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25

February

Olympic Inspiration

Posted by Greg Carter

Watching the Olympics in Pyeongchang, and specifically the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team win gold, was a great opportunity for young athletes to gain some motivation and inspiration. Here are some of the excellent lessons and takeaways for hockey players from the 2018 Winter Games.

Follow Your Dream. One of the best parts of the Olympic telecasts are the stories about the athletes themselves. Where they came from, their home town, their grassroots level coaches, their family and friends. When you get a behind the scenes look at these athletes competing on a world stage for all to witness their extreme highs and devastating lows, you realize they are just like . . . you! They started as normal, everyday athletes from across the U.S. who followed their dream, and were lucky enough to accomplish it! What is your dream?

Stick With It. Olympic hockey without NHL players was interesting. Some of the coolest stories were about the players in the twilight of their career who only a short time ago never dreamed of pulling an Olympic jersey over their shoulders. These are the guys who perhaps appreciated it the most; players who grinded through a career in the minors or played in Europe or other far-away places. But their love of the game and commitment earned them a spot representing their country in the Olympics!

Training Pays Off. Whether it was cross country skiing, hockey or snowboarding, these are extremely well-conditioned athletes. Every single one of them. It seemed however, that when you followed the story line of the best of the best, these were the athletes that went above and beyond the rigorous training of their teammates and competitors. Sure, there is some God-given talent in these athletes, but the best of the best combine that talent with a work ethic and training program outdone by no one.

Winning Is The Greatest! Watching the emotional celebrations of the athletes was super cool. Seeing the raw emotions when they captured a medal, it was evident that the culmination of all of their years of training, sacrifice and dedication was spilling over. To spend the thousands of hours training, away from school, family, friends and a normal life, all to capture that win, is something special and should serve as motivation as we all try to win in our own lives each and every day!

The Olympics are a very special time, and there are many inspirational lessons to be learned from all of the athletes from around the world. Take those lessons and apply them to your daily routine for hockey, and you are sure to improve your overall game, on and off of the ice. Thanks for reading, and we invite you to follow your dream with us this summer at one of our 2018 hockey camps located in 10 states! Registration is in full swing, claim your spot today!

28

November

Great Advice From An Elite Athlete

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter

I was recently talking with an elite athlete who shared some important advice he had received from his parents:

To play the game is good,
To win the game is better,
To love the game is best of all.

I left the conversation thinking about all of the great players that I have had the pleasure of playing with or coached, and about those who have made it to the Division I level and beyond. Without exception, they all loved the game. Some of them are listed in our hockey camp Hall of Fame.

Youth hockey players, especially as they mature and reach the top of the pyramid, have many influences, and many people trying to give them advice. “You need to do this, and you need to do that.”

This is where one can find the defining fine line between needing to do something, and doing it because you love the game. 

For example, I can remember being at hockey school and receiving instruction on how to improve my shot. I spent many hours working on developing the best shot I possibly could. Yes, I needed to do this, but that’s not why I did it. I practiced shooting until I literally could not shoot another puck because I loved the thought of scoring the winning goal. I loved the thought of the on-ice celebration afterwards. I loved the thought of laughing and having fun in the room after a win with my buddies. And all of these feelings are why I loved the game way back then, and still today.

The encouragement that I received from people closest to me was always centered around the joys of competition, and the satisfaction of coming out on top. Things like ‘hockey is a game of ten-foot races, win the races and you stand a good chance of winning the game.” When someone said that to me, I took that as an opportunity to work hard on my speed. Again, not because someone told me that I had to, but because I wanted to win so bad, and wanted to feel the exhilaration that comes along with it. When you love something the compete level is at its greatest, as are your chances of success.

No one can teach a player to love the game, instead it has to come naturally and with positive encouragement. Teaching versus preaching is important.  Focusing on long-term development versus short-term gain is critical. Car rides home discussing the fun atmosphere of a game, the excitement of the speed and appreciation of the finesses are things that create the emotional connection with a player to the game. And once that positive emotional connection is made, and a vision of that player being in the moment is created, a great future can be built on the foundation.

As you continue down the road this winter with your son or daughter, remember that to play the game is good, to win the game is better, and to love the game is best of all.

 

17

October

Shoot To Thrill

Posted by Greg Carter

When it comes to scoring goals, it all starts with a great shot.

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An old coach of mine used to tell our team that you can never shoot enough pucks, and that the all of the great goal scorers could pick a spot, and hit it 9 out of 10 times. He would then tell us to go home and shoot pucks in the driveway, basement or back yard, and once you hit your target 9 out of 10 times, pick up the pucks and do it all over again.

Of all the great players that I’ve skated with, I always remember the guys who could shoot the puck. Some had a really heavy shot, but not great accuracy. Others could snipe a spot no larger than a mouse hole every time, but weren’t strong enough to beat the better goalies. The really great shooters had a combination of both power and accuracy.

With today’s stick technology, finding the right stick is a very important factor in shooting. The science in sticks today has been a game changer because of the flex and whipping motion that with the right technique, allows players to shoot harder than ever. Make sure to pay attention to the the pattern and flex which will play a role, especially as players get older, in developing a good shot.

So how can you increase the accuracy and power behind your shot? At our hockey camps we stress the importance of the fundamentals in shooting technique. This varies a bit from player to player and also by the age of the player. Older, stronger players have the strength to lean on a stick, creating the torque necessary to best leverage the technology in sticks. Younger players meanwhile, may not have the strength, and need to really rely on accuracy, while developing the strength and technique needed to score on goalies as they get older, and as the goaltenders get better.

Another key to a great shot is keeping your head up and your feet moving. We see a lot of players who have a good shot, but cant snipe the spot because their head is down and they don’t ever see that wide open top corner! Also, as soon as you stop moving your feet, it’s a big clue to the goaltender that you may be going for a deke versus a shot.

If you are spending your time away from the rink shooting pucks , you are already on your way to scoring more goals this season. Remember to practice all shots including the wrist shot, snap shot and slap shot. Each require a unique discipline that with the right stick, will allow you to shoot to thrill!

28

November

Holiday Shoppers & Hockey Parents

Posted by Greg Carter

A new holiday tradition has emerged within a circle of family and friends over the past few years that involves scanning the national news for the footage of outrageous behavior by black Friday shoppers. The excitement and anticipation all kicks off Thursday evening when long lines start to snake their way around the outside of stores as people wait for hours and hours for access to the best deals of the year.

And once the store doors open, it’s like the hole shot at a motocross race, the gates opening at the Kentucky Derby and the opening faceoff at Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals all rolled up into one incredibly intense moment. And what happens next is anyone’s guess.

TV footage of these mad scrambles from the front doors of the store to the electronics departments resembles the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Hearts are pumping and adrenaline is at peak levels, it’s a complete frenzy. And then it happens, excitement turns to frustration, then aggression and ultimately anger. Arguments ensue and in some cases, fights break out and punches are thrown. You really can’t make it up.

So what does the behavior by some holiday shoppers have to do with the behavior of some hockey parents? There are actually some similarities – common denominators – in the behaviors witnessed in both hockey rinks and shopping malls. Unable to control the energy and excitement of the moment, some people tend to let emotions get the better of them, and their better judgement.

As we enter the holiday shopping season, and the invitational hockey tournament season, it’s a great time to take a deep breath and remember what is really important at this time of year, and what type of memories we are creating for our kids around the Christmas tree, and our hockey players around the rink.

Some of the best memories of playing youth hockey don’t involve the wins or losses, but instead the great teammates that turn into great, lifelong friends. Competition can bring out the best, and the worst in people, and it’s up to each individual to decide how they are going to react in emotional situations.

An old coach used to say that if you are properly prepared and confident in yourself and your ability to perform, then you are well-positioned to be successful. Hockey is the greatest game on Earth, and a sport full of excitement, energy and intensity. How parents and players manage emotions during a game can greatly influence the outcome of the situation and whether or not you achieve success.

So whether you are trying to win the race to the puck, or the race to a high-discounted flat-screen TV, remember that both on and off of the ice, this is the most wonderful time of the year!

19

May

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!

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