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31

October

What’s In Your Game?

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter

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?

13

June

There can always be an excuse for why something can’t or didn’t get done. It’s too early, too cold, too late or too difficult. But people who set goals and really want to achieve something don’t make excuses. They simply find a way to get it done and make it happen, regardless of the obstacles.

Stairs

I was chatting recently with a rink manager about an NHL player. This arena manager described the player as ‘one of those kids who came to the rink to run stairs‘. He would show up at the rink unannounced, ask permission to run the stairs, and there in the dark – the only one in the entire building – he would start his workout.

Eventually the arena manager started turning on the lights for this athlete and over time developed a friendship.  Sometimes friends would show up to run stairs with him, but eventually they would drop off and within a week or two, it was back to this one player running stairs, alone.

One day the arena manager asked the athlete what happened to his buddies. They had work. They went to the beach. They went fishing. They went to a movie. They were tired . . . The excuses were endless.

However for this one player who set a goal, who wanted to make the most out of his hockey career and play at the highest level he possibly could, there was no stopping him. This was his priority and he wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of it. There were no excuses, ever, for why he couldn’t find time in his daily routine to workout and best prepare himself to reach his goal.

There is a quote that says, “If it’s important enough, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.”

So this summer ask yourself, are you finding a way, or are you finding an excuse?

Hockey SchoolGet ready to start your journey! With the hockey season behind us and summer training and development on the minds of hockey players everywhere, we invite – and challenge – you to become a better hockey player this summer.

Mapping out your summer hockey training is an exciting process, and our staff at Greg Carter’s Hockey School welcomes you to join us at one of our camps located in 10 states this summer. As we have discussed this season in our many player development articles, we have 23 years in the hockey school business and have enjoyed training thousands of hockey players who come to us sharing the same goal as you; to become a better hockey player!

We take development seriously. Our pro staff challenges skaters to reach their full potential by teaching the fundamentals of skating, stick handling and shooting. We pride ourselves in teaching in a way that builds confidence and leads to continuous improvement. Simply put, at our hockey camps and hockey clinics we offer you the most on-ice instruction with the best results.

A few of the highlights of training with the CARTER METHOD include Control, Agility, Reflex, Technique, Edge and Retention. Our website is loaded with player tips and testimonials about our successful teaching methods. If you are a serious hockey player looking for an elite training program this summer, give us a call or click here to register for one of our programs!

We look forward to a great summer and to having the opportunity to help you achieve your goals!

16

March

Once that final buzzer sounds it’s only a short time before most players start to think “What’s next” . . . “How do I improve my game?” While many players think this, it’s those that follow through, set goals and work hard that actually hit the ice next season as a better player than last season. So the question is, how are you going to make the most of your off season training?

5 tips to the top of your game: 

  1. Start with a plan. This seems simple and obvious, but a plan isn’t a plan unless goals are identified and written down. Think back to last season and the difficulties that you had, identify areas of improvement and create a plan that will improve skills in areas that need the most work. Many players work on areas in which they are already strong. The great players spend time focusing on their weaknesses.
  2. Choose a program. There are many options on how and where to train. Do your homework, and research opportunities that are reputable and offer training and skill development in the areas that align with your goals and objectives. Once you make this important commitment, you will be once step closer to your off season goals.
  3. It’s summer, enjoy it! Off season training should be mixed in with a good balance of traditional summer activities. Hockey players that create a mix of training and fun are more likely to reduce injuries and also will stay with the program for a longer period of time.
  4. Dedicate yourself. When it does come time for training, whether it’s before going to the beach or after a round of golf, focus on what you need to improve on. Put yourself back into the place you were last season and think about the areas of your game that frustrated you. Listen to your instructors and coaches and skate each drill with the same intensity that you play the game. Dedicate yourself to the moment!
  5. Split the summer into 3 periods. June, July and August come and go very quickly. If you split your training and define goals for each month, it will allow you to focus and access your progress on a monthly basis. Players that we have trained at our summer hockey schools have told us they will identify 3 key areas of focus, and while they train all summer with them in mind, they may spend more time in June in shooting for example, and then shift the focus of July to power skating, and then August is all about stickhandling.

The goal of your off season training should be to improve your skills, increase your love of the game and to hit the ice this fall as a better hockey player than you left it in the spring. Good luck in all of your training and we hope to see you on the ice at one of our camps in 10 states this summer!

14

February

It’s The Little Things That Matter

Posted by Greg Carter

Hockey SchoolAs I watched the winning team celebrate a championship at a recent weekend tournament, a parent turned and asked “How in the world did that team win?” My response? By doing the little things.

In every game there are so many things that can go right for a team, as well as go very wrong. When it comes to winning games, especially at this time of year, coaches will tell players to stay out of the box, work hard, play with passion and to give it their all. And within all of these pieces of advice are details that often determine the outcome of a game. And it’s these little details, that when added together, that often play a large role in the final score.

So what are the little things that matter so much? I used to have a coach that said hockey is a game of ten-foot races. Races to the puck. Races to the net. Races to an open area. Quickness is an important aspect of the game and this type of effort is nothing more than will over skill. Teams in the biggest games that win the races are often times the team that also come out ahead on the scoreboard. It’s amazing how many times you see one team start winning the races, and then the other starts to stand around, and once that happens to the other team, good things start happening for your team!

Getting the puck out of the zone or into the zone. Blue line play is so important, yet often overlooked in the flow of the game. During this championship game that I was watching, the winning team won nearly every battle of the blue lines. When they were killing penalties and in a defensive zone scrum along the sideboards, they found a way to get the puck out of the zone, thus killing more time on the penalty. On the other end of the ice, when they needed to get the puck into the zone to get a change, they didn’t simply get it into the zone ten feet across the blue line, they shot it in deep, and made the other team retrieve it, and start back up the ice. Making a team go 185 feet for a goal can make a big difference, no different than field position in football!

Face-offs. As youth hockey players get older face-offs become super important. While the center hopes to win the face-off, the coverage of players by wings is equally important. I watched a face-off in this championship game where the team won an offensive zone face-off and drew the puck back to the top of the circle, but it was picked off by an opposing wing that skated right out through two players that didn’t tie up. The result? A goal on the other end of the ice!

Another great coach once told me that you have to believe you are going to be good before you ever will be good. And while this may seem like a trivial thing, believing leads to confidence, and confidence leads to momentum. Again during this championship game one team not only looked like they wanted it more, but it looked like they believed more!

Good luck in your own playoffs this year and remember, it’s the little things that matter!

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