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!

 

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!

19

May

summer-camp-blog

Youth hockey players always start the summer with great intentions on training. Developing a better shot, a better stride and a better all-around game might be on your list. So how can you make sure that when the sun sets on Labor Day you will have better skills than the first of June or 4th of July? Here are some tips, and it all starts with a plan.

Make a plan. And make a list. Think back to last season and the areas of your game that you needed to improve on. Prioritize the skills that you are going to focus on and then commit to a regular schedule. Post your plan and your list in an area that you will see it every day, and let it be a motivator to get started, and keep going.

Fun Factor. Summer should be about having fun, and there is no reason that your training can’t be fun, along with some sweat and hard work. Turn on some music, dump out a bucket of pucks and start stick handling and shooting. Before you know it, 10 songs will have gone by and your shot will be better for it.

Try Something Different. At our hockey camp we like to talk about training the CARTER Method: C=Control, A=Agility, R=Reflex, T=Technique, E=Edge, R=Retention. Including a new routine or training method into your schedule will help keep things fresh and motivating.

Everyone loves winter hockey, but here at Greg Carter Hockey Schools we especially love summer hockey and all of the training and growth opportunities that come with it. We have watched so many young athletes blossom over the summer months as they push and challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zone and take their game to the next level.

We invite you to take advantage of the outstanding high performance training opportunities we have available this summer. Our hockey school will be in ten states including Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia.

For more than two decades our experienced team of coaches has been focused on player development and summer hockey training. We hope to see you at one of our camps this summer and look forward to helping you reach your goals!

13

April

One of the many great things about hockey camp is the people you meet. Players, coaches, trainers and families from all over the country come together for this special week and it’s nothing short of an awesome experience to skate, talk and learn from others. So who will you meet at hockey camp this summer? Here are 5 people you are sure to have fun with and create lasting memories.

The Coach. We all have a coach who makes an impression on us, and some of the best coaches are those who teach you new things, in a way you have never been instructed. Each summer at camp our students create a bond with a coach that extends long after the week of camp is over. Many keep in touch throughout the season, and we are very proud of our knowledgeable and personable coaching staff.

The New Buddy. Going to a hockey camp can be intimidating, especially when doing it for the first time or going alone. Over the years we have watched kids show up the first day and hardly say a word to anyone, and end up being the kid we can’t keep quiet by the end of the week. Everyone finds a buddy at hockey camp and like the coach, those relationships often last beyond the last day of camp.

The Skillmaster. This one is kind of difficult to explain, but think the top scorer, mixed with a gift of gab and a healthy dose of confidence. Every camp has the player that has worked their tail off and has become just a step faster and a goal better than everyone else. We like these kids at camp because they motivate and inspire – one way or another- for the rest of the players to be just as good as they are.

The Most Improved. The first day at camp is always exciting for everyone, including the staff. We really enjoy getting to know the kids, assessing their talents and identifying their areas for improvements. What we really look forward to on the last day of camp is deciding which player has worked the hardest and developed the most during camp. We have a motto at camp: “get better every day”.  And we push players to do just that.

The Class Clown. This kid is part Drake, part Josh; innocent, but always guilty. He’s the kid everyone at camp instantly connects with, keeps the group bonding and always has something funny to say. Oftentimes the class clown is also the hardest worker and most respectful. But one thing is for certain, he/she is always funny.

There are no shortages of stories, lessons and learning that takes place at hockey camp, and we hope you choose to improve your game and make your memories at our hockey camps this summer. Remember to have fun playing this great game, and to get better every day!

21

March

Rails

Last year here in Massachusetts Mother Nature delivered us more than 100 inches of snow.  It was a winter to remember with record-breaking snowfall that seemed to find its way into our lives on a daily basis. And just when we dug out from one storm, another was on the way, dumping a dozen more back-breaking inches of snow on top of the sidewalks and driveways that we just got done clearing.

This year we are right around 25 inches of total snowfall, or roughly a quarter of the snowfall of only a year ago. As I was discussing this with someone at the rink the other day, the conversation turned to the hockey season last year, and like the weather, what a difference a year can make.

At this same point last year the guy I was talking with was in the midst of buying every shovel and ice scraper he could get his hands on. He even went out and purchased a brand new snow blower, one of those machines with enough horsepower to throw even the heaviest snow clear across to the other county. This year most of his new equipment has sat unused in his garage.

Just like the weather, the hockey season and player performance can dramatically change from year to year. One season a player may score goals like Jaromir Jagr, but the next have a dip in performance and struggle to find the back of the net.

It’s important to recognize that this is somewhat normal, and that development is a marathon, not a sprint. What players need to focus on is making sure they are preparing themselves not only for the great games and seasons, but also for the times when they need to go back to basics. Like my friend who went out and purchased all of the equipment to be prepared for snow, players should have the tools necessary to be prepared for hockey.

Mastering the fundamentals of hockey is a key ingredient to long term success. There is a belief held by many experts about the ‘10,000 Hour Rule’, which essentially says that 10,000 hours of practice to become world class in a field.  If you are a serious hockey player you have probably heard about this, and are well on your way to finding the training and ice time that will help you master the skills necessary to take your game to the next level.

While it seems no one can accurately forecast the weather (sorry local weatherman), you can help forecast your hockey career. Whether it’s 100 inches of snow and 50 wins one season, or 25 inches and 12 wins the next, the big question is this: Are you going to be prepared?

We hope so, and have plenty of summer opportunities available for players of all ages and skill level. While we don’t have shovels and snow blowers to prepare you for next winter, we have coaches and trainers who know the game and are eager to teach. Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you this summer!

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