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15

October

What’s The Story Behind The Stats?

Posted by Greg Carter
Hockey Puck NHL Player

This season the NHL is debuting a puck and player tracking system that includes sensors in the puck and devices embedded in uniforms. This all sounds great for the pros, but when it comes to youth hockey, what’s the story behind the stats?

Data and analytics are a part of everyday life as it seems virtually every move we make can be tracked on the internet and across our devices. Sports have changed dramatically because of data and analytics to the point that a Major League Baseball game can have a batter at the plate hitting against an infield with not a single player to the left side of second base.

Leveraging technology to better understand trends of players and teams has simply become the norm and part of the game. But should what works at the professional level also be utilized for youth sports teams and players?

The NHL plans to have their system ready by the 2020 Stanley Cup where millions of data points will be collected during every game. Some of the more notable stats include:

  • Player speed
  • Time in offensive vs. defensive zone
  • Distance between players
  • Total distance a player skates
  • Time of possession
  • Puck trail
  • Length of shift

During the 2019 NHL All Star game some initial testing was done and it was found that players skated over three miles during a game and a couple of players skated over 20 mph! Time of possession is an interesting stat because like football, it is a great indicator of which team is in control. Distance between players is another interesting stat that could aid in gap control for defensemen.

While this technology is expensive and likely not something that is going to creep into the youth game anytime soon, it does beg the question: What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for youth hockey?

At Greg Carter Hockey School we think that the data for youth hockey players that determine a successful season should include:

  • Did I have fun this season?
  • Did I improve my skills this season?
  • Did I show up with a good attitude and work hard at every practice?
  • Was I intent on learning from my coaches and teammates?
  • Was I a good teammate?
  • Am I going to play hockey again next season?

If the answer to each of these questions is yes, then the probability of success is extremely high! And that is a statistic that nobody can debate.

Thanks for reading and we hope you are off to a great start this season. Greg Carter Hockey School is headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts and we are starting our 26th year of Summer Hockey Schools. Click the following links for more information about our Sunday Night Skills Sessions, our Thanksgiving Clinic or our 2020 Summer Hockey Schools!

 

 

Greg Carter Hockey Camp

The final rounds of the NHL Playoffs have featured some incredible hockey, and a great reminder that who scores is not as important as that you do score.

We see many skilled and talented players at our hockey camps each summer. We love to work on fundamental skills including skating, shooting and stickhandling, as well as agility, edge work, control and technique, which are all part of “The Carter Method” of reaching your full potential as a hockey player.

As we train and help develop the skill of hockey players we like to see the results in scrimmages and games during camp. And what we often see is that some players have very good skill sets, but they lack hockey sense and “hockey IQ” and don’t always make the best hockey decisions.

Common teaching moments include things like forcing a pass rather than taking advantage of open ice and skating with the puck. In the offensive zone players often take bad angle or low percentage shots trying to score, rather than passing the puck to a wide open wing for what could be an easy tap in goal, and an assist.

While we have covered the benefits of watching NHL games to help improve your own game, as well as talking about “me versus we players“, the importance is accentuated when you get down to the final eight or four teams competing for the Stanley Cup.

At this level and at this time of year, it’s clear that individual accomplishments are secondary to the team goal. The team comes first and players are always going to use the best option to make the best hockey play. When the game is on the line, and it’s win or go home, what matters most is that you do score, not who scores.

As you train and develop your hockey skills this summer, continue to improve your hockey IQ and think about always making the best hockey decision, regardless of whether or not your stats will benefit. A group of great teammates will always go further than a group of individuals!

Have a great summer and we look forward to seeing you at hockey camp!

16

November

Greg Carter Hockey Camp

One of my former coaches used to say that if you stay in the moment, good things can happen. I’ve always believed and preached this coaching games when my team is both leading as well as behind, but especially when we are behind by several goals. I was reminded of this former coach after watching an absolutely incredible finish to a recent high school football that made national news.

The game was between two teams from Minnesota. With one minute left in this quarterfinal state tournament game, Maple Grove High School was down by 19 points.

Game over, right?

As fans were heading for the exits, Maple Grove scored a touchdown to make it 27-16 with 59 seconds left in the game. Failed onside kick, and game over, right?

Maple Grove recovered the onside kick and had the ball at mid-field. Ok, interesting, but they still need to score a touchdown, and even if they do, they are still down by five points, and will be kicking off with little or not time remaining. A quick pass led to another touchdown, and suddenly the score was 27-22 with 46 seconds left.

Ok, at this point, it’s been a great story, but there’s no way a football team can successfully execute another onside kick, right? And even if they miraculously did, they would still need another touchdown.

Incredibly, this team recovered another onside kick, and once again had the ball around mid-field. A few pass plays got them down near the goal line, and the next play they ran in their third touchdown in a minute. Pandemonium ensued, and I’m sure sometime later that night the reality of what they had accomplished set in.

In our last blog we talked talked about the awesome baseball we saw during the World Series this year, and about the importance of believing in your own game. We asked the question about when the game is on the line, do you believe and dig down, and think of all of your time, energy and training, and confidently know that you can win.

This football game brought up another important aspect of this, which is not just believing that you have the talent to win, but also and just as importantly, staying in the moment and doing your job.

It would have been very easy for the kicker of this high school football team, down by two touchdowns and thinking the game is over, to not concentrate on the first onside kick. Instead, he executed it flawlessly, as if that kick was going to win the game. He stayed in the moment!

It would have been equally easy for the quarterback to then take the field, still knowing a comeback was nearly impossible, and to lose focus on the plays and passes.

These players stayed in the moment, and even after converting one successful onside kick into a touchdown, did it again, this time to finish a comeback like football fans had never witnessed, and may very well never see again!

Whether you are on the winning side of a game, or the losing side, this wild finish is a great reminder to never lose focus, and regardless of the score, to play hard and do your job until the final second ticks off the clock.

Great coaches leave lasting impressions, and that old coach of mine always taught me to stay in the moment, and I’ve got a feeling both of the teams that participated in this wild game will never forget that same lesson!

We hope you are off to a great start to your season. All of our 2018 summer school dates and locations will be finalized soon. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with family and friends and remember, if you stay in the moment, good things can happen!

13

June

Are You A Big Time Player?

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter Hockey School

Big game players combine their talent and drive to be game changers.

The Stanley Cup Finals is a great time of year. As Wayne Gretzky summed it up in a recent interview “You know that you are in a special place when you look at the out of town scoreboard and there are no games being played.”

Other than the one you are in of course, which at this time of year means only one thing, the Stanley Cup!

There is no bigger stage in hockey than the Stanley Cup, when everything is on the line during an awesome seven game series. It’s the culmination of the season and the playoffs, and the game is being played at an entirely different level. The excitement and adrenaline is at its peak.

So what are some of the key factors in managing all of the stress, excitement and emotions and stepping up and being a big time player in a big time situation?  Here are some common traits of big time players that I’ve seen over the years.

•    As the games and the stakes rise, so too does the play of big game players.  Big game players have the innate ability to keep bringing the energy and leadership that it takes to get the job done. In clutch situations these are the players that are ready and prepared to make it happen. And often times do make it happen.

•    Big game players are those that WANT to be in the ice in overtime and in key situations. They want the puck on their stick, they want to be out there playing great defense to create an offensive opportunity. Big time players have the talent, confidence and determination to make it happen. They are only thinking one thing, not IF we are going to win, but HOW we are going to win. And they want to be out there for every shift to make it happen.

•    As the old cliché goes, “Hard work only comes before success in the dictionary.” Big game players know this, and understand that in order to be successful in that one defining moment, they have to train hard to get there. They shoot pucks. They lift weights. They practice and train with a purpose and with one goal in mind: converting the opportunity that they get to win the big prize. They know that they may only get one chance, and in that moment they know it’s their time to shine.

All players dream of being in the championship games at all levels. And as you watch the Stanley Cup and realize what it means to the best hockey players in the world to be playing for the top prize, you quickly understand that it takes a special player to rise to the occasion and be a big game player.

We hope the Stanley Cup Finals inspired you to train hard this summer, and that you are successful in your very own big games!

19

April

April Is The Season of Champions

Posted by Greg Carter

April is one of the great hockey months. In the NHL we have the push to the playoffs, which means a few things: the intensity ratchets up several notches, the speed of the game shifts up a gear or two and of course the facial hair is grown out. During April we also have college hockey’s Frozen Four. This is another great tournament as unpaid players are putting it all on the line not for a huge paycheck, but rather for the simple right to win a championship.

You can’t help but watch the incredible hockey this time of year and wonder, ‘what does it really take to get to that level of play’ . . . not just playing at the highest level, but to advance through the regular season and the playoffs and ultimately hit the ice and play on the biggest stage, under the brightest lights for the right to hoist the biggest trophy.

For most of players, and you’ll hear this in post-game interviews, the ‘what it really takes’ is determination. Not just team determination, but individual determination.  And that determination didn’t just start at the end of the regular season or the weeks leading into the playoffs as the team fought to make the post season. For the most successful players, that determination started a long time ago in a basement, garage, backyard rink or local park.

Determination goes hand and hand with hard work. The great Vince Lombardi once said “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Every hockey player wants to win, wants to make the playoffs, wants to play for the championship and wants to hoist the trophy. The reality is that the players who do end up in these games are the ones who have realized at a young age what it really takes to get there. First and foremost it requires a love of the game. After that, it takes commitment, determination and hard work.

The best players that I’ve played with have all possessed these traits. They were the guys at the rink first and off the ice last. They loved shooting pucks. They loved practicing and trying to get better every day. And I mean every day. They loved being at the rink, and when they weren’t they were making mom and dad upset by staying at the local rink two hours too long. They were quintessential rink rats, who also had skill, determination and weren’t afraid of hard work.

So when you see players on TV hoisting a trophy, some doing so in tears, it’s important to understand that the journey for these players didn’t start at the beginning of the season. It started at the beginning of their recognition that with determination and hard work, there can be no limits to your success.

When does your journey begin?

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