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player tips

03

March

The Coolest Rink Ever

Posted by Greg Carter
Coolest Ice Rink

Hockey players love to play in great facilities. There is something special, motivating and inspiring about lacing ‘em up at TD Garden, Agganis Arena, Conte Forum or any other storied facility where great players have scored legendary goals, won championships and created history.

The NHL Outdoor Series last month set on the shores of Lake Tahoe created a new dream for players wanting to one day skate on the same ice where their heroes play. Unfortunately, the mid-day ice conditions did not cooperate and the game had to be postponed until after sunset. 

However, the beautiful setting of the white frozen ice built next to the mystical blue waters of Lake Tahoe, all in the foreground of the Sierra Nevada’s created a setting unlike any we’ve seen in hockey. Lake Tahoe is already considered one of the most beautiful places in the world and when you add an ice rink to the scenery, you have one of the most beautiful hockey settings in the world!

As you work hard over the next few weeks to win your end of the season playoffs and advance to play on the biggest stage at some of the coolest rinks, remember that it’s the hard work and dedication away from the limelight that gets you to the spotlight.

In the great movie Hoosiers, the coach brings his small town basketball team to play for the state championship in a gym – and setting – larger than they have ever seen. In a classic scene, the coach breaks out a tape measure to show that even though the facility is giant, and the stage enormous with the state championship on the line, the basketball hoop is still 10 feet from the floor; the exact same height that it is in their small town gym back home.

Playing end of the season tournaments for the championship creates a lot of crazy emotions. One important thing to remember is that, just like in Hoosiers, the goal is still 6’ x 4’. The ice is still ice and the game is still the game. Focus on putting all of the skills you have developed throughout the season to use and block out the rest of it.

Even if it is the most beautiful rink sent on the shore of a beautiful lake in a beautiful mountain range!

Thanks for reading and good luck in your playoffs. Please reach out to us with any questions about our summer hockey schools located in 11 states this summer. We invite you to come train with our Pro Staff and take your game to the next level!

17

February

The Great Ones Make It Look Easy

Posted by Greg Carter

Social media is full of skill videos featuring hockey players making incredible dekes and dangles and then finishing with a storybook goal. Watching this talent leaves everyone on the edge of their seat wondering ‘how’d they do that’? The answer is really quite simple: practice!

This summer we enter our 27th year of summer hockey camps in 11 states. It never ceases to amaze our pro staff how much the talent of young hockey players increases with each passing season.   

The level of play from peewees to preps has gotten to a point where each and every year the discussion in the coaches room is whether the level of play can continue to improve. Amazingly enough, each year skills do improve and the level of play does get better.

Last year at summer hockey school after watching a player make a move that literally brought the coaches to applaud, we asked the player where he learned the move. The answer, not surprisingly, was by practicing it. Over and over and over again. 

Like so many do, this player saw a goal scored on social media and immediately tried it. Then again at practice, and then again at home, in the basement and in the driveway. Everywhere and anytime this player had a stick and a puck, ball or anything else, he was practicing the same move.

Repetition and muscle memory are key to athletic success and within a relatively short period of time the player became successful with this move. After several more hours of practice he became great. Soon, he would ready to try it in a game!

There is an old saying in sports and life that “The great ones make it look easy” and when it comes to hockey skills this is definitely true. However, as we have talked about in past articles, the great ones only become great after spending hundreds or even thousands of hours honing their craft. 

We encourage you to become great! Start by identifying an area of your game that needs improvement and dedicating yourself to working on it until it becomes natural. Find a great deke or dangle on the internet and work on it until you become great!

Thank you for reading. We invite you to train with us this summer at one of our hockey camps located in 11 states. For dates, locations and to register, click here.

03

February

What’s Your Forecast This Season?

Posted by Greg Carter

As forecasted, we got walloped by a Nor’easter this week. Were you ready? What is your forecast for your hockey season? Are you ready?

Winter is finally upon us, as is the hockey season! As both came blowing in it’s a great reminder about the importance of being prepared. Just as you need that shovel or snow blower ready to clear the driveway and ten inches of snow, so too do you need to be prepared as you head to practice or your next game.

In our last article we talked about “The Early Bird Gets The Worm”. We’ve also covered The Six P’s: Proper, Prior, Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.  The huge snowfall this week is just another great reminder that when you get dumped on, you better be prepared to dig yourself out.

Heading into the season there was plenty of time to get ready and be prepared to hit the ice. So now that we are closing in on a regular routine again, is it all paying off?

The best hockey players are prepared. The best hockey players used the time away from the rink to shoot pucks, train and be ready when the buzzer sounds and the whistle blows. Those are the players making the plays and scoring goals. 

We hope you don’t get caught in the snowstorm this week, or in the flurry of a start of this season. Keep planning, prepping and doing all the little things because it’s all those little things that add up to really big things!

Thanks for reading! Our entire staff wishes you all the best this season. We also invite you to train with us this summer at one of our summer hockey schools located in 11 states. Registration is now open and space is already filling fast!  

20

January

The Early Bird Gets The Worm

Posted by Greg Carter

Coaches like the players who show up early to games. However, coaches love players that show up early to practice. Like in life, the early bird gets the worm, and in hockey, they also get the win!

We’ve all seen the stories of how the best players are typically the first to the arena, the first on the ice and also the last to leave. Why is this the case? Because preparation is a huge part of success.

Preparation can be defined as the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration. In sports this is huge. On the flip side of this, we also know the players that are seemingly always in a rush on their way into the rink, frantically putting on their gear, hastily tying their skates only to make it onto the ice just as the practice or game is starting.

Performance is directly correlated to preparation. It’s no secret that the player with the most accurate shot also owns the shooting tarp with most puck marks.  The player with the best stride is also the one who has worked hardest on power skating.

As the 2021 season starts to play out, are you prepared for the season ahead? Are you evaluating your performance and ready to improve for next season? If you are, then we’ve got a great opportunity!

Our summer of 2021 hockey camp Early Bird Special is designed for those players who want to get a jump start on their development over the summer! 

Through the end of January our camps have special pricing for all dates and locations. We want to reward those who are ‘up and at it’ and want to take their game to the next level.  The Early Birds! Check out our Summer 2021 Hockey School page for all of the details! 

Thanks for reading and best wishes for a successful season! 

06

January

The Best Hockey of the Year!

Posted by Greg Carter

Each year the top talent in the world comes together for the World Junior Championship. This year’s tournament was inspiring to watch as we restart our own seasons! Hopefully youth hockey players tuned in for these 5 important lessons! 

You Gotta Want It

In the Gold Medal game the favored team from Canada came out fast. It would have been easy for the US to be intimidated (more on that in a minute). However, the US survived the first ten minutes and then things changed.  The US started to dominante the zone, managing the puck and got a goal. No intimidation whatsoever. They continued to grind it out in a tight first period and put Canada behind for the first time in the entire tournament. In fact the goal was the first five-on-five goal Canada had given up in the entire tournament, against the top talent in the world nonetheless! Plain and simple, the US wanted this game! 

Get To The Net 

With less than a minute gone in the second period the US got a huge goal. It’s always big to get a goal in the first or final two minutes of a period, and this goal was all tenacity. Alex Turcotte got to the front of the net and tipped in a great shot from the point. Too often players get ‘around’ the net but they aren’t ‘at’ the net. In this case the player was perfectly positioned to tip a shot from the point because he was at the net. 

Confidence

Canada was the favored team heading into the game and with the two goal ‘toughest lead in hockey’ it would have been easy for the US team to question it against such a formidable opponent. The US didn’t waver and played with confidence from the forward to the defence and especially between the pipes. They were confident in their play and it showed!

Carry the Momentum

Much like confidence, momentum is huge in hockey, and once you have it, it’s important to ride the wave. Canada had many good spurts of play but when the pendulum swung back to the US they rode the momentum and looked like the better team for much of the game. When you have the momentum, work even harder and keep it! 

Play All 60 Minutes

I like to tell the story about a round of golf. A friend started out really well, was up by several strokes and clearly started to take things for granted, lost focus and over the last few holes coughed it up and ultimately lost the match by several strokes. There are 18 holes in golf and they all count the same. There are 60 minutes in hockey and they all count the same. The US played the third period with the poise and confidence that this game was theirs and when the final buzzer sounded it was!

Play each second of each shift, each minute of every period and all 60 minutes. If you do, good things will happen, as it did for the US celebrating their 2-0 shutout victory over Canada on their home soil!

Thanks for reading at good luck resuming play and your season. We are excited for our summer hockey schools and invite you to train with us this summer. Our early bird special runs in January! For dates, times and locations click here!

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