​PRACTICE LIKE A PRO!

 

Most players are excited to play in games but don't feel the same way about practice. Too often at every level, the ratio of games to practices is too high. This creates a void in the development of the athlete. It is both the coaches’ and players’ responsibility to create an atmosphere of fun and developmental accountability during practices. When you’re having fun it is much easier to work hard. Players should treat practice as an opportunity to enhance their skills. This will enable them to become more involved in a game which leads to greater personal enjoyment.

 

Have respect for your teammates and coaches by properly preparing for practice on a routine basis. Arrive early enough so you can attend to any equipment issues or medical issues. Allow enough time to include a warm-up and stretch. The focal point of practice should be game speed and skill improvement. During every drill envision yourself in a game situation and ask yourself how the drill is related to the game.

 

Work on becoming a complete player by focusing on defensive skills as well as the offensive ones. Always challenge yourself so you are developing competitiveness. Both competitiveness and complete game awareness will give you an edge on your opponent when it is time to perform in a game.

 

Review simple practice guidelines throughout the season and ask yourself if you follow them. Always move your feet at game speed. Practice over-speed skating techniques that will train your neuromuscular system to become faster. Concentrate on all your passes; make them hard and on the tape. One bad pass leads to another. Shoot with a purpose at all times; practice shooting with a quick release and with your head up. The more confidence you get in practice situations the better chance you will have of scoring in a game situation.

 

Practice Like A Pro by taking pride in your practice habits. Every time you get a chance to practice be thankful for the opportunity to improve your skills. Most importantly, don’t forget to be a kid and have fun playing the great game of ice hockey!

 

OFF-ICE TRAINING LIKE A PRO!

 

Off-ice training is an integral part of a hockey player’s development. Many top players use off-ice training to get an edge on the competition, gain confidence, and help injury prevention. Hockey specific skill development should also be incorporated in any off-ice program. By combining training and skill development, players will notice a drastic improvement in their ability to play the game.

 

Weightlifting is an important part of a good training program. Athletic strength training is different from body building. Too many players lift weights like a body builder and not an athlete. Athletes should use controlled explosive movements involving multiple major muscle groups.

 

Muscle balance and posture development are important aspects of any good weight lifting program. Far too many athletes have an unbalanced muscle structure due to over development of the muscles involved in pushing movements. Players should focus on pulling motions as much or slightly more than pushing motions. Pulling motions involve the major back muscles, core muscles, and hamstrings.   

 

Training circuits that include a hockey specific tempo of thirty seconds on forty-five seconds off can be beneficial in developing strength and muscular endurance that will be needed during a hockey game. Circuits can be done both during the season and in the off-season. A good training circuit will combine a variety of strength and athleticism exercises.

 

Speed, agility, and plyometrics drills should be used consistently to help an athlete reach the threshold of there own personal athletic limits. Not every athlete can be the fastest, but every athlete can improve to a level that will greatly enhance their game. Flexibility development should be included in any speed and agility program. Stretching will also decrease post training soreness.

 

Other sports involving hand eye coordination, speed, agility, muscle balance, core strength, flexibility, and body awareness, should be incorporated into the off-season developmental scheme. Martial arts and soccer are two great sports that can help achieve these goals. In conclusion, off-ice training is important for injury prevention, athletic enhancement, health, and confidence. Be discipline, creative and most importantly make it fun!

 

SKATE LIKE A PRO!

 

Skating is often said to be the most important thing a hockey player needs to be able to do well. For the most part, this old theory is true. The importance of skating is becoming increasingly evident as the modern game is gravitating toward decreased interference and more speed.

 

Despite this, many players who wouldn’t be considered good or fluent skaters are having tremendous success in hockey. What people misunderstand is that these players often have strong skating skills that are not easily accounted for such as quickness, balance, and agility. Along with concentration on technique, all players should strive to become effective all around skaters.

 

Skating requires strong, conditioned, explosive legs. Numerous on and off-ice exercises can be performed to achieve this. Exercises that demand a ninety-degree knee bend and explosive movements will provide the most efficient development. Players should include resistance training, plyometric exercises, and slide-board workouts in their off-season regimen which will help muscle memory response that is specific to skating.

 

Traits such as balance, quickness, and agility are also areas of skating that players need to be proficient in. By improving core muscle groups and training for body awareness, players will have more control in tight areas or under pressure. A pre-season speed and agility program such as the one taught by ELITE BRIGADE

HOCKEY should be used to get an edge on the competition. Explosive bursts and changes in direction are the main focus of such a program. The game of hockey is comprised of many short races to the puck that can mean the difference between winning and losing.

 

The way the rules of hockey are being interpreted, players must put great emphasis on developing complete skating skills. Concentration on technique coupled with effective pre-season exercises will give players a decisive advantage over the competition. Consistency and commitment toward improvement are necessary requirements needed to acquire the skating competency for today’s game of ice hockey!

 

STICKHANDLE @ SHOOT LIKE A PRO!

 

Many very good puck-handlers and shooters have honed their skills in the family basement, garage, or something of the likes. These two arts can make the difference in hockey success at every level a player plays. Many hours of practice are required to become truly effective in both areas. Consistently find fun and creative ways to develop these skills throughout the year.

 

Stickhandling requires hand eye coordination, soft quick hands, and good range of motion. Players should practice stickhandling with an object approximately the weight of a hockey puck. This will help a player get the feel of performing range of motion and quickness drills similar to a game situation. For quality hand eye coordination and soft hands a tennis ball can be incorporated into practice exercises that will increase the level of difficulty.

 

Puck protection is an often overlooked puck-handling skill. During the course of a hockey game players use this skill in many areas of the ice rink, especially in the corners and when driving the net. Many quality players can use their body to shield the puck from defenders while buying time for teammates to get into an open scoring area. Practice this skill with a training partner at high intensity levels to maximize confidence.

 

Shooting skills require both strength and good technique. A consistent training program that builds strength in a player’s shoulders, torso, and forearms will un-doubtingly increase shooting power. Good technique is achieved by total concentration on proper shooting form and many hours of proper repetition.

 

To become a sniper, practice variety of shots with your head up, using good form, and a quick release. To simulate a game-like condition, practice shooting with your feet moving, on one foot, and off balance. Always shoot to score in practice. The more real a practice situation is, the more apt a positive reaction will occur during a game.

 

Dedication involving many hours of practice is required to become a truly effective puck-handler and shooter. Consistently find fun and creative ways to develop these skills both on and off the ice. Be the next offensively dominant player on your team by committing to your stickhandling and shooting skills.

 

CHECKING @ ANGLING LIKE A PRO!

 

Checking and angling are often skills that players don’t work on enough. Practices should incorporate some drills designed to help players become better in these areas. Safety is also a key concern when checking. Players should be constantly reminded of the proper way to give and receive a check effectively.

 

The number one rule about checking is; heads-up, don’t duck. The natural heads up position gives your neck the maximum flexibility to take a hit. When the neck is down an impact can result in serious spinal injury. Heads-up means to know where the puck is. Know where your teammates and opposition are. Know where you’re skating to. Know where your man is. Look for open ice and be ready.

 

To check safely skate in on an angle to the puck, and give the body a sage position to accept an impact with the boards. This allows players to keep skating and gain control of the puck. When players skate into the corners at an angle, the risk of hitting their helmets first is greatly reduced. A leg, side, or arm will absorb most of the impact. Wear proper equipment and do not check from behind, ever!

 

When checking an opponent go in at an angle and force them to the area you want them to go. Most off the time you want to force a player to the outside giving them less options or a bad angle shot. By going straight at an opponent, you give them two attack options (left and right). When receiving a check look over your shoulder to see where you opponent is and keep your feet moving.

 

All players mite through pro should practice going into a check with good hockey positioning: head up, knees bent, feet wide, feet parallel to the boards, back straight, and two hands on stick. Use your legs first when delivering a check, this will help generate power. Do not lunge at a player when giving a check; this can lead to missed checks and injury. Use these concepts all over the ice: defensive zone, neutral zone, and in the offensive zone when forechecking.

 

Checking and angling techniques are critical to the safety of players as well as their overall defensive game. Coaches and players should consistently review the skills necessary to become an efficient checker throughout the season. When players use the proper techniques involved in checking and angling they will find that their overall game performance will be enhanced significantly.

 

NUTRITIONAL EATING LIKE A PRO!

 

There is a lot of conflicting information when it comes to nutrition and athletics. An abundance of material is available via books, the internet, and more. How should you eat? What should you eat? Is it really that important? The answer is yes! Nutrition is important and can be added to your arsenal of competitive advantages.

 

Nutrition can be a key teammate in your personal quest to become a better hockey player. However, just like skating and shooting, it takes dedication to develop healthy eating habits. In today’s fast-paced society it is easy to take nutrition for granted. Don’t get accustomed to foods that have poor nutritional value. Do commit to forming good nutritional habits for a few months and they will eventually become natural for you.

 

The good thing about nutrition is that it doesn’t have to be that complex. You don’t have to follow a particular diet, count calories or spend a lot of money on supplemental products to get great results and an increase in your energy levels. Use a very simple yet effective method of fueling your athletic “machine.”

 

Concentrate on eating three well balanced meals per day. Try to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at approximately the same time each day. Look for natural healthy food products and avoid fast food or processed food. Don’t skip meals; your body needs to be steadily fueled throughout the day with healthy food products and sensible portions. Each meal should contain carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fruits or vegetables (greens).

 

Water consumption should be of the utmost importance. Continually drink water throughout the day whenever you get a chance. An athlete should never pass a drinking fountain without getting a drink. Lack of hydration can be a major deterrent in concentration levels and athletic performance. Start drinking some H2O!

 

Does your meal have a lean protein source, a healthy carbohydrate source, a fruit or vegetable, and lots of water? Are you committed to using nutrition as an advantage over your competition? Successful players are often those who will do what others will not. Don’t procrastinate, start with your next meal and “fuel your machine” with quality nutritional foods.

chris@elitebrigadehockey.com

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