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player tips

02

December

The No Puck Pandemic

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter Hockey Camp

It’s been a tough start to the season, what are hockey parents and player missing most during the pandemic?

We all have taken for granted going to the rink for practice or a game. Or to watch a brother, sisters, son, daughter or friend play a game. Or maybe you just made a trip to get skates sharpened or to buy a roll of tape at the pro shop. Many have also been known to simply drop in to see who is practicing or playing a game. And maybe that’s what we miss most. Just being at the rink. 

Puckless Pandemic & What We Miss Most

(in no particular order)

  1. Watching the resurfacer clean the ice in anticipation of the game or practice. 
  2. Arena steaks. Otherwise known as hot dogs at the ice rink. The official meal of hockey parents everywhere! 
  3. The people. The players, the coaches, friends, even the referees. Hockey people are the best people!
  4. The smell. Maybe not the smell of equipment, but there is a distinct smell inside an ice rink!
  5. Becoming a better hockey player. There is great satisfaction in leaving the rink knowing that you are just a little bit better than you were when you walked in. 
  6. The popcorn. Maybe it’s eating warm popcorn in a cold rink, but it just seems like popcorn always tastes better at the ice rink. 
  7. Bringing Dunkin coffee to the rink. Because regardless of what anyone says, coffee from the ice rink tastes like that last cup melded to the pot at a 2 am truckstop. 
  8. Snuggling under a warm blanket with family and friends in the stands of a super cold rink. 
  9. The sounds. Skate blades carving into the ice, pucks clanging off the goal posts, into the boards and plexiglass. Whistles, coaches instructions and even the animated hockey parent barking instructions to their child or angst at the referee.
  10. The arena manager. Even though the vision of an ice arena manager is a grizzled old guy with cheeks that you could strike a match on, admit it, you sort of miss getting yelled at for playing street hockey in the hallways and lobby or for rocking the vending machine trying to shake loose that bag of chips that got stuck. 
  11. Playing without a mask. 
  12. Watching your son or daughter make a great pass, assist on a goal or best of all, scoring the big goal.
  13. The car ride home with your son or daughter….an experience that only a hockey parent can truly appreciate. 

Thank you for reading, and if you want more to read, we have plenty of great player development articles in our BLOG ARCHIVE.

Hang in there and let’s all look forward to brighter days ahead. And when we return to the rink under normal conditions, maybe we’ll all just appreciate things a little bit more!

21

October

Focus On What You Can Control

Posted by Greg Carter

In these uncertain times hockey players have many questions. The best way to this season is to not worry about things out of your control, and to focus on what you can control! 

As both a player and a coach, there are always those seasons that stick out where there seemed to be more questions than answers. Looking back at those uncertain times, I can remember coaches telling players to focus. Don’t get distracted. Take one game at a time. One shift at a time. 

Years later it seems easy to now look back and agree. In the moment however, it just seemed like a bunch of coaches cliches strung together to motivate and help get us through the moment.

Do not let what is out of your control interfere with all of the things that are within your control.

Focus on what you can control, rather than the outcome you cannot.

Focus on what you can do rather than stress about what you have no control over. 

The secret of confidence is focusing on what you can control, not on what you can’t.

Rather than worrying about the unclear, focus on who is in the mirror. 

As we enter this season like no other, there in all likelihood will be more questions than answers from players, parents and even coaches. From arena restrictions and procedures for dressing for practice and preparing for games, to the number of games, out of town tournaments and end of the season championships.

As we’ve discussed in previous player development articles, the opportunity this season is to focus on one thing: development. This season above all others should be about developing skills, getting better at skating, stickhandling, shooting and scoring. These are all things that you can control! 

With ice time being limited this season coaches are going to be more focused than ever with practice plans and skill development. As a player, practicing and absorbing as much information as possible will be a key to your success. Think of yourself as a sponge this season, trying to soak up as much hockey knowledge and instruction as you possibly can. 

Take all of this knowledge and use it to your advantage. This is something you absolutely can control, without any outside influences. Remember the ‘5 S’s’ Skills, Skating, Stickhandling, Shooting and Scoring! 

We wish you the best of luck with the start of your season. Stay healthy, happy and focused! 

01

October

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! 

16

September

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!

26

August

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!

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