player tips

22

January

4 Keys To Earning More Playing Time

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter's Hockey School

Sure, every player wants more playing time! However, wanting isn’t good enough, you need to earn playing time and here are four tips to work your way into more playing time.

1. The first priority for coaches is how you can contribute on the ice, and for the top players that determination is fairly easy. However, when it comes down to deciding line combinations and playing time amongst players of similar skills, coaches might rely on the player who shows up and does all of the extras. Things like off-ice training sessions, team activities and other team building events. The lesson here is go the extra mile both on and off of the ice

2. When you aren’t getting the ice time you want or thin you deserve, there are two directions you can go, and the best players know that attitude determines altitude. Coaches like players that are plugged in, listen and are coachable. Great coaches pride themselves on developing hockey players as much as they do in winning championships. If you are a coachable hockey player you stand a great chance of improving and earning that playing time!

3. There is no substitution for hard work. We have discussed this in recent articles and the bottom line is to earn more playing time you need to put in the effort. Most often the best players that you see in the games are also the best players in practice and the first ones onto the ice and the last ones to leave. As they say, the only time that success comes before work is in the dictionary!

4. Character counts. That’s right, as you progress through your youth hockey career and players start to separate themselves, character is something that is discusses among coaches. Players who are great teammates and have great character are always going to find a way to be successful. What you do on the ice can get you noticed, but how you carry yourself off of the ice can get you forgotten.

Thanks for reading and good luck as you head towards the final stretch of the season and into the playoffs! Please considering joining us this summer at one of our summer hockey schools located in ten states! For a complete listing and registration information click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Carter's European Hockey Camp

The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships just wrapped up in Vancouver, Canada. This tournament features the best hockey players under the age of 20. The action is intense, the speed is incredible, the passing is crisp and the overall talent out of this world!

So you might ask yourself, how do players take their game to the next level, and along with their team, rise to the occasion and take home a championship? How in ‘The Wolrd’s’ do they do it?

As witnessed at ‘The World’s’ in this tournament, here are the common characteristics of how players and teams win championships:

Bonding for a Common Goal: Teams are only as good as the players, and therefore the players need to all ‘buy-in’ to the process and systems to achieve the common goal of winning. Teams that are unable to bond and are instead comprised of a bunch of individuals skating for their own stats and recognition will most often not come out on top. To win, everyone needs to be a great teammate and always put the team first!

Selflessness: It’s always team first, ‘we’ over ‘me’. Individual stats and accomplishments come second. Fans saw this during the World Juniors when the Player of the Game was announced. It was evident in the humble reception of the individual award versus the overwhelming emotion to the team winning the game. Selfish players rarely win championships.

Talent & Teamwork: Talent wins hockey games, teamwork wins championships. This one is pretty obvious and can be seen at the local rink every week during every game. When a player has the opportunity to take a low percentage shot versus making a pass to a teammate for a better opportunity, what is the decision? As we have discussed in previous articles, it’s more important ‘that we do’ than ‘who’.

Winning Attitude: A great coach once said that ‘you have to believe you are a champion before you ever will be a champion’. While there is a ton of training, talent and hard work that factors into being a champion, a positive mindset and winning attitude definitely go a long way. Successful teams that I have played on have always believed that ‘we will win’ right up until the final buzzer. Do you believe?

From start to finish the World Junior hockey tournament was awesome. Although the U.S. Team came up a goal short and finished with the silver medal, it was must watch hockey TV. If you missed it, make sure to add it to your holiday calendar this year!

Thanks for reading and as always, we invite you to join us at one of our summer hockey camps in ten states this summer. 2019 is our 25th year of hockey camps and we are excited to celebrate it with you!

Click here for more information or to register!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Carter's European Hockey Camp

“Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

–Wayne Gretzky

For their gift this holiday season, kids aren’t going to the North Pole or flying a drone to intercept Santa’s Sleigh, instead they are headed to where the presents are going, under the tree! In the same way, players need to head to where the puck is going!

Watching kids play hockey, especially at the younger ages, it’s interesting and entertaining how they swarm around the puck and as a group, chase and follow it like it’s the town mayor handing out candy at the 4th of July parade. While coaches continually stress the importance of spreading out and playing position, it’s almost as if the puck is a magnetic force they are attracted to like, say, their cell phone or video game!

The ability to read the play in hockey is an extremely important skill as players progress through their development, and the best way to understand how to read and react is through experience. The time spent around the rink playing, practicing and even watching hockey on TV will help provide this experience.

The importance of understanding position play and the flow of the game looks natural to some players, but that intuition and ability to pick out tendencies is a learned behavior. I love driving by parks, ponds and driveways where kids are playing hockey in unstructured environments. Not only are they developing creativity and fundamental skills, but they are also mentally building an understanding of the natural flow of the game so that when it comes go game time, their instincts can take over.

Watching the best players at the top levels of the game, it’s not a coincidence that certain players always find themselves with time and space, and often, in breakaway situations. These players read, react, anticipate the play and as the Great One said, go not to where the puck is, but to where the puck is going.

We hope this holiday season that your player not only heads to where their gift is going, but learns over the course of the hockey season to go where the puck is going. Thanks for reading and we invite you to celebrate our 25th year of hockey camps in 2019! Dates, locations and registration information is now posted for our Greg Carter Hockey Schools located in 10 states across the U.S.!

 

 

 

 

27

November

3 Goal Scoring Gaffe’s To Avoid

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter

Having coached and watched many games this season, I’ve been reminded of how important it is to know what to do with the puck in goal scoring situations and, just as importantly, what not to do! For a select few players scoring seemingly comes at ease as they light the lamp with the demeanor of a natural goal scorer. However for the great majority of players, it’s not quite as easy and mistakes are made, opportunities are lost and starts to slide.

The good news is that there are a few common mistakes to avoid and with some practice, ordinary goal scorers have the opportunity to become extraordinary goal scorers!

Here Are 3 Goal Scoring Gaffe’s To Avoid:

Down low, shoot high. When you have the puck on your stick down low around the goal, the opposing goaltender most likely is going to be ‘down’ as well, meaning your best chance to score will be up high. Players often make the mistake of just shooting the puck anywhere at the net, oftentimes right into the pads or jersey of the goalie. Instead, players should be recognizing that with the current trend in goaltender style of play, when the puck is down low, the goalie will most likely be down as well, so they instinctively know the best chance to score will high, up and over the goalie with a bottle-knocker!

In the slot, take the shot. It’s not often that a player finds themselves all alone in the slot with the puck on their stick, but when they do it’s never a bad idea to fire a great shot on net! For as many bad angle shots that are taken during a game, it’s always interesting to see how many times a wide open shot in the slot is not taken, instead trying to make one more perfect pass. While everyone enjoys an awesome tic-tac-toe goal and a selfless teammate, dangerous goal scorers know how to bury the puck when they are left alone in the slot.

Paralysis by analysis. The best goal scorers have excellent instincts and without hesitation know what to do with the puck. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for the perfect shot or perfect pass because good opponents will be there to pick your pocket and before you know it, the puck is on their stick heading in the opposite direction. Practice is the best way to gain the repetition needed to be comfortable and confident with the puck on your stick in a goal scoring situation. And most importantly, make a decision on how you are going to score, and then bury the biscuit!

Thank you for reading and from our hockey family to yours, Happy Holidays! 🎄  Our 2019 Summer Hockey School dates and locations are being updated so be sure to claim your spot early!

13

November

Greg Carter's European Hockey Camp

Is there any question that one of the most – if not the most – exciting moments of a game is a breakaway, or in the case of a tied game, a shootout. Throw in a penalty shot and you have a hat trick of thrilling plays! However when the moment pops up, and you find yourself picking up a loose puck and racing in alone, full speed towards the opposing goalie and a split second decision needs to be made, do you know whether you are going to shoot or deke?

Here Are 5 Keys To Scoring On A Breakaway, Shootout & Penalty Shot!

Keep The Goalie Guessing. Goalies try to ‘read’ players because if they know what a player is going to do, it’s much easier to stop the puck. So as a player, part of the strategy must include keeping the goalie guessing. This can be done by stickhandling the puck side to side, keeping your feet moving (more on this in a minute) changing speeds and other movements that will get the goalie moving laterally. Goalies love players who basically skate a straight line towards them and then stop moving their feet at the face-off dots, which usually means a shot is coming straight at them from an easy angle.

Keep Your Feet Moving. Whether you are going to deke or shoot, it’s important that players keep their feet moving to keep the goalie guessing. With your feet moving you can more easily change direction and speed which will get the goaltender moving laterally, which is always a good thing to free up more net. As soon as you stop moving your feet all of your momentum is slowed and options become limited. Keep your feet, and your options moving!

Keep Your Head Up. Players need to read what the goalie is doing and the only way to do so is with your head up. If a goalie comes out beyond the crease to challenge, it’s probably a better option to try and deke. If however, the goalie remains deeper in the crease, there likely will be plenty of net to shoot at. Keep your head up, pick a spot, make a decision and score the goal!

Change Your Release. Great goal scorers know that a big secret to scoring is changing the direction and timing of your release. Sometimes goalies can be surprised by a quick release that catches them off guard thinking a player is going to deke during a stickhandling move, but instead of sliding the puck forehand to backhand rips off a quick snap shot. Also, changing the direction of release can keep the goalie guessing, which is a key part of scoring success!

Practice Your Dekes & Dangles! When you see the best players score on incredible moves or super shots, they have all been practiced countless times. If you want to be a serious scorer, a great time to practice shootouts and breakaways is before or right at the end of practices. One great shootout player used to buy the goalie a Gatorade after every practice in return for getting on the ice early or staying a little late to help the player work on his breakaways. Turns out this player scored nearly every time!

Like anything in hockey and life, if you want to be good at it you need to practice, if you want to be great at it you need to practice even more! We hope you are having a great season and wish you and your family a great Thanksgiving holiday! We will be releasing our Summer Hockey School schedule in the coming weeks and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

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