player tips

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

29

October

Greg Carter's Hockey Camp

Here’s how I’m going to beat you. I’m going to outwork you. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. – Pat Summitt

I saw this quote recently and it made me stop and think. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t work hard, you aren’t going to be successful. Who is Pat Summitt you might ask?  Summitt was the head coach of the Tennessee women’s basketball team and at the time of her retirement had 1,098 wins, which was the most in college basketball history. As a player she won a sliver medal at the 1976 Olympics and later coached the US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team to a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. She knew a think or two about winning.

Good coaches are good coaches regardless of sport, and it’s interesting as a hockey coach to learn from others.  And the thing about Summitt’s quote about winning, especially winning consistently, in the big games and in the playoffs is this: you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t work hard, someone else, regardless of talent level is going to want it more, work harder and win the game. Will over skill is much more than a simple motivator or cliche.

At our summer hockey schools we focus heavily on skill. Specifically, the CARTER Method focuses on Control, Agility, Reflex, Technique, Edge and Retention. We challenge players to reach their full potential in each of these key areas and also teach of the fundamentals of skating, stickhandling, and shooting, and we teach in a way that builds confidence and leads to continuous improvement.

While we strive to instill not only these fundamental skills, we also stress the importance of hard word. A great quote from the best of all time is;

The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say
that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.
-Wayne Gretzky

The Great One finished his career with a 1.921 points per game average. Think of that, nearly two points per game in the NHL and what he wants to be remembered for is that he worked hard every day and ‘never dog it.’

Players who want to be successful in hockey need to continually work on skill development, but must also ask themselves if they ‘dog it’. One of the greatest and most fun part of being a coach is being a part of a team that not only has a ton of talent, but also three lines of players who all want to be at the rink and all want to work hard every practice, every game, every period and every shift.

This season have fun, become a better hockey player and make it the season that you focus on hard work. Good luck, thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the rink very soon!

03

October

Summer Hockey Camp’s Best Reward 

Posted by Greg Carter
Greg Carter's Hockey School

As we hit the ice full speed for the season, I was recently reminded of one of the best rewards from our summer hockey camp, and it’s not at all what I would have imagined, or you might think!

Having played hockey for nearly my entire life – youth, collegiately and in the ECHL – and more recently running our hockey camp for the past two decades, I have met virtually every ‘category’ of player. There are the players who have all of the talent in the world, but never figure out how to dedicate themselves and put it to good use, resulting in shortened careers. There are the players who have all the will in the world, but at a point in time run out of the skill needed to make it to the next level. And of course a million other ‘categories’ of players including those who just want to have fun, meet friends and enjoy the camaraderie and teamwork.

But every so often you meet a player who is as good of a person off of the ice as they are a hockey player on the ice. Nothing is more refreshing than a player who can go out and score a hat trick, lead the team in points all season and is at the same time respectful to coaches and officials, a great student and maybe even volunteering to help others in the community. What is even more refreshing, and rewarding, is when as a coach and instructor, you have had the opportunity to watch this player grow throughout their career knowing you have had a hand in helping shape such a well-rounded individual, both on and off of the ice.

This past summer I had the pleasure of welcoming back a couple of players who grew up participating in our programs and our summer hockey camps. Both will be playing Division I hockey this year for a storied program that ‘wins’ as much in the classroom as they do on the ice. One will be a captain as an underclassman after leading his team in goals last year. These two players skated with our youth players and it turned out to be one of the most memorable and rewarding weeks of the summer.

When they arrived everyone knew who they were and that they were great hockey players. They didn’t have to say please and thank you to everyone they met, but they did. They didn’t have to interact, smile, laugh and try to help every player on the ice, but they did. They didn’t have to pull a struggling skater aside for extra edge work, but they did. They didn’t have to tell stories to every kid that asked about playing college hockey, but they did, because not too long ago it was them looking up to someone, asking those same questions!

Character is critical in hockey, and I was reminded of this watching these two at camp this past summer. We’ve said in past articles that “talent gets you noticed, but character gets recruited.” It was extremely rewarding – and inspiring – as I watched these two at camp to know that yes, they became great hockey players, but even more importantly, they became incredible young adults.

As you go through this season and strive to win every puck battle, every shift, every period and every game, keep in mind that the very best players, especially in the game of hockey, are also great off of the ice. Respect your coaches, teammates, officials, parents and teaches, and most of all, respect the great game of hockey. I can tell you that after spending more than four decades in hockey that if you do this, you will be remembered, and rewarded, for the rest of your life!

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the rink soon!

 

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