player tips

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!

 

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! 

 

 

04

October

Are You a Coachable Hockey Player?

Posted by Greg Carter

With the start of the hockey season upon us, it’s important to stop and think about your goals for this winter, and one of the first questions you should ask yourself is if you are a coachable player.

What is a ‘coachable player’? A few characteristics of coachable hockey players include:

  • Respecting your hockey coach and his/her ability to make you a better hockey player.
  • Accepting that there is always room for improvement and growth.
  • Acknowledgement that constructive criticism is part of hockey development.
  • A willingness and accountability to apply what is learned.
  • A burning desire to work hard and become a better hockey player!

In our many years of coaching and running hockey clinics and summer hockey schools, we have seen many hockey players who have great skills, but they simply aren’t coachable. This can be due to parent influence, ego, a lack of respect for the coach or inability to accept criticism. Regardless of the reason, a player will have a difficult time achieving their full potential if they are not coachable.

Perhaps one of the most important ingredients in being coachable is simply having a great attitude and approach to the game. Players who come to the rink eager and willing to learn at practice are going to listen to coaches rather than rolling their eyes at them. These players are going to think about the areas of their game that needs improvement rather than brushing it off as a coach picking on them. These players are the ones who leave practice excited and feeling like they improved on a skill, rather than dwelling on the fact they aren’t perfect.

Coachable players tend to develop their skills and knowledge of the game and an accelerated pace. They also tend to be those who the coaches like to work with, because the coaches can see the improvement, and find satisfaction in helping a player take their game to the next level.

Really good coaches thrive on feeding the hunger of coachable players. Good coaches will recognize and appreciate your desire to improve, and a positive coach/player relationship will most often result in the coach doing everything they can to help you achieve your goals.

So before the season really gets going, take a minute and ask yourself: Am I a coachable hockey player?

08

April

When players sit down and think back upon the long hockey season, there are plenty of ups and downs throughout the season that can be reflected upon. There are the practices and games when everything seems to be going great, and then the times when the pucks are hitting the pipe, passes are bouncing off the stick and nothing seems to be going right.

Good players are able to fight through the ups and downs and consistently bring an effort to each practice and game. There are the times when you feel like you played well but the team loses, other times the team wins without feeling like you played your best game.

Sorting through the individual, as well as the team ups and downs is a key part of evaluating your season, and ultimately setting goals for your summer training. When starting the process of evaluating your season,it’s important to separate out team performance from individual performance. All too often personal goals get lost in the long season and players, as well as parents, start to think that if they team did well, they must have also improved individually. Unfortunately this is just not the case.

To do a thorough job evaluating a season, parents should help their son or daughter take a close look and evaluate personal strengths, and even more importantly, personal weaknesses, which are the key opportunities for positive growth and player development.

Most, if not all of the best hockey players realize early on in their career that in order to reach their full potential they have to set goals, train with those goals in mind, and try to get better each and every day. The process all starts with an honest self-evaluation of the season you just completed, not as a team, but as an individual. Once you determine the player you are today, the fun begins in mapping out the path to become a better player in the future.

To get started with your evaluation, take the time to do the following:

Break down your game into a few categories such as skating, stickhandling, shooting, passing and teamwork. For each of these areas give yourself a grade of 1-3, with the higher number representing a higher competency in that skill area. Remember to be honest in this evaluation; you can only improve if you recognize the areas that need focus.

Once you have graded yourself, start to search out opportunities to improve in these areas. There are plenty of materials to read online, including our Coaches Corner, as well as training aides, summer hockey camps and weekend clinics.

There is a great saying “if it’s going to be, it’s up to me”. Remember this throughout the summer as you work hard training to improve on the skills you have identified in your post season evaluation. There is no easy path to success, and a thorough evaluation followed by a goal setting exercise is a huge first step down the path to success.

Good luck!

08

April

The Season of Champions

Posted by Greg Carter

Rails

April is one of the great hockey months. In the NHL we have the push to the playoffs, which means a few things: the intensity ratchets up several notches, the speed of the game shifts up a gear or two and of course the facial hair is grown out. During April we also have college hockey’s Frozen Four. This is another great tournament as unpaid players are putting it all on the line not for a huge paycheck, but rather for the simple right to win a championship.

You can’t help but watch the incredible hockey this time of year and wonder, ‘what does it really take to get to that level of play’ . . . not just playing at the highest level, but to advance through the regular season and the playoffs and ultimately hit the ice and play on the biggest stage, under the brightest lights for the right to hoist the biggest trophy.

For most of players, and you’ll hear this in post-game interviews, the ‘what it really takes’ is determination. Not just team determination, but individual determination.  And that determination didn’t just start at the end of the regular season or the weeks leading into the playoffs as the team fought to make the post season. For the most successful players, that determination started a long time ago in a basement, garage, backyard rink or local park.

Determination goes hand and hand with hard work. The great Vince Lombardi once said “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Every hockey player wants to win, wants to make the playoffs, wants to play for the championship and wants to hoist the trophy. The reality is that the players who do end up in these games are the ones who have realized at a young age what it really takes to get there. First and foremost it requires a love of the game. After that, it takes commitment, determination and hard work.

The best players that I’ve played with have all possessed these traits. They were the guys at the rink first and off the ice last. They loved shooting pucks. They loved practicing and trying to get better every day. And I mean every day. They loved being at the rink, and when they weren’t they were making mom and dad upset by staying at the local rink two hours too long. They were quintessential rink rats, who also had skill, determination and weren’t afraid of hard work.

So when you see players on TV hoisting a trophy, some doing so in tears, it’s important to understand that the journey for these players didn’t start at the beginning of the season. It started at the beginning of their recognition that with determination and hard work, there can be no limits to your success.

When does your journey begin?

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