player tips

20

November

5 Hockey Reasons To Be Thankful 

Posted by Greg Carter
Summer Youth Hockey Camp

Thanksgiving is an awesome time for hockey players to pause during the break in the action and reflect on the great things to appreciate this season!

Coaches
Coaches play an integral part in the development of hockey players and if you are fortunate enough to have a really good coach, make sure they know how much you appreciate them! It takes a lot of time, energy and dedication to coach youth hockey teams and what you see on the ice from a coach during practice is only part of the story. There is a lot of practice preparation that goes into that one hour practice session and game strategy and oftentimes the coaches are the last to leave the rink after a game or practice. To this day I can still remember my favorite coaches and the important skills they taught me!

Equipment
Technology advancements in equipment over the recent years has been nothing short of amazing. Protective equipment like shoulder pads, gloves and pants (breezers) that used to absorb sweat and water and up weighing what seemed like five pounds heavier at the end of the game, have been replaced with ultra lightweight and super durable protective equipment. Skates are amazingly light and players are spoiled not having to go through a week long painful – sometimes tearful – break them in. Perhaps the greatest advancement has been in stick technology as once a player is strong enough to benefit from the flex, the ability to develop a crazy hard shot is just a matter of putting in the time.

Parents
Hockey parents are the greatest sports parents ever. Parents willingly wake up long before the sun comes up only to stand in a freezing cold ice arena for that 6 a.m. mid-January practice. They travel hundreds and thousands of miles each season and attend enough weekend tournaments that they are on a first name basis with the front desk at the hotel. The dedication of hockey parents is awesome!

Opportunities 
There are more opportunities than ever for hockey players to develop their skills. From regular season hockey teams to in-season weekly skill camps and clinics. There are plenty of AAA teams and of course summer hockey camps and summer hockey schools. Skill development is a marathon, not a sprint, and there are so many great opportunities for players to master the fundamental skills required to reach their full potential!

The Game of Hockey
Perhaps that best thing to be thankful for is the also the most simplistic, the basic fact that kids have the opportunity to play the greatest sport in the world! Hockey has brought so much excitement, joy and happiness, taught so many life lessons, developed so many friendships and brought so many people together in such a positive way. Enjoy the season, fight through the adversity and always remember that hockey is a sport to be enjoyed, win or lose!

Thanks for reading and from our hockey family to yours, have a great Thanksgiving holiday and we hope to see you at the rink soon!

 

 

09

July

An Inspiring Summer of Hockey

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter Hockey Camp

The summer of 2019 is very special for Greg Carter Hockey Camp as we celebrate our 25th year of training hockey players. In the quarter century that we have been working on improving the skills of hockey players we have seen some very inspiring moments at our camps where as we like to say, players have that ‘lightbulb moment’, things click and they shift into the next gear.

Here are a few great quotes related to some player highlights that we have experienced during this inspiring summer of hockey:

“I’m [recruiting] gym rats who want to get better because so many kids are peaking and think they’ve already arrived.”

This quote from a coach perfectly articulates why we see so many motivated hockey players at our camp each summer. As players mature, they start to recognize which players are motivated and also those players who are not. We’ve written articles in the past about ‘going from the third line to the first line’ and when it comes to getting better and improving skills, sometimes it simply comes down to who wants it more! We are seeing a lot of players at our camp this summer who are really working hard and definitely ‘want it’!

“Good things take time, as they should. We shouldn’t expect good things to happen overnight.”

Player development is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Mastering the skills necessary to become a great hockey players takes dedication, which means time, commitment and self-discipline. Hockey players will not see results overnight, but instead over a period of time as success in practice translates to incremental improvements in performance.

“Little things make the big things happen.”

This is another player characteristic that we love to talk about at our summer hockey school and mastering fundamental hockey skills allows players to do the little things that make the big things happen! Watching the women’s soccer team advance through the preliminary rounds and ultimately win the World Cup was phenomenal and full of these little moments that led to the big moments. So many goals were scored because of a crafty little deke, a sprint beating the opponent to the ball or an incredible ball skill that allowed the player to control the ball and make a play. Like these awesome soccer players, great hockey players have mastered all of the ‘little’ skills.

We hope that you are enjoying your summer with family and friends and that you have been inspired to carve out some time to improve your game! Good luck with your training and we hope to see you at the rink soon!

Click here for a list of our July and August camps!

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!

 

02

January

Summer Youth Hockey Camp

Building skills is what we do best at our hockey schools each summer. With the fresh ice of the New Year, what skills will you focus on in 2018? Here is a list of some of the most important skill sets that you need, and definitely those that should be a part of your New Year’s hockey resolutions!

Patience. Players need patience, especially as they get older, and opportunities to make plays become increasingly more difficult. Sometimes the perfect pass isn’t made handling the puck like a hot potato, but instead waiting for the opponent to react to your line mate, to your head fake or simply panicking and committing before they need to. Good hockey players keep their head up, have great awareness and know that patience is a virtue!

Create odd-man situations. This is one of our favorites, and it’s really pretty simple. How many times have you seen a winger in the offensive zone work hard to win a battle in the corner and pass the puck back to the point, only to have the defense shoot the puck right into the opponents shin pad? If that defenseman had their head up, and rather than shooting the puck, simply made a move to get around that forward (who most likely is over-committed in attempting to block the shot) the defenseman would have all kinds of time and space to make a great pass or shot. Why? because they made a move around a player and created an odd-man situation. The same holds true for break-outs, if the defense is able to beat one player before making a pass, there is an immediate odd-man rush heading out of the zone!

Skating. The best players can flat out skate, and there is no substitution for quickness and speed, as we’ve discussed in previous articles. Make 2018 the year that you reinvest time and energy into power skating, as this might be the best single skill that you can work on to improve your game!

Agility. Body control is important in the ladder of skill development, and is a key component of the Carter Method of teaching. There are a sequence of drills that players can use to help them understand and enhance body movements to improve their overall balance and body posture.

As you hit the ice to start 2018, take the time to evaluate your progress this season, and if you are on track to accomplishing your goals. Making some New Year’s resolutions to improve your hockey skills is a great way to identify and refocus, and will make you a better hockey player! From our hockey family to yours, Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you at one of our camps in ten states in 2018!

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