player tips

29

October

Winning Is A Habit

Posted by Greg Carter

As the NHL likes to say “Hockey is the greatest sport on Earth!” Like you, we couldn’t agree more and one of the greatest moments is celebrating a big win after the game! I read the following quote about winning recently from the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi:

Winning is a Habit.
Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. – Vince Lombardi

I’ve been lucky to have played on some great hockey teams and fortunate to coach several as well. It’s really special when winning truly becomes a habit, and you can start to understand how that occurs when you dissect Lombardi’s quote:

Watch Your Thoughts, They Become Your Beliefs
When you think you can win the race to the puck you are one step closer to actually winning! When you think you can outwork the other team you should. When your thoughts tell you that you actually can, you absolutely start to believe it, and for youth hockey players wanting to achieve the top level, that is the beginning of something special!

Watch Your Beliefs, They Become Your Words
Have you ever listened to the best hockey players talk in news conferences? They use language of champions, because they believe that they will win every night they hit the ice. And when you believe and don’t second guess, you begin to talk like a champion!

Watch Your Words, They Become Your Actions
When you talk like a champion and ‘walk the talk’ you have arrived at a great moment. Conversely, if your words are not those of a champion and instead detrimental to the chemistry of the team, your play will undoubtedly be impacted negatively.
Positive words lead to positive actions!

Watch Your Actions, They Become Your Habits
Habits are formed through repetition of behavior. Hockey players who make the right decisions – and take the right action – time and time again become great hockey players with habits that every hockey coach will love. Develop great habits and as a youth hockey player, you are definitely going places!

Watch Your Habits, They Become Your Character.
Hockey coaches and scouts can see talent, but what they really want to understand is the character of a hockey player. The fine line between talent from one player to another is often defined in the character of the player and there is no doubt that great character comes from great habits!

This season we hope that your focus on making winning a habit!

Thanks for reading and as we head into November and the front end of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon! Be sure to check out our Thanksgiving & Holiday Clinics as well as our locations for our 2020 Summer Hockey Schools!

 

 

09

July

An Inspiring Summer of Hockey

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter Hockey Camp

The summer of 2019 is very special for Greg Carter Hockey Camp as we celebrate our 25th year of training hockey players. In the quarter century that we have been working on improving the skills of hockey players we have seen some very inspiring moments at our camps where as we like to say, players have that ‘lightbulb moment’, things click and they shift into the next gear.

Here are a few great quotes related to some player highlights that we have experienced during this inspiring summer of hockey:

“I’m [recruiting] gym rats who want to get better because so many kids are peaking and think they’ve already arrived.”

This quote from a coach perfectly articulates why we see so many motivated hockey players at our camp each summer. As players mature, they start to recognize which players are motivated and also those players who are not. We’ve written articles in the past about ‘going from the third line to the first line’ and when it comes to getting better and improving skills, sometimes it simply comes down to who wants it more! We are seeing a lot of players at our camp this summer who are really working hard and definitely ‘want it’!

“Good things take time, as they should. We shouldn’t expect good things to happen overnight.”

Player development is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Mastering the skills necessary to become a great hockey players takes dedication, which means time, commitment and self-discipline. Hockey players will not see results overnight, but instead over a period of time as success in practice translates to incremental improvements in performance.

“Little things make the big things happen.”

This is another player characteristic that we love to talk about at our summer hockey school and mastering fundamental hockey skills allows players to do the little things that make the big things happen! Watching the women’s soccer team advance through the preliminary rounds and ultimately win the World Cup was phenomenal and full of these little moments that led to the big moments. So many goals were scored because of a crafty little deke, a sprint beating the opponent to the ball or an incredible ball skill that allowed the player to control the ball and make a play. Like these awesome soccer players, great hockey players have mastered all of the ‘little’ skills.

We hope that you are enjoying your summer with family and friends and that you have been inspired to carve out some time to improve your game! Good luck with your training and we hope to see you at the rink soon!

Click here for a list of our July and August camps!

Summer Youth 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

Summer Youth 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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