Who IS my Competition Anyways…?

“Who is my competition anyways…?” This is the question EVERY player should ask him or herself!

The purpose of this blog is to help build better teams, by providing players, coaches, and parents with useful drills, tools, and information. You often hear me talking about on-ice strategies and tactics, or off-ice drills and workouts that will give you an EDGE over your competition.

They’re all the same… Well… Almost!
As you move into higher levels of play, the skill-sets of each player become more and more similar. Think about it… who scores the most goals at mite hockey? It’s the kid who can skate the fastest! Who scores the most goals at Peewee? Now that most kids can skate, other tactics like shooting, playmaking, and read & react abilities start coming into play. How about at Midget? Juniors? College? NHL? At the top levels of play, the difference in physical skills from the best player on the team to the worst is minimal. So the importance of gaining an EDGE over your competition is even more crucial!

So who’s my competition?
Who exactly is our competition anyways? This is a huge question, and one that every player needs an honest and healthy understanding of.

When we talk about training, and dominating our competition, the first thought that comes to mind is the OTHER team, right? Of course we want to annhialate the other team… we want to be stronger in the corners, meaner in front of the net, faster to the loose puck… we want to think the game faster, and punish them on the scoreboard… right? If that’s not the case for you, then you’re definitely in the wrong sport. In fact, athletics is probably the wrong field for you in general!

But let’s think a little bit deeper on this… what about our own teammates? Could they be competition too? My response would be ABSOLUTELY!

When you no longer have the “buzzer” to signal the end of your shift…
The moment you graduate from “house league” hockey, your teammates become your competition. Obviously, this needs to be HEALTHY competition, with each player working toward a common, team-oriented objective, but nevertheless… its a competition.

As you move into higher levels of play, the players who produce results will see more ice time. Now these results may come in the form of goals and assists, or maybe in terms of physical play. Sometimes results are considered “momentum shifters” such as a big hit, a big save, a fight, or drawing a penalty at a critical time in the game.

The question is… HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SET YOURSELF UP AS A GO-TO PLAYER? How are you going to make sure YOU get the nod over someone else when you’re down by a goal with 3 minutes left in the game? How are you going to establish yourself as a disciplined, gutsy, hard-working grinder that your coach CAN’T AFFORD to sit during the penalty kill?

The humble opinion of yours truly…
My answer is, you must become a STUDENT of the game, in all respects. You have to UNDERSTAND your positioning better than anyone else, and then EXECUTE it with discipline. You have to be mentally tough, responding to pressure with IMPROVED PLAY, rather than disintegrated execution. You have to think, breath, and live the game, not only at the rink, but at home too. You have to be PHYSICALLY tough… never shying away from a hit. You have to be CONFIDENT that you can go into a battle, and come up with the puck.

So what are the key aspects of the game, that player’s should be working on to gain their edge? Here’s a list of the most important items (again in my humble opinion).

On-Ice Factors:

  1. Technical Skating – get a solid skating instructor and make sure all aspects of your stride are as efficient as possible. Uncorrected stride problems will hold you back as you progress to higher levels of play.
  2. Technical Puck Skills (stickhandling, passing, shooting)
  3. Strategic Shot Selection – knowing which shot to use, and where to shoot in a given situation.
  4. Positional Play – where to be, when to be there.
  5. Tactical Play – what to do when you are in your position (i.e. force vs contain)

Off-Ice Factors:

  1. Strength and Conditioning – becoming bigger, faster, and stronger than your competition, with a hockey-specific workout program.
  2. Off-ice Mental Training – study positioning, visualization techniques, game film analysis
  3. Off-ice Skill Development – many skills can (and should) be developed off the ice… primarily puck skills (stickhandling, passing, shooting, etc.)

If it were easy… Everyone would be doing it!
It’s easy to be pretty good. But becoming EXCELLENT takes complete dedication both on and off the ice. Players at the highest levels understand that hockey is a lifestyle, not a pass time. It takes a lifetime of disciplined execution to achieve excellence in our sport!

On top of all that, you have to be PATIENT. You might not be a go-to player in the coach’s eyes yet. So, take the chance NOW to prepare yourself so that when you get your shot you’re ready to step in and prove that YOU deserve to be there more than your teammate!

There’s an old saying that goes “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Prepare yourself now to meet your opportunity, then seize the moment when it comes!

Jeremy

PS – What do you think of my list? Did I forget anything? Leave a comment and let me know what aspects of the game are “MUST HAVES” for you!

Passing: Extreme Passing Kit




The Extreme Passing Kit is a Great Way to Incorporate Passing into your Off-Ice Workouts

Passing is a skill that most players don’t think about working on away from the rink. The main reason they don’t think to work on passing is pretty obvious: because you need a partner to pass to, and to receive passes from… Unless, of course, you have the Extreme Passing Kit.

Overview:
The Extreme Passing Kit is a really cool skill pad & passing rebounder combo, that will let you work on multiple skills such as regular passes, touch passes, and one-time shots.

The Extreme Passing Kit comes in two different models, the One-Timer Model (which you see in this video), and the Bungee Cord Model. The only difference between the two is that the rebounder is removable in the One-Timer Model, and can be mounted onto another shooting pad, or even your dryland flooring tiles. This feature gives you a little more flexibility than you have with the Bungee Cord Model.

On the Bungee Cord Model, the rebounding bungee is mounted right onto the skill pad, making the unit completely self contained (which has it’s benefits as well, in my opinion).

Both models use the 4×8′ roll-up shooting pad (huge!), which is light weight, durable, and portable. You can easily roll it up for storage when you aren’t using it, or pack it in the car to bring it to a new dryland training location.

My Experience:
The Extreme Passing Kit comes already rolled up for you. When I first unboxed mine, it had retained the shape of being rolled up (which is to be expected), and I had to sort of “pry” it open and “reverse roll” it a bit on the ends to keep it from rolling back up on me. I let it sit out on my driveway in the hot sun for about an hour, and it flattened right out.

Once the shooting pad had flattened out, I mounted the rebounder to one end (it just clamps on), and went to town!

One thing you’ll notice about the Extreme Passing Kit is that it works really well with pretty much any type of puck. I’ve used mine with regular black pucks, FlyPucks, and Green Biscuits, all of which slide really well, and stay flat off the rebounder. In fact, the pucks stayed flat enough that I was actually able to work some one-touch passes as well (which actually surprised me a little).

Conclusion:
In conclusion, the Extreme Passing Kit is definitely a worthwhile product to add to your Home Hockey Training Center. It is well built, versatile, portable, and the surface area of the skill pad is big enough to use it for shooting, stickhandling, or passing.

Strength Training Periodization for Hockey



Use periodization as you structure your off-ice training program to avoid hitting plateaus, and to increase your gains throughout the entire year!

A well-structured strength and conditioning program should not only develop sport-specific muscle groups and energy systems, but should also incorporate various forms of periodization to keep the athlete progressing both during the off-season and in-season.

The S3 Formula is designed to do just that. The program develops the primary muscle groups used in hockey, and periodizes the workouts on both a macro and micro level… meaning “periodization within periodization.” Athletes who follow the program faithfully see consistent gains in Speed, Strength, and Size all year long––whether during the off-season or in-season!

Use this information to your advantage (very few of your opponents know about this stuff!), and make sure you get on our S3 Formula mailing list if you’re interested in more information.

Go here to get on the “Early Bird” list, and be one of the first notified when the S3 Formula “In-Season” becomes available: http://hockeydevelopmentsystems.com

Enjoy!