer. We’ve said in past articles that “talent gets you noticed, but character gets recruited.” It was extremely rewarding – and inspiring – as I watched these two at camp to know that yes, they became great hockey players, but even more importantly, they became incredible young adults.

As you go through this season and strive to win every puck battle, every shift, every period and every game, keep in mind that the very best players, especially in the game of hockey, are also great off of the ice. Respect your coaches, teammates, officials, parents and teaches, and most of all, respect the great game of hockey. I can tell you that after spending more than four decades in hockey that if you do this, you will be remembered, and rewarded, for the rest of your life!

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

 

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