player tips



There’s an old saying in sports about hitting home runs in baseball, scoring touchdowns in football or goals in hockey: “Nobody asks how, they just ask how many.”

As you start a youth hockey season unlike any other, it will be more important than ever this season to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize. 

In youth hockey, that prize should be development, improving fundamental skills and ending the season a better hockey player than you entered it. Of course championships are nice prizes as well! In all of our years coaching and playing this great game, typically if every player on the teams is improving, those championships will follow!

As we were watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there was much made of scoring records, wins and losses and stats that ultimately can end up defining the careers of players and the legacy of a team. Recent social media discussions debated the abbreviated season and the non-traditional Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Will the Stanley Cup winning team be remembered the same in a COVID season as past and future champions that win in a traditional year? History has proven that when it comes to stats, records and legacies, they really don’t ask how, but how many. 

As you start your own youth hockey season, keep this in mind as the year in all likelihood not be typical when it comes to practices, games and tournaments. The easily distracted players will lose focus. Those that stay focused, however, will understand that they need to only concern themselves with what they can control, which is learning from coaches and developing skills. 

We hope you have a great start to the season and that when it’s over, you’ll be proud to answer ‘how many’! 

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



A September Stanley Cup

Posted by Greg Carter

Stanley Cup Playoffs in September? Of course, it’s 2020 and odd as it is, there are some great lessons to be learned by youth hockey players as they start their season.

Great Teams Find A Way To Win One Goal Games 

In the Dallas Stars and Vegas Knights series it just seemed like Dallas had the confidence and puck luck to score in key situations. Being down two goals in Game 5, one might wonder if they are thinking ‘it’s all good, we’ve got three kicks at the can’. Wrong. Instead, they get a timely goal, followed by another, and then the series winning goal in overtime. Good teams never give up. Good teams work hard every shift. Good teams find a way to win one goal games.

Great Players Make Great Plays

Whether it’s a spectacular save, a good, clean, hard hit, a great pass or an incredible goal, these playoffs have been another example of great players rising to the occasion to make great plays in pursuit of ultimate success. As we’ve talked about in past articles, none of these passes, saves or shots come without 10,000 hours of practice and plenty of pain. If you want to make the great play, make sure you are putting in the time in practice and regular skill training.

Shuffling Lines Is Not The End of The World

When a coach makes a tactical decision to shuffle up the lines it is done in an effort to win. In youth hockey, it is usually overreacted to and equated to either a promotion or demotion. In fact, it’s about creating chemistry and putting players together who are playing a similar game. This can change from week to week and there is nothing wrong with playing alongside a mix of players. Good players adapt and find a way to be successful.  

The Third Period Is Important

This seems obvious, but when teams have a lead in the third and start watching the time on the clock, bad things can happen. A goal counts the same in the final few minutes as it does at the start of the game. Much like running a marathon when the last few miles can destroy everything accomplished to that point, hockey players need to play 60 minutes. Or in the case of The Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets, players need to play a five-overtime game!

Indeed, just like everything in 2020, September Stanley Cup Playoffs are odd. But as a youth hockey player, use the energy and excitement to inspire the start of your season. To everyone that attended our camps this summer, thank you! And thanks for reading and best of luck with the start of your season!



Hockey’s New Frontier

Posted by Greg Carter

Given the crazy world we are currently living in, Summer Hockey School was awesome, but also challenging. It was super fun and worth it each and every time we hit the ice but we couldn’t help but think:

What’s in store for the future of hockey?

While no one could have predicted what has occurred over the past six months, and nobody has a crystal ball to forecast what the next six will bring, we did have a summer of hockey that gave us a glimpse of the future.

We experienced summer hockey like never before. Rink restrictions put in place allowed us to skate, but made for a challenge. Was it all worth it? Absolutely! We collectively found an entire new appreciation for everything that makes this great game so great!

Beginning with the most basic desire to simply have a place to skate, everyone attending summer hockey camp seemed to act like they had one of the Golden Tickets to get into Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. And once inside (while there were no Oompa Loompa’s) everyone treated arena staff, coaches and each other like Mr. Wonka himself.

And once we hit the ice, wow! At many camps the smiles and pure excitement reminded coaches and training staff of some of the early days coaching Mites and Squirts when those young faces would smile through the entire practice. A genuine love for the game!

Skill development using The CARTER Method is something that we have focused on at our camps for more than two decades. This summer we can say that the players were as driven, dedicated, focused and worked as hard as any summer we have been in business. 

So what does all of this mean for hockey in the ‘New Frontier”?

We believe that players, parents, coaches and everyone involved with the game will have a renewed sense of community and that the ‘celebration’ of the game, and the pride of being a hockey player – a good hockey player – will be stronger than ever. 

Being at the rink will just plain feel good. 

Practicing skills at home in anticipation of getting to the rink will become more prevalent. 

Working hard during practice will be the norm. 

Enjoying a Gatorade after will never have tasted better.

We all have missed the game and although we had some great summer hockey camps, returning to the rink on a regular basis this fall will be nothing short of awesome.

Thank you to everyone who attended one of our camps this summer! We wish you the best of luck as you start your journey into the new season, and this New Frontier!

Hockey players of all ages, especially youth players, are used to having people around at training sessions, practices, games and even when they are working out on their own. Constantly having eyes on them is likely some good motivation, but with COVID and social distancing it begs the question, are hockey players getting better?

Summer hockey school 2020 will be remembered for many years to come. From trying to follow new rules and regulations at local ice arenas to just trying to find a regular training regiment, the plans of youth hockey players feels just like taking a slap shot right in that part of the ankle that doesn’t have any padding!

As we work and train hockey players at our summer hockey schools one thing is certain, youth hockey players are taking this opportunity to get better. We see players applying what they have learned in practices throughout the season, at camps in the past and are showing up at the rink ready to go.

In many cases you would never guess that players haven’t been on the ice in weeks or months! And what a great feeling that is to see players come to the rink with an “A” game.

If you are working hard this summer and taking every opportunity to shoot pucks in the basement, stickhandle in the driveway and even run some sprint around the block, you are well on your way to being a better player this coming season.

I can remember playing with some kids that seemed like the only time they really worked hard was when the coach was watching. Or at practice when their parents were watching. Or at training sessions when the trainer was watching. Well, with social distancing and minimal access to ice time, no one is watching.

The question for hockey players across the U.S. this summer is this, are you getting better? As an old coach used to say, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” Never has that been more true than this crazy summer of 2020.

We hope you are all staying healthy and are enjoying as much as you can this summer. We still have many camps left and invite you to join us. Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!



Making The Most of The Moment

Posted by Greg Carter

I experienced something inspiring recently which made me more excited than ever to get back on the ice! 

Like everyone during these difficult and challenging times, each day can bring a roller coaster of emotions. I had a conversation recently with someone who told me that they feel like they go through the seven stages of grief daily: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing and Acceptance.

There is no playbook, blueprint or John Madden-like white board to diagram something that will serve as a crystal ball. Everyone is sort of doing what they can to get through this moment in time, including our youth, who also all have a unique way of dealing with things.

As I was out for a recent run I noticed something that, prior to this ‘new frontier’ that we are entering, was nothing short of routine and normal. A young hockey player was in her driveway shooting a stack of pucks larger than I had previously seen.There were stickhandling balls, orange cones to stickhandle through and also a passing device that bounced pucks back to the passer. 

If that wasn’t enough, inside the garage was a pull up bar and some dumbbells for weightlifting. There was even a weight tied to a rope and a handle; I hadn’t seen a homemade wrist roller in a long time and was super impressed!

When I again passed by this house returning home on my run, the pucks were gathered ready for more shots and this kid was now working on stickhandling around the cones. Naturally, I had to stop and inquire, and essentially what I heard was this. 

“I figure if I keep working harder than I ever have I’m going to pass by some of the players that aren’t,” she said. “I started shooting pucks one day, bought more, then went online and learned how to make a wrist roller, found the cones in the garage which I’m using to stickhandle around and also found all of these different sized balls in the house. When I get back on the ice I’m going to be a better stickhandler, better shooter and have better hand-eye coordination than I’ve ever have!”

The excitement in her voice was unmistakable, and you know what, she said it with confidence and a smile that made my day. 

As I continued on towards the homestretch of my run, I realized that as a hockey coach missing my players and stopping to offer a tip or two for this player, it was actually this young hockey player that taught me something. 

As we look back at this moment, there will be those who sat idle during these times and those that kept their focus, motivation, great attitude and perspective. There is light at the end of the tunnel. When we are on the other side of this, we will all appreciate things just a little more and approach things with a renewed sense of optimism?

I was inspired by this young hockey player, her positive attitude, work ethic and genuine enthusiasm for the future. I hope by sharing this story that you are as well!

Thank you for reading and we look forward to seeing you back on the ice soon!

Please check our website for updated summer hockey school information.


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