Changes to Services Effective December 31, 2016

Hockey Fans,

I have some exciting news to share with you about my instructional career.  As of December 31, 2016, I am going to transition to running my own on ice instructional business and will continue to provide private, group, and team lessons.  That being said, I am disappointed to be leaving the Hockey Training Academy but I do look forward to continuing to work with all of you during and after this transition.  Although I do enjoy the treadmill and synthetic ice and its numerous benefits, I am looking forward to being back on real ice and offering more game-like training.

I appreciate your ongoing support during this transition.  I will deliver all outstanding lessons until the end of the year so please ensure you book your lessons.  I will also bring in other instructors to assist me in ensuring there is enough space for all lessons.  Finally, if you cannot find a space for training on our schedule, please email me and I can set it up.  I will do this for all private lessons and any group lessons where you can bring at least 2 players.

I look forward to continuing to work with you and your minor hockey players.

Keep your eyes up!

Yours in Development,

Coach Mark

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Eureka! How to execute proper hockey turns immediately!

Hey Hockey Fans,

I have been racking my brain for years with this one and I finally figured it out in the last few weeks with the help of some of my students (special thanks to Grayson and Maxim!).  Here is what I discovered:


The Issue

I noticed that the majority of new hockey players could not turn properly.  What do I mean by “properly”?  Well, they could turn both ways but quite often they had friction in their turns on one or both sides.  A proper hockey turn doesn’t have any friction as you roll onto your outside edge and glide through your turns.  However, I couldn’t figure out why so many people had trouble with this.  I also was discouraged as a coach as I couldn’t help them improve this with a couple lessons.


The Plan

After talking with many different experts in the field of physiotherapy and tons of different drills I had my students perform, I shifted my focus to what I thought was the root cause; ankle mobility.  I noticed that my students would not roll their ankles enough to activate their outside edge and thus created friction through their turns, so I wanted to address this first.  My plan started out with just a few simple little exercises in order to improve and strengthen ankle mobility.  I had students rolling their ankles, balancing on each of their edges, and a few drills on the treadmill to get the feel for this.  I did this with several students ranging in ages from 6 to 13 and could typically pack this into a single lesson.  My thinking was, if I can get them more comfortable on their outside edges, there was a good chance that they could improve their turns.


The Results

The improvements were noticeable and incredible.  I couldn’t believe my eyes watching a player who minutes earlier could not turn properly, all of a sudden performing perfectly smooth hockey turns.  I had a couple long time students suddenly finally conquer this area, which was not only gratifying for them, but also for me as the coach.  The amazing part also is that they had trouble with their turns for a long time and with just a few exercises, the results were noticeable.  With a focus on this for their next few lessons, results look to be long term and now they can advance to more complicated drills (turning with a puck, heel to heel turns, etc.).


One of the things I love about working with kids is how quickly they learn and adapt.  It is really amazing to watch the progress of a student from their first lesson to their fifth, tenth, and so on.  Another great thing I learned through this is that the answers are always out there, you just have to keep trying different things until you get the result you are after.  I think that you are never done improving your skills as a player, but you should keep in mind that sometimes you have to come back to the fundamental skills to ensure that you are building on a strong foundation.


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The Top 3 Secrets of Joe Thornton

Hi Hockey Fans,

The San Jose Sharks dodged elimination in a tight game Saturday night. One of the main contributors to their success was their former Captain, Joe Thornton.  Joe had 2 assists in the 3-2 overtime win.  At 36, he is still one of the best players in the game and the Sharks playoff success has shown how much of a contributor he can be.

Many people had written off Jumbo Joe similar to Crosby this season. Jumbo Joe responded by finishing fourth in league scoring (second in league assists).  He was even added to Team Canada for the World Cup just recently based on his playoff performance.  Joe is one of the best passers in the league, but that’s not all that makes him one of the NHL’s best:

  1. Vision – when I was looking for highlights of Joe Thornton’s best passes, I came across a video entitled “The Pass II.”  This clip shows Thornton in the corner, throw a no-look backhand pass into the slot, right onto the tape of a streaking Logan Couture.  I constantly marvel watching Thornton play and find him teammates and make passes that even as a viewer, are hard for me to see.  Joe thinks the game at an elite level and his vision really helps set him apart from many of the other players in the league.

  1. Passing Accuracy – having hockey vision is a great asset to have, but in order to use it effectively, passing accuracy is another vital skill.  Jumbo Joe accompanies his great vision with the ability to thread great passes (both soft and hard passes) right on his teammates stick.  This goal that he assisted shows him fire a 50 foot saucer pass, right to Tomas Hertl, who quickly transitions in front of the net and slips the puck in the net.  You can find countless examples of this as Jumbo Joe typically ranks in the top 5 in assists perennially.

  1. Puck Battles – Joe may not have the best speed in the league, but he makes up for it with his ability to get the puck and keep it.  He is able to use his reach to poke it away from other players and his large frame to keep it away from fore-checkers.  Here’s an example of where he uses his reach to create a turnover and then quickly throws it into the goalie’s feet for a goal.  Jumbo Joe often has the puck on his stick and it’s his ability to win battles that allows him to control the game and create offense for his team.  He also has a knack for winning face-offs when he’s playing centre.

Joe continues to amaze me night in and night out with his play.  Make sure that you take notice when Jumbo Joe is on the ice!

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

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


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