player tips

19

September

The Season Kick Off!

Posted by Greg Carter

Rails

With Labor Day and another summer in the rear view mirror, footballs are air born and preseason NHL games are starting to dot the TV schedule. This could only mean one thing; the youth hockey season is right around the corner.

As players gear up for the season, it’s important to take the time to reflect on what was accomplished during your summer hockey training, and your plans to use the development to be a huge contributor and leader on your team this season.

A good way for players to start this season, is to actually think back to last season.

What areas of your game needed work?
What were the goals that you set for the summer? 

Hopefully your summer training allowed you to refocus, work on new skills, get rid of any bad habits and position yourself for a great season.

The areas that you identified as needing work in your post season evaluation were hopefully the key areas of focus for you over the summer. Now is the time to apply everything that you learned, as well as show off those skills that you mastered. Maybe you needed to increase your speed, develop a better shot or improve your stick handling skills. Make sure you take what you learned and apply it to every practice, every game and every shift this season.

Hockey is a game that requires many skills, and putting forth the time and effort in the off season to work hard on your development is part of the equation, but what you do on the ice this season is the true test. Are you prepared to apply your development to your everyday hockey experience?

Everyone has heard the slogan that ‘practice makes perfect’ and this is especially true when it comes to using the tools that you learned over the summer to improvement your skills everyday this season.

Good luck with the start of  your season and we look forward to hearing about your next great hockey experience!

27

August

Rails

August is the perfect summer month.

Running a hockey camp in August means that things are winding down after few great months instructing aspiring athletes who have been working hard to take their game to the next level.

Of course it never gets old walking out of the cool rink into the hot and humid summer air.

And in August, the excitement of the summer months is turning to thoughts of Labor Day, school, football and of course the start of another hockey season.

Yes, these are the dog days of summer and they are great times for hockey players.

All of the instruction received over the summer can be put to use during your personal training in preparation for the season.

Shooing pucks with proper form and increased velocity.
Stickhandling with your head up and practicing your new dekes and moves.

We really enjoy watching players in August as they have grown over the past few months, both as hockey players and also in height!

As you finish out your summer vacation we encourage you to continue working hard on everything that you learned at hockey camp this summer.

Players leave camp with the tools they need to become a better hockey player, and we sincerely hope that you use those tools each and every day in practice.

Repetition is a key ingredient to mastering skills so take the time and bring the energy to your training and preseason preparations.

Work the same skills over and over again until you are comfortable executing at full speed.

Enjoy the final weeks of summer and we look forward to keeping up with you this season!

15

May

Secrets to Game 7 Success

Posted by Greg Carter

Rails

There have been some awesome games in the NHL Playoffs. And nothing is bigger than a Game 7, when everything is on the line. One team goes home to get the golf clubs out of the basement, and the other advances one step closer to hockey’s biggest prize.

So what does it really take to win that decisive Game 7? What separates the winners? Sometimes it takes a combination of puck luck, momentum and of course hard work, but in all my years around the game both as a player and training hockey players, I’ve come to see some similarities among players who more times than not find themselves on the winning side of the scoreboard.

It’s important to understand that these are not just player traits that appear on the eve of a Game 7, instead they are engrained in a player from the time they learn to love the game and compete. Thinking back to the great players that I’ve played with and coached, they always seemed to bump up their game and take it to another level when the stakes got higher. The good players got great, and their ability to keep bringing the magic that it takes to win was even more evident in the biggest games.

These are the players, and I see them today at the youth level, that get off the ice after a shift and are so ‘wired’ that they can’t sit still on the bench to rest, they have to lean against the boards and watch every minute, every second of the game. They can’t wait to get back onto the ice for their chance to score the deciding goal.

Not all players are like this. Some players don’t have that killer instinct as they fear giving up the big goal more than they do putting it all on the line to be the hero.

So what are some secrets, both as a player and a team, to winning a Game 7?

  • Ability to play with a ‘win at all cost’ mentality. This means doing everything possible, every shift to make sure you are always in the best position to have an impact.
  • High Risk / High Reward. Great players are not afraid to take chances to score the big goal. They have the confidence in themselves that given the chance, they will beat the odds and score the goal.
  • Confidence. It may sounds simple, but confidence goes a long way in winning. When a team hits the ice with confidence, you notice. And when you execute on your confidence and get the job done, oftentimes you win the game!
  • Hard work. Nothing compares to hard work. So often one team may look flat, while the other is buzzing around like gnat. Is one team really flat, or is the other just out working and out skating them?
  • Rely on what got you there. And this is the key, that to win the Game 7 you have to recognize that all the long hours of dedication, practice and persistence all plays out in dramatic fashion. Sure, all the players have put in the time, but the best of the best are the ones who do just that little bit more.

Enjoy the rest of the NHL Playoffs and good luck scoring the big one in your next big game!

 

Rails

The excitement for the NHL Playoffs may be greater than ever. Regardless of whether your favorite team is in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, watching the best hockey players in the world compete at the highest level for the top prize in the game really is must watch TV.

From the intensity and speed to the awesome goals, amazing passes and phenomenal dekes, if you are a fan of hockey you are probably glued to the TV. For youth players it is a time when they can really sit and learn from the best of the best.  Cheering for your favorite team is always exciting, but for true students of the game who want to learn a new move, how to back check hard and pick up the weak side wing and everything in between, the NHL Playoffs are a great learning opportunity.

Not only can players watch intently on the individual and team play, but the NHL Playoffs should also serve as inspiration to take your own game to the next level. Watching a great wrist shot beat a goalie top shelf should inspire you to shoot more pucks. Watching a player dance around a defenseman into the open ice should provide the motivation to practice stickhandling even more. Watching the ‘give it all’ attitude of every  player on the ice should encourage you to train throughout the summer, stay in shape and hit the ice in the fall ready to go.

Most great players have that ‘ah-hah’ moment where they realize that to get to the top of the game they need to train hard to get there. Watching the best players in the world and picking out a few moves from a favorite player and then trying over and over to master the skill is a great opportunity to help your overall hockey skills.

Great players have all grown up watching their idols inspire them, and then headed out to the driveway or down to the basement to reenact the big play.

During the next NHL game keep an eye out for what you can learn and apply to your own game. Not only is watching NHL Playoffs awesome from a fan perspective, but it can really be the inspiration to help take your game to the next level.

 

08

April

The Season of Champions

Posted by Greg Carter

Rails

April is one of the great hockey months. In the NHL we have the push to the playoffs, which means a few things: the intensity ratchets up several notches, the speed of the game shifts up a gear or two and of course the facial hair is grown out. During April we also have college hockey’s Frozen Four. This is another great tournament as unpaid players are putting it all on the line not for a huge paycheck, but rather for the simple right to win a championship.

You can’t help but watch the incredible hockey this time of year and wonder, ‘what does it really take to get to that level of play’ . . . not just playing at the highest level, but to advance through the regular season and the playoffs and ultimately hit the ice and play on the biggest stage, under the brightest lights for the right to hoist the biggest trophy.

For most of players, and you’ll hear this in post-game interviews, the ‘what it really takes’ is determination. Not just team determination, but individual determination.  And that determination didn’t just start at the end of the regular season or the weeks leading into the playoffs as the team fought to make the post season. For the most successful players, that determination started a long time ago in a basement, garage, backyard rink or local park.

Determination goes hand and hand with hard work. The great Vince Lombardi once said “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Every hockey player wants to win, wants to make the playoffs, wants to play for the championship and wants to hoist the trophy. The reality is that the players who do end up in these games are the ones who have realized at a young age what it really takes to get there. First and foremost it requires a love of the game. After that, it takes commitment, determination and hard work.

The best players that I’ve played with have all possessed these traits. They were the guys at the rink first and off the ice last. They loved shooting pucks. They loved practicing and trying to get better every day. And I mean every day. They loved being at the rink, and when they weren’t they were making mom and dad upset by staying at the local rink two hours too long. They were quintessential rink rats, who also had skill, determination and weren’t afraid of hard work.

So when you see players on TV hoisting a trophy, some doing so in tears, it’s important to understand that the journey for these players didn’t start at the beginning of the season. It started at the beginning of their recognition that with determination and hard work, there can be no limits to your success.

When does your journey begin?

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