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A Parent’s Guide To Start Playing Hockey

With youth sports being so specialized these days, it can be challenging to know when your child can begin playing hockey and how to get started. Start too early, and they could become discouraged, yet start too late, and it can seem like they could fall behind. Every child is different, and hopefully, this article can help you identify when yours is ready to step on the ice.

As a hockey parent looking to get your child into hockey, we’re sharing the best tips to help get you started in the game, and what you can expect when your child starts playing.

 

When To Start Playing Hockey

The earliest age kids can begin playing organized hockey is five years old. For families that want players to learn the skills without being on a team, some programs are a starting point available.

 

How To Start

The best way to start is by getting on the ice and going for it! Depending on your level of experience, players can start learning how to skate, take private lessons, or join a team. 

Hockey Tots program is the easiest way to introduce your 2-6-year-old child to the great sport of ice hockey in a safe, controlled environment taught by our professionals! 

This 6-week program is a great way to enhance their balance, hand-eye coordination, and overall athletic motor skills while on the ice. Kids start their first three weeks on sneakers and are transitioned to skates for their last three weeks.

See the progress one player made over six weeks

Learn To Skate

The Learn to Skate program helps young skaters to become more confident in their skates before introducing a hockey stick and puck to the lessons. Open to skater’s ages 6-14 years old. 

When you join Hockey Hut’s learn to skate class, you’re learning from our professional ice skating instructors, who create a great experience for beginners. All skaters are grouped according to skill level, and they learn bucket-pushing, swivels, inside & outside edges, stopping & starting, and much more!

Learn To Play

The Learn to Play program focuses on skating skills but also teaches the basic skills of stickhandling, shooting, and passing. Learn to play will help prepare your player for a 6U/8U season-long program. 

After spending six weeks in Learn To Skate or Hockey Tots, players will start their true journey into hockey. Skating is the emphasis, but stick skills, pucks, and small games are all used to create a positive learning environment.

youth hockey in new york

Semi-private lessons will help get you started with the basics and help with good habits. 

 

What Can I Expect From Ice Hockey?

For children, not only is playing hockey fun and the perfect social activity, it will provide them with life-long skills, confidence, teamwork, communication, and decision-making abilities.

When you play hockey, you can expect strong friendships. It’s a sport known for tight team bonds. Players will also develop patience and a sense of responsibility – learning to play is a complex skill that needs coaching and training. Determination, commitment, and practice are the keys to success. 

One parent said, “We have seen a lot of improvement in our son’s skills and feel the overall experience is more than just about hockey; it’s about being a good listener, respectful, a hard worker, focused, and of course having fun! We take character development in our child more seriously than any sport skill training and having a great coach that teaches them to be a great person is priceless.”

Congratulations on starting this sport, you are about to begin playing the most exciting sport on earth! This will be a rewarding path for you and your family! 


Training Warm Up for Hockey Players

Warming up before any physical activity helps with conditioning the muscles and ligaments and putting the central nervous system into exercise mode.

Since skating and stickhandling places stress on the muscles, insufficient pre-exercise conditioning can make a player vulnerable to injury and reduce his/her effectiveness during a practice session or game. For this reason, professional players spend considerable time warming up on and off the ice before every practice or game.

Sadly, efficient warmups in youth hockey are not always the standard. Off-ice warm-ups are typically never utilized properly. 

Here’s a short list of excuses: late arrivals, suiting up your child in a 10×10 locker room together with the other 20 families, packed lobbies, and late practice starts.  This will not help to form good habits, although in most cases, the real reason for skipping a warm-up is in the lack of prioritization by the majority of parents. Ironically, most of these parents will make sure to warm up properly before their own workouts, otherwise “bad things will happen, and working days will be missed”. 

In the section below we will discuss several ideas of how to facilitate warmups for children of different ages, and we will review examples of routines.

For the off-ice warm-ups, possible answers to the “where?” question can be: 

  • At home, if your commute to the rink isn’t long
  • Availability to find open space at the rink – empty hallways, unused fitness studios, passthrough under the bleachers
  • Parking lot, if it’s safe

Key points for the On-ice warm-ups: 

  • Try to get your child on the ice as early as possible.  Encourage him to do the warm-up drills, so they ease into their skating, avoiding the potential to pull a muscle.
  • Stickhandling, with or without a puck.
  • Your coach should start the session with pre-practice games for younger kids and warm up drills for the older kids.

Young Children:

Younger kids who are just learning to skate will not put a lot of training stress on their bodies. Putting the gear on and off and just gliding around the ice is challenging enough for them, so all physical activities are conducted as games or friendly competitions, otherwise, a child might lose interest. Off-ice warm-ups will help to form the right habits before practice, and the on-ice drills will facilitate structure and discipline prior to more complicated drills. 

Example warm-up routine, ages 3-4

Off-Ice, 5 min

  • Play a game that will include sitting/standing, jumping/pushing against the wall, swinging arms/legs and bending forward

On-ice, 10 min

  • 2 min laps around the rink
  • 2 min slalom between the tires
  • 2 min inside edge pushes, alternate feet
  • 2 min stickhandling, roll the wrists, no pucks
  • 2 min tag game

 

Older kids

The game element is less essential here since the older kids are more self-motivated. The warm-up routine should include exercises targeting the full body or large muscle groups. The main difference between routines for different age groups is in the complexity of movement patterns and drill durations. 

 

Example warm-up routine, ages 5-9

Off-Ice without hockey gear, moderate pace, 5-10 min:

Exercise Target Muscles/Ligaments
20 jumping jacks Full body 
10 wall squats Glutes, quads
10 toe stands Calves, feet
10 forward bends Back
10 arm rotations– 5 forward and 5 backward for each arm Shoulders
10 back extensions (superman) Lower back
15 knee or wall push-ups Upper body
10 forward-backward leg swings for every leg Lower body

 

On-Ice, 10 min:

Exercise Target Muscles/Ligaments
2 min rink laps, moderate speed Full body 
1 min stick side to side bends Upper body
1 min stick forward bends Upper body
2 min inside-outside edge transitions (hourglass) Ankles
10 static (or dynamic during gliding) squats Lower body
2 min stickhandling  Wrists
1 min rink laps, high speed Full body

 

Example warm-up routine, ages 9 +

Exercise Target Muscles/Ligaments
2 min jog (dynamic or static) Full body 
1 min high knees Core
1 min butt kicks Hamstrings
20 squats Lower body
10 forward bends Back
30 sec mountain climbers Core
10 back extensions – “cobra” Lower back
20 Pushups (knee pushups for smaller kids) Upper body
10 forward-backward leg swings for every leg Lower body
10 90-deg head rotations, in both directions Neck

 

On-Ice, 12 min:

Exercise Target Muscles/Ligaments
2 min rink laps with stick handling, moderate speed Full body, wrists
1 min stick side to side bends Upper body
1 min stick forward bends Upper body
2 min inside-outside edge transitions (hourglass) Lower body, ankles
2 min inside edge slalom Lower body, ankles
2 min outside edge slalom  Lower body, ankles
1 min forward crossover, in both directions, moderate speed Lower body
1 min rink laps, high speed Lower body

Recap: 

Warmups help to establish the correct training habits for smaller kids, and essential for older kids for optimal performance and injury prevention. For small kids, it’s more about keeping them active before the training session. For older kids, dedicating 15-20 min for the structured warm up prior to the main exercise block will improve performance and have long-term health benefits.


hockey private lessons

How to Maximize Your Lesson

How to Maximize Your Lesson

Private lessons are the perfect opportunity to work one-on-one to reach your desired goals. However, if you genuinely want to get the most out of your private lesson, it’s up to you to maximize your time on the ice. If you’re looking to maximize your lessons, build your confidence, and elevate your game, then follow these steps during your private lessons are the best way to reach that goal.

Come Prepared 

When you walk into your lesson, know what you want to work on, or need to improve on. If your coach asks you what you need to work on, probably the last thing he or she wants to hear in response is, “everything.” And this response is not consistent with the idea of owning your training anyway. Be proactive by bringing a list of some skills or areas you’d like to focus on.

Positive Attitude

You’ve made a special effort to arrange a time with your coach and benefit from their expertise. Be happy about it! Use this time for collaboration, enthusiasm, respect, and engagement. Your coach might ask you to try new things – posture, drills, techniques. If your coach offers a suggestion, be open to it! Some things might work, and some might not, but having a positive attitude and a willingness to try keeps you open to learning and developing as a player.

Listen to Your Coach

It can be hard to let go of control or think you know best when you get on the ice for a private lesson. During your lesson, be intentional about listening to your coach and trust that there’s a reason why they are asking you to run those drills, practice your shot, or repeat a specific technique several times. Put all of your energy into executing the skills to the best of your ability, and let your instructor do the rest. You came to them for a private lesson for a reason!

Bring a Friend

A great way to get the most out of what you learn in your lessons is to have someone else in the lesson with you (not just your coach!). When you have a friend or teammate join your lesson, your coach can show techniques on the other person so you can see the details, and then you can do the same so the coach can watch and make corrections. You can work together to learn and refine your skills during the lesson, and afterward as well.

Take Notes

Whether you still use a pen and paper or your “notebook” is your phone, bring something where you can jot notes. Some instructors even allow you to film techniques during your lesson. However you take notes, take them so you can reference them later. If you don’t, you’re bound to forget a lot of the material by the time you find time to practice later on. It’s also helpful to go back to these notes weeks and months and even years from now when you want to brush up on a particular topic.

Ask For More

You’ve taken the time to train with a coach, but you want to continue working and developing your skills after the lesson ends. Whether it’s new skills to review, conditioning recommendations, or additional practice suggestions, ask your coach for clarity. Knowing what your next focus is will help you reach your goals, one step at a time.

 

You’ve got ways to maximize your private lesson, but you might be wondering, Is it worth it? We want to help you understand the value of your private lesson experience. Download your free guide below!

Are Private Lessons Worth It?

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hockey private lessons

Best Questions to Ask During Private Lessons

Best Questions to Ask During Private Lessons

One of the best reasons to have a private lesson is having someone to motivate you and help you achieve your desired goals. However, if you genuinely want to get the most out of your private lesson, it’s up to you to come prepared, work hard, and ask the right questions. Maximize your lesson and your development by asking these questions.

Can You Help Me? 

This lesson is about you – if there’s something you don’t understand, ask for help, a second explanation, or a demonstration. You might feel reluctant to ask for help, but not asking limits your development. Be bold so you can 

Where Can I Improve?

If you’re not sure what skills you need to work on, ask for your coach’s analysis. They’ve watched you work on your skills and can offer you insight on how to develop as a player. Whether it’s skating speed, shot accuracy, or passing, your coach knows what can help you improve as a player, what drills can get you there.

Why? 

When you do something without understanding “why” the slightest change can leave you feeling unsure about what to do. When the “why” is clear, you can make appropriate adjustments to any changes. Then, you can take the same principles of the “why” and apply it to any other situation to make a better decision.

Can We Review? 

At the end of the lesson, ask the coach to review all the skills and drills you covered briefly. Having your coach take five minutes at the end of the lesson to review everything will give you one last chance to jot notes and see your lesson in a broader context.

What’s Next? 

You’ve taken the time to train with a coach, but you want to continue working and developing your skills on your own. Whether it’s homework, skills to review, or additional practice suggestions, leave your lesson with clarity on your next steps. Knowing what your next action is will help you reach your goals, one step at a time. 

You’ve got the questions to ask during a private lesson, but you might be wondering, Is it worth it? We want to help you understand and maximize your experience. Download your free guide below!

Are Private Lessons Worth It?

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Hockey Gear Checklist

Have you ever had to miss a game because your child’s hockey bag was not completely packed?! We’ve created a simple and effective solution that will help you and your children to never miss games or practices because of forgotten hockey gear.
Here is our Hockey Gear Checklist! You can print, laminate, and reuse and the best part is you can post in on your wall where you air out the hockey gear and have your kids become the process owners!
Have your player walk through the list so that they know what needs to be packed. Start with your bag empty and pack it according to our checklist starting with your hockey pants and ending with your hockey stick!

 

DOWNLOAD

Make sure to print out this free printable for every hockey player and use it to be ready for every ice hockey situation! Keep your checklist handy and enjoy gliding through the season knowing your gear is organized.


Everything You Need to Know About Hockey Skates

Skating is what makes ice hockey so dynamic and exciting. That is the reason we have abandoned field hockey (just kidding).

Skates are important, but how does a person choose the right ones? Here, we consolidated all the essential information to get you started:

1. What Brand Should I Buy?

The largest share of hockey products are manufactured today by the Canadian companies-CCM and Bauer. Swiss manufacturer Graf is the third most popular skate maker, especially valued by the goaltenders. There are additional smaller companies and custom skate makers that we’re not covering here.

Products are separated by skate fit, stiffness and additional features: i.e removable blades, advanced liners, lace locking system, etc…

There are negligible differences in performance between similar products from different manufacturers, so the main problem to solve is finding a pair within the desired fit-stiffness-budget range.

Researching professional player’s gear is a common mistake and will not help you to make the right choice – chances are, your child’s feet are different from Crosby’s or Bergeron’s, his/her skating regiment is not nearly as demanding, and you are not sponsored by CCM or Bauer.

2. Skating Boots

Fit is the hands-down most important part of choosing skates. After that is stiffness. Everything else is optional or adjustable.

Length: skates are typically 1.5-2 sizes down from your regular shoe size. Ideally, when sitting down on a bench, there should be just enough room in an unlaced boot, so there is no toe-to-shoe contact, while the ankles are securely in place.

Width: this is just like with any other shoes – regular and wide sizes available. The skating boots won’t “break in” as much, especially for the young kids, so when in doubt, opt for the wider boot.

There are fans, advocates and haters of certain brands and models, however, these are all quality skates and any pair will work great as long as it fits right.

Most of the pro-shops will carry the 3D foot scanners, that will characterize your feet and point you towards the compatible products.

In the shop, skates should feel snug, but not painful. Some room for the feet to grow is fine but going 1.5-2 sizes up for the skate “to be good next season” will make your kid miserable and jeopardize his/her learning. It is important to remember that new skates will not feel comfortable – they are not sneakers. If your child is new to hockey, then he/she won’t have any idea how the skates should feel like, therefore if you’re reasonably sure you’ve got the right skate in hand, only address signs of extreme discomfort or pain – getting used to the skates will take time.

When buying your first pair, I recommend acquiring a second opinion about the fit from a trusted, knowledgeable person (a friend that plays, hockey coach, pro-shop team member).

Stiffness: Beginner skates are softer, advanced skates get progressively stiffer. Also, the softer the boot, the more comfortable it is – important mostly for the beginners. Try to bring together the 2 top lace eyelets with your index finger and a thumb: on a stiff boot, you’ll only be able to move your fingers for a few tenths of an inch.

Beginner skaters require only a fraction of support and stiffness compared to advanced and expert skaters, so putting a beginner into a pair of high-end skates will just make him/her miserable with the immobilized ankles, without contributing to his/her learning. Stiffer skates will also be more expensive due to the use of advanced materials.

Softer skating boots will give enough support to young kids. When kids start skating more aggressively stiffness can be reconsidered.

Skater’s weight considerations – heavy players will require stiffer skates since they need more support regardless of their skating abilities.

Common Mistake of Beginner Parents: When they see their child’s feet over-pronating (collapsing inwards) they tend to conclude that there is a need for a stiffer pair or try to put hockey tape to “stabilize” the ankles.

If the skates are properly tied, this over-pronation has more to do with the skate fit, your kid’s conditioning, and with the fact that it takes time to get used to standing upright on a pair of thin blades.

Bottom line – go as stiff as needed, but no more than that. Young beginners will be fine with medium to soft boots.

Everything Else:

Heat-moldable boots are recommended and will help with the fine fit adjustment, elimination of “hot spots”, and will quicken the break-in period. Skates can be “re-baked”, which is most important when buying a used pair.

However, if the skates are not fundamentally fitting the feet, heat mold won’t fix it. Graf skates, in exception, only rely on the heat mold, making their fit window smaller, compared to the CCM and Bauer.

Footbeds: Only the top-of-the-line boots will have high-quality beds. The rest will have only basic beds, which will not help much if your child pronates, even slightly. “Superfeet” branded beds are the go-to replacements, tried and approved by the skating community – recommended. Beds usually will not impact the fit, but make sure to verify it.

The tongue helps to keep the foot securely in the boot while allowing enough flexibility to support the needed range of ankle flexion. Lace bite is a big problem in hockey skating, and the tongue plays a major role in it. With that said, only the high-end boots come with the nicer tongues, and for the majority of skaters, dealing with lace bite becomes inevitable. Fortunately, simple undersocks with the gel pads like this product are cheap and very effective.

Laces: There are 2 types of laces – unwaxed and waxed. Until your kid fully adapts to the skates, stick with the unwaxed – those stretch when they get wet, making it a little easier for the expanding hot feet. In time you may try switching to the waxed, those are easier to lock, but they won’t stretch. You’ll need to experiment with the slightly tighter and looser laces until you figure out the optimum.

3. Blade Holders and Blades (Runners)

Steel (a part that comes in contact with the ice):

Stainless steel is a standard. Works great. Other types of steel are available from the original and second source manufacturers, but it’s hard to justify a need for steel upgrade for a beginner or an infrequent player. No bang for your buck.

Holders (a part that holds the steel runner): There will be slight design differences from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the two main groupings are the holders that allow the runners to exchange and not exchange. While buying non-exchangeable blades may seem like a waste, there is virtually no chance for learn to skate kids to reach the end of life of the steel on one pair – they will grow out of size long before the steel runs out.

With that, pro level holders that allow steel exchanges are a nice marketing option, that probably won’t ever be exercised on your kids’ skates.

4. Sharpening and Profiling (a geeky part)

Hockey blades are hollowed at the bottom and curvy (have a round shape) to allow quick turns and changing directions. This section covers the basics of blade configuration.

The Tadius of Hollow: This is the “notch” at the bottom of your skate steel, running through its entire length. The lower the radius the higher the edges of the “notch”, allowing a player to dig more into the ice. The first picture below shows the exaggerated cross-section of the blades with different hollows just to illustrate the concept. The second picture is to scale, and you can see only a subtle difference in the height of the edges, especially between the close radius settings.

 

½” radius is an accepted modern mid-point, a safe setting to begin with. Future choices are down to the player’s preference, he/she will need to experiment a little bit. No right and wrong here.

Blade Profile: Profile characterizes the blade curvature. Or how much of a blade length will be in contact with the ice, when a player is in a perfectly neutral stance – not leaning forwards or backward. The profile is expressed as a radius of a circle, that if cut into the slices 6-10” long, would have an exact shape of youth or an adult skate blade; it’s measured in feet.

Few popular profiles for the skaters are 9, 10, 12 and 13 ft. Goalie skates are almost flat, profiled to 25 ft. There are also multi-radius profiles, usually curvy in the front part and flatter at the back of the blade. In theory, the flatter the curve, the more stable the skate, but at the expense of agility and maneuverability.

Additional parameters are addressed by profiling, which is a skate pitch or a pivot point. It dictates the direction (forwards or backwards) in which your balance is affected when standing on the skates. For obvious reasons, a neutral pitch (not leaning forwards or backwards) is recommended for both beginners and intermediate skaters. Experts may have different considerations.

Is profiling an absolute must? No, just avoid the extremely short (<8) or long (>13) profile radius. Consider this:

  • New blades come pre-profiled to 9 or 10 ft radius from the manufacturer and are neutrally pitched.
  • Profiling provides marginal gains, achievable only at advanced and expert levels. Learners won’t feel the difference.
  • Even if a player is skilled enough to notice the differences, there’s no other way to know the optimal profile for a particular player, without trying a few options. “Recommended” profiles won’t necessarily work for a specific stance and skating style.

To get an additional perspective, watch a few videos of the hockey hall-of-famer, like Bobby Orr, skating in the soft leather boots and using the unknown profiles. Pretty amazing.

If you have some extra cash on hand and feel adventurous – go ahead and try some profiles. No harm for sure.

Sharpening

This is a process of resetting a depth (radius) of hollow and cleaning/deburring the edges.

There are two basic types of sharpening machines:

Manual: stationary and a fairly large machine, requires a skilled operator for consistent sharpening.

Semi-automatic: very compact and portable compared to the manual sharpener. Designed for the repeatable operation without operator intervention.

Both types need to be properly calibrated to achieve even edges and can output different Radius of Hollow – make sure to specify your preferred one.

Try a sharpening shop in your area, and if something doesn’t feel right, give them a chance to correct it for you. Mistakes happen and most of the sharpeners are proud of their craft and will make sure you’re satisfied.

Used Skates

Younger kids don’t put on a lot of stress on their skates and are out of them too fast, so typically those skates are in good enough condition to serve 3-4 children.

Bring a knowledgeable person with you and use the same fit and stiffness criteria when shopping for used pairs as if you were buying a new one. Heat moldable boots will have an advantage here, since they can be re-baked for a new skater.

Look for the significant boot (inside and outside), blade holder (incl. the rivets) and blade steel damages – minor scratches and chaffing are the normal wear and tear, but the deep scars, torn stitches, and loss of integrity or missing material are a problem. Make sure the lace eyelets are well preserved.

If the blades look worn-out, allow a lot of sharpening cycles, look in the possibilities and of replacement – it might be more economical to buy a new pair.

The Most Important key point:

There’s no reason to hesitate too long when buying a perfect first pair of skates. As soon as you’ve found the right fit within your target budget – go for it.

Everybody is awkward on the ice at the beginning and having cheap or expensive skates won’t make a difference.

Want your kid to improve as fast as possible? Stop fiddling with the skates (and sticks) and invest in professional instruction.

No shortcuts here, expertise takes time, but kids learn fast with the right coaching…and then the exciting part starts!


10 Keys Factors to Long Term Athlete Development

The hockey season is wrapping up and the offseason is here! For the Hockey Hut, that means training time! We love the offseason because we love seeing the transformation that happens in players as they put in the time and energy to take their skills to the next level.

We put together 10 key factors in producing the best long term athlete development program. Start building your player into an elite athlete today, no matter their current skill level!

  1. Have the FUNdamentals:

    Learning the basic movement and sports skills should be made fun! Coming up with games, challenges and partner training drills can add fun to player development. Adding variation in sports and games can help kids build up their skills and develop their overall athleticism.

  2. Avoid Specialization Early On:

    Kids who play multiple sports are more likely to see success in athletics. Sports are defined in two categories: early and late specialization sports. For example, many young girls will start in dance and gymnastics at an early age, but as they develop and grow, many will retire from the sport before age 20. Contrastingly, hockey is a late specialization sport in which most players reach their full potential until their adult years when they are fully developed. By not specializing in a sport early on, kids get greater exposure to athletic development, lower risk of injury and increase their athletic potential.

  3. Know Your Child’s Trainability:

     As kids develop physically and psychologically, there are clear stages that lend themselves to opportune times for player development. For young players, the first stage of development is focusing on outcomes, rather than development. Ages 6-10 focusing on flexibility and mental growth is important for kids as they learn the psychology of sports and what it means to lose and win. As children develop in the 9-12 year range, it's time to add in more intense physical training skills and sustenance and structure. This can look like a training regime paired with muscle development and proper diet.

  4. Apply The Ten Year Rule:

     The 10 year -10,000 rule is the summation of 10 years of practice at 3 hours a day to become proficient in a sport. This doesn’t mean 10,000 hours of hockey, rather a mixture of athletic development - running around outside, playing on the playground, swimming in the pool. Research shows that development at this level is needed not only for sports but any skill we develop such as playing an instrument. It takes a tremendous amount of time to become an elite athlete. This is where player development is crucial to get started early. Talk to a local sports training center and see what is best for your kid.

  5. Don't For the Mental, Cognitive, & Emotional Development:

    Mental training and prep is one of the most overlooked aspects of sports development. Having emotional intelligence is crucial for any player who wants to make it to elite hockey play. Start by talking to your child about how they feel after a game, a hard loss, or a big win and help them to become self-aware of their own emotions.

  6. Understand Biological Age & Chronological Age:

    Currently, most player development is focused on chronological age, putting kids in the same age group for all of their training. The reality is that sometimes keeps in the same chronological age group may be 4-5 years apart in their development. You can help develop your player by putting them around players who are close to them in skill or slightly above and not just in their age group. This will help them develop faster and improve their skill set where they are weak.

  7. Choose Your Training Periods Throughout the Year:

    Periodization is the process of breaking down the calendar year into various time intervals of training. These periods include preparation, practice, competition, rest, and recovery. It is critical that athletes optimize their development by applying these periods in their annual training. Research shows that kids should have a two month period every year between sports where they are able to rest and recover. In addition, in repetition training sports such as baseball and hockey, it is critical that players maintain a healthy rhythm of rest and practice/competition to prevent injury and developmental issues.

  8. Comprehensive Training System:

    Many players will spend time in a club sport team, school sports, and training facilities this year. Each of these can be great for player development while also imposing challenges. Players need to have a clearly defined, structured, and consistent schedule that allows them to develop in a healthy manner. As a parent, you can work with trainers and coaches to make sure everyone is on the same page and has your players best interests in mind.

  9. Planning the Calendar For Competitions:

    Every year kids will travel all over the country for tournaments and competitive play. We as parents need to be better at scheduling and allocating our players time on the ice, field, or court. This means being open to a training based schedule throughout the year and not just going from tournament to tournament. Take some time to sit down as a family and determine what your capacity is, how many tournaments you will attend and book them out in advance. This prevents over planning and keeps your player healthy all year.

  10. Continuous Improvement: Continuous improvement is a key principle for any athletes long term growth and success. Don’t stop once you think you have reached a goal, rather celebrate the victory, have fun, and look to what is the next step. Becoming an elite player requires investment and continual improvement always.

 

 


The Hockey High

If you’ve never ice skated or played hockey before you have completely deprived yourself of an activity that is soul-cleansing! Do it once and you will want to do it again, get better at it and you will do it for life!!!

What is the Hockey High? The first time you touch the ice there’s a feeling of heightened awareness, your insecurity of balance, the excitement of the unknown!!! The conflicting questions race through your mind, but you seem to answer each one! “How fast can I go? I’m not going to be able to go fast. Can I even stand up? Wow, I’m standing up, but, MAN this is hard,”...and so on it goes.

There’s a freedom and excitement, the sheer terror to learn this new skill and the competition that will occur upon your mastery of this skill, a sense of speed, and a feeling of being a kid again. Ask any experienced hockey player and they will tell you they can remember the first time they ever stepped on the ice, the first time they ever touched a puck, the first time they scored a goal, the first time they got back to the bench and were exhausted, the first time their coach looked at them and praised them and said, “Job well done!!!”

This kid has the hockey high!

What is the Hockey High? It’s the adrenaline rush and excitement you feel from ice-skating and playing the beautiful game of hockey, it’s like no other. Beginner or veteran player the same, your blood rushes through your body down to your legs, your core engages completely, and fires like no other exercise as your arms swing and your legs drive you forward with a sensation of floating through the air. Your quads burn, glutes fire, while your ankles are locked and released as you finish every stride with a violent snapping of the toes. The hip flexors are coordinating the return of each stride with maximum efficiency. Your upper body is secure and presented forward while your arms are reaching to add another five inches to each stride to ensure maximum length. The balance and awareness of every movement clear, the force provided to the ice and the lightness of each glide allows for a smooth, fast ride.

As the speed increases and each stride pushes you towards 18, 20, 22, 24, 28, 30 miles an hour, a clear mental focus is achieved. You begin thinking, “Here come the boards, another player; the puck has shifted. Now I need to turn, redirect, accelerate and do it all again.”

When the skate is complete, you realize, my knees don’t hurt, my ankles don’t hurt, my hips don’t hurt, there is no impact when you’re ice-skating, there is no impact when you’re turning, when you’re changing direction and accelerating. You realize complete physical, emotional mental and spiritual satisfaction has been achieved.

What is the Hockey High? It is the reason you can’t leave the locker room immediately following an unbelievably difficult skate. It’s the feeling of complete freedom in your soul and that solutions to life’s challenges are clearer. Your exhaustion has absorbed your fears and fueled you towards the next day.

The three hours following a skate, your senses are heightened, your mind clear, your heart open, as you sit and replay every moment of the two hours you were on the ice. You can see how moments in the game relate to the challenges of life as you find solutions to those challenges. You replay those moments over and over and when you’re done your mind is open and so clear and all the stress in your day has gone away, that is the moment you realize there is only one high, The Hockey High!!!!

At the Hockey Hut, we strive to help guide you into, through, and out of this high. What if you had someone who knew how to push your performance to an unparalleled level? What if this Hockey High wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan moment but instead was an energy you could harness for more extended periods and perhaps become a way of life?

Your potential is what propels us forward as we work on four areas of performance - mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. When you learn how to get each zone firing, the Hockey High becomes a life rhythm. Conversely, when you can master the areas ensuring that one never gets too low, your intelligence grows, and your performance is unmatched.

In the end, life is more enjoyable when we can stay in the realm of creative and confident. Let’s partner together, and I promise that the Hockey High will be one of your most valuable resources against doubt, anxiety, stress, frustration, disappointment, and regret.