player tips

05

January

Rails

Here are 5 great skill-based resolutions for youth hockey players!

1. Finish every drill. As a coach, one of the great joys of running practices is in creating great drills that teach players to learn and improve. One of the great disappointments however is when players don’t skate hard through the entire drill. Finishing every drill is important for players as they develop. Whether you are skating lines, shooting pucks or working on edges, give 100% until the drill is complete and you will find yourself developing a new work ethic.

2. Dream. Players of all ages need to dream. Dream of making the team. Dream of scoring the big goal. Dream of winning the big game. Dream of moving on to the next level. Dream of playing in front of a big crowd. Dream of achieving your goals.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney 

3. Be a great teammate. The great players that I skated with in college and beyond were also really good teammates. They not only had talent, but they knew how to inspire those around them to work as hard as they did. Everyone wants to be around great teammates as they encourage, promote unity and lead by example.

4. Evaluate & Practice. This one is very important, and it starts with an honest evaluation of your game. If you favor stopping one way over the other, start practicing stopping on your weak edge every time. If you are having a hard time keeping up with teammates, enroll in a summer power skating program and work specifically on skating. If your game needs an overall tune up, enroll in a skills camp where you can work on all aspects of your game. Identify your weaknesses and commit to practicing them.

5. Attitude. Everyone wants to get to the next level and succeed, and we all know that attitude determines altitude. This seems simple, but I guarantee it works! Bring a great attitude to the rink every day, appreciate the opportunity to play the greatest game on Earth and watch your game take off this year!

From our hockey family to yours, Happy New Year and best wishes for a successful 2016!

11

December

Rails

The holidays are a great time of year both on the ice with tournaments and games in full swing, as well as off the ice celebrating the season with friends and family. I have actually found the the month of December to be a really interesting stretch of the hockey season because players are settling in and finding their place on the team.

How is your season starting out? Are you playing on the first line? How about the power play or penalty kill? Are you skating in your preferred position or do your coaches have you elsewhere? Are you scoring as much as you would like?

If you are having the success you anticipated, do you have a plan to continue playing at that level? Or, if you haven’t yet found your stride, are you prepared to work even harder? Youth hockey players at this time of year too often allow their current situation to dictate their work ethic. If they are not skating on the first line they resort to thinking they are a second or third line player. If they are not on the power play or penalty kill, they think they must not be good enough for special teams play. Conversely, some first line players get complacent and stop working hard, thinking that every time there is a power play they are going to be put on the ice.

The holidays are a great time to reevaluate your game and think about all of the hard work you invested over the summer to prepare for the season. It’s an excellent opportunity to rededicate yourself to being not just a good forward or defensemen, but a good, well-rounded hockey player who understands the game and can play in many different situations and positions.

Often times at summer hockey school we train forwards who say they don’t need to work on their backwards skating because they are a forward. Or we see defensemen who don’t work on their offensive moves and scoring because they feel their role is to prevent goals from being scored rather than scoring goals. The best hockey players are those who understand that it takes hard work and consistent effort in all areas to get to making the most out of the season.

As we enter the winter break, here are 3 holiday hockey gifts to help you get the most out of your season!

1. Attitude and work ethic. Playing hockey is one of the great joys of childhood. Make sure you remember this and bring a great attitude and awesome work ethic to every practice and game. A coach once told me that anything worth doing, is worth doing well. I have never forgotten this and it is especially true in youth hockey!
2. Coachability.  Coaches love players that show up ready to go and ready to learn. Make sure that you pay attention and digest what your coach is telling you. Many coaches have years of experience and played the game themselves. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from those who have already been there and done it. Learn from them and do it better!
3. Pucks & Practice. This is simple. You can never practice enough, and you can never shoot enough pucks.

From our hockey home to yours, enjoy the holidays and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

Greg Carter

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!

 

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