How to have your best off season!

Hi Hockey Fans,

I speak with so many parents on a weekly basis and one of the most common questions this time of year is “what should we be doing in the summer to get ready for the season?”  Now, I have referenced this before in a previous blog that in order to become a better hockey player, you should strive to become a better all around athlete.  This means walking away from hockey for a little bit and trying other sports that offer different physical demands on your body.  However, I know that as a kid, I played hockey year round and never wanted a break from it.  I did dabble in other sports, but I always yearned to play hockey no matter what the weather was like outside.  Thus, here are some tips that I think can help your child have a great off season:

  1. Develop a monthly fitness program – one of the biggest things NHL players will do in the off season is hit the gym.  They work on getting stronger, faster, more agile, and even more flexible.  I think that with kids, you can develop a great program built just on body weight exercises, timing drills (kid’s love to race the clock), and throw in some stickhandling for good measure.  I am a firm believer that improving your fitness levels will improve your game on the ice.  Make a 4 week program with some variety and fun that you can do anywhere (even at the cottage) and track your child’s results.  You can see them really develop athletically just from an hour a day.  Once they finish the first month, create a new program based on what you learned from the first one.  See if you can do this for June, July and August!
  2. Develop a monthly hockey program – ok, so you’re the one who just can’t live without hockey.  I get it.  I was the same.  So, let’s create a program that we can do without having to be in our skates all the time (let’s substitute rollerblades instead).  Let’s also focus on our puck skills in different ways.  Let’s learn to shoot off each leg, or develop our snap/slap shot, or even work on our hand eye co-ordination by doing a bunch of puck tricks.  Ultimately, you should try to improve in areas where you struggle and try doing different things than what you typically do on the ice.  The 5,000 shot challenge is good if you’re just a beginner to shooting, but once you have the basic wrist shot down, let’s try to apply the same concept to a different movement.  We don’t want our kids to develop overuse injuries so let’s mix in a variety of shots.  I would also recommend getting some lighter pucks if they are going to learn slap shots as it has a lot less impact on their joints and they can get a better sense of their results.
  3. Play a sport similar to hockey – lacrosse is the first sport that comes to mind as many NHL players grew up playing lacrosse as well.  However, you can also consider other 5 on 5 team sports such as basketball and indoor soccer as you can translate many of the tactics over to hockey.  I think it’s great for learning concepts such as 2 on 1’s, 3 on 2’s and power play or penalty killing.  Plus, you also get the bond from being on a team which makes team sports so enjoyable.  Lastly, you might want to consider a different sport altogether, where the focus is more individual and teaches your child more about mental preparation and execution such as golf or baseball.  This all depends on your child as to which way to lean, but I’m sure both types of sports (team or individual) can have a lasting effect on a young athlete.
  4. Try different forms of hockey – again, you just love hockey.  I got it.  So let’s consider playing it in different styles.  Ball hockey is a great way to still play hockey while allowing you to focus more on your stickhandling and your aerobic endurance with all the running.  Roller hockey offers a similar experience as ice hockey, but with a little bit of variety in the skating mechanics and the rules of the game.  There is actually several outstanding prospects in the USA who started playing roller hockey before ice hockey.  If you do play summer hockey, in my opinion you should try to play 5 on 5 on full ice or 3 on 3 on smaller ice.  I actually personally love to play 3 on 3 on small ice as you touch the puck constantly and the game has a really high pace.  Finally, don’t forget that you can play road hockey with friends on your street with the nice weather!

The off season doesn’t last long for hockey, so pick a couple things from the options above and enjoy your summer as much as possible.  A lot of rep teams hit the ice in August, so you really only have a couple months to enjoy the nice weather.  So get out there, have some fun and come back hungry in the fall to have your best season yet!

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!

And as always, if you need any hockey tips, drop me a line!

Gretzky quote - summer hockey

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Team Training Options for all you Coaches!

Hi Hockey Fans,

For all you coaches and players that are looking to continue to develop during the off season, there are a ton of different ways to do so.  Some of you may be looking to improve your team’s skating, others looking to improve your team’s shooting, and the rest might just be looking to not get rusty.

Here are some of the many options that we offer:

  1.  Training Camp – bring your team in for the whole week.  Half the team comes in the morning and the other half comes in the afternoon.  3 hours of treadmill and puck skills for each group.  $450 per day or $30 per player.  Pick your week (subject to availability).
  1. Team training – 2 hour sessions whenever you want (weekly would make the most sense for results).  Half come for the first hour, half for the second hour.  Pricing based on the number of sessions you purchase.
  1. Group training – 1 hour sessions similar to our standard group training program.  You’ll receive you your own time slot so the team gets the same curriculum and works together.  Purchase a bunch of credits in bulk for as low as $30 per credit.
  1. Private training with Coach Mark – 1 hour sessions as often as you want, whenever you want, whatever you want to do.  I can take up to 4 students per hour.  Purchase in bulk for ultimate savings!
  1. On ice training with Coach Mark – if have rented ice, I can come out and run the practice.  I charge $100 per hour of practice time.  I create a practice plan beforehand that I send to you and give you feedback on your team after the practice.

We wish you all the best this off season and would be happy to help with any of your coaching questions!

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!

And as always, if you need any hockey tips, drop me a line!

mike-babcock-talks-to-maple-leafs-bench
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Summer Hockey Training

Hi Hockey Fans,

We hope you all had a great season and are looking forward to the off season to play other sports, work on your shooting, or just relaxing.

At the Hockey Training Academy, we will also be adjusting our schedule for the off season.  We will be cutting back our regular group training hours to 6 and 7 p.m. from Monday to Thursday.  We will also be conducting private and semi-private lessons at 5 p.m. from Monday to Thursday.  If you cannot make one of those times listed, you can request a different time slot by emailing or calling me directly.

Our Summer Training will begin the first week of August, after the Civic Holiday (August 2nd) and run for 4 weeks (August 26th will be the last camp day).  We will do our training exclusively at the Academy in 2 half day portions.  If you would like to stay for the full day, you are welcome to pack a lunch and relax at the Academy from noon to 1 p.m.

Our training will be built on small groups with a focus on the 5 core skills of hockey.  Students will get lots of repetition and focus on their skating, puck handling, shooting, and passing.  We will also run checking drills to teach the ability to get the puck back and keep it!

Here is the schedule for the day:

8:30-9:00 – Drop off at the Academy

9:00-9:30 – Stick handling warm-up

9:30-10:30 – Group treadmill training & group shooting training

10:30-11:30 – Groups alternate

11:30-12:00 – Free time to shoot on radar, stick handle, or mini game

12:00-12:30 – Pick up from the Academy or lunch for full day athletes

The afternoon schedule will be the same:

12:30-1:00 – Drop off at the Academy

1:00-1:30 – Stick handling warm-up

1:30-2:30 – Group treadmill training & group shooting training

2:30-3:30 – Groups alternate

3:30-4:00 – Free time to shoot on radar, stick handle, or mini game

4:00-4:30 – Pick up from the Academy or lunch for full day athletes

Our regular group and private training will begin at 5 p.m. so if you are unable to pick up by 4:30, please notify me ahead of time.

You can purchase your credits online and book whenever you please.  You can purchase credits in 1, 5, 10 and 15 credit increments.  We will run this between the 2nd and 26th inclusively, which is a span of 19 days.

Please note that if you purchase the full day option, you will receive 2 credits for each day and will have to book BOTH the MORNING and AFTERNOON sessions in order to guarantee your spot.  If you purchase the half day option, you will receive 1 credit for each session you purchase and can book whenever you choose.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!

summer training (1)

 

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