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August 13, 2013

Improving Anticipation: Cues

The quote “I skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is” (or whatever) by Wayne Gretzky is a classic. It exemplifies what makes players successful in the game of hockey. However, oftentimes, many players are told to anticipate, but are not taught how. This article will cover how coaches can improve how they teach players and how players can teach themselves to become better at anticipating.

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August 8, 2013

You’re Wrong. You Can Improve Hockey Sense – Here’s How

We all appreciate the idiot hockey player who has a great heart and works really hard don’t we? Like, he’ll never figure out who to pass it to, and how to not panic when he actually has tons of time, but that’s just how he is and there’s nothing we can do about that, right?

Wrong.

I’m revamping an article I posted in 2013, and it is one of my most popular ones. I’m going to write a more approachable introduction, and then pass it off to my more technical 2013 self to fill you in.

Here’s what you need to know. Decision-making is a skill. Ergo, hockey sense, which is the ability to make the correct decision, is also a skill. The “correct decision” can mostly be reduced down to: 1) creating time and space 2) arriving at the right place at the right time

Why is hockey sense not taught?

In hockey, dumping, chipping and chasing are all valued things by coaches. But ironically, a player who does none of those things moves up in levels. The player who makes plays, scores goals and keeps possession is the player that gets noticed and moves up.

In soccer, a player who kicks the ball away at the slightest sign of pressure is a liability on a team. A player who creates their own options then hits them is valuable. Even more valuable are the players that make themselves options (arriving at the right place at the right time).

I notice that all the players with the best hockey sense that I’ve played with played soccer growing up. Datsyuk was first noticed for his vision on the soccer pitch. The Sedins are very skilled soccer players. And Ovechkin was apparently almost a pro level player. Interesting then that these players internalized these values and developed these skills.

Now don’t get all in my grill saying “causation is not correlation”. I understand that. But it certainly seems plausible that a sport that values and coaches possession can teach decision making skills to players in a sport that doesn’t necessarily.

So I’d like to say that either you should be playing soccer in your off season training as a player, or find a coach who will teach you the same skills of 1) creating time and space 2) arriving at the right place at the right time.

HERE NOW is the 2013 article I published on “Hockey Sense” It is very technical and maybe boring, but it is thorough.

I want to present a conceptual model of what “Hockey Sense” is. Then, I’ll explore how to improve your game using the model as a basis for improvement.

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August 2, 2013

Hip Mobility Exercises II

Here are some more hip mobility exercises that I personally complete, and have our athletes with tight hips do on a regular basis. They are designed to both stretch the musculature around the joint, but also to address the tightness of the joint capsule. My influences for these exercises come from “Stretch to Win” (which I’ve blogged about previously) and Dr. Kelly Starret’s amazing book “Becoming a Supple Leopard”. Enjoy and post any questions you may have. This video will be accompanied by an article talking about banded distractions and their benefit at a later date.