Every year around the holidays players are settling into their team and things are starting to gel. We always have enjoyed asking players on our teams what they would like for gifts over holiday break. Sometimes those lists align with their hockey skills, sometimes they don’t. Regardless, it’s always entertaining. We hear lots of the usual: video games, iPhones, iPads, gift cards, etc. We have even have heard some of the strange: underwear, pogo stick, and the best, when a player actually wanted a Chia Pet.
Each year we also get some great ‘hockey’ responses, and they are always from the kids who live and breathe the game. They want a new stick, fresh mitts and even rolls of tape as stocking stuffers. These are the kids that you want on your team all day every day. They wake up thinking about hockey and how they can work hard to take their game to the next level. And also how they can use a holiday to get more tools to improve their skills and their game.
So what is on your list this holiday season? Are you asking for the gifts that will result in more time on the couch in front of a screen, or gifts that can help you grow as a person and a player. There are so many cool training aides available that make it both fun and enjoyable to improve your skills. So what are you waiting for?
Are you heading into the holiday season wishing you would have shot more pucks over the summer? Or maybe practiced your passing a few more times? What about your stickhandling? Or better yet, did you ever master that puck trick?
These are all things that you should think about when you are making a list, and checking it twice. And with any luck, some of the tools that can help take your game to the next level might just show up under the tree, regardless if you’ve been naughty or nice (after all, we are hockey players).
At Sniper's Edge Hockey we would like to give you some information that you may find useful when seeking a competitive advantage for your player.
First, consider how a typical youth hockey association allocates ice time. For the youngest levels, Initiation, Mite, Novice / 5-8 years old, they will be given one to three hours of ice per week. For the Atom, Squirt and Peewee age groups, 9-12 years old, they will typically receive maybe three to five hours per week. For all remaining older levels, teams are on the ice most days, getting four to six days off per month.
At the younger levels, there's a desire for more ice time. Parents will look for ways to feed that hunger for additional instruction. They will schedule time on a skating treadmill, working with a technical stick handling or shooting instructor and look for before school on ice opportunities. These scenarios create complications with timing and schedules. So what can you do?
An excellent solution is to create your own at home training area in your garage or basement. The benefits are obvious as your player can train conveniently 24 hours a day and get those extra repetitions that will soon separate them from the rest of their peers.
Here are some recommendations of the top hockey training products for your home:
- Young kids tend to spray the puck around when shooting, so the Snipers Edge Shooting Tarp is the perfect solution to protect walls from missed hockey shots. The five openings also will challenge the player to increase shooting accuracy.
- Next, with the price of hockey sticks these days, you do not want to stickhandle or shoot off of concrete or asphalt. This will very quickly ruin the bottom of the blade, and you will be out another $200-$300 for a replacement stick. Getting an area of flooring is going to be money well spent. The Slick Tile Hockey Flooring will solve this issue. Make sure you get enough so your player can make stickhandling patterns moving forward, ending with a tight shot, and also backwards, ending with a hockey shot from far out.
- When looking for additional hockey training products, focus on ones that can recreate off-ice, what regularly happens on the ice. The PassMaster Hockey Passer and Puck Rebounder brings on-ice training right to your house. You can practice making passes, receiving passes and shooting one-timers off the pass.
- Finally, with the holidays right around the corner and if you are considering great hockey gifts, you will want to look at the SweetHands Stickhandling Trainer. Because you have to lift your stick up and over the connecting arm when going through each opening, this will increase hand and blade quickness. There is an infinite number of drills or patterns that can be done with this hockey training aid; you just have to be creative and see what works.
A great coach once said good players show up and work hard at practice, but the great players are made away from the rink spending their own time doing the extras that make them into champions.
Thanks for reading and remember the key to on-ice domination is off-ice training.