Archive for December, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Let’s Play Hockey Parent Jeopardy!

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Hockey Parent 101 article
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By Paul O’Donnell
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Welcome back to our final round of- Let’s Play Hockey Parent Jeopardy!
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In last place is know-it-all Hockey Dad, whose misinformation and outdated knowledge of the game of hockey has put him so far back that he has absolutely no chance of winning.
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In second place are our placating Hockey Parents, who have received no points so far, because their wishy-washy helicopter style of parenting has enabled their seven-year-old to make all the decisions.
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And in the first place is well-informed Hockey Mom, who is well on her way to winning this contest because of her willingness to seek out pertinent information from knowledgeable hockey sources.

PostHeaderIcon The Art of Timing and Spacing

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Understanding Hockey From the Neck up article
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By Paul O’Donnell
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Have you ever noticed how great hockey players always seem to be around the puck? Whether it’s anticipating an opponent’s errant pass, or positioning themselves perfectly while receiving a pass, the best players always manage to position themselves perfectly and be an integral part of every play while they’re on the ice. This is because the top players realize that while their superior physical hockey skills will always be an important factor during every contest, it will not put them in a position for an outlet pass or set up them up for the one-timer scoring attempt.
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For the top players in the NHL, the ability to move without the puck can often become more important than the ability to move with the puck. Their deep understanding of, not only, how best to support the play and utilize “time and space”, but particularly their savant like cognitive skills of “timing and spacing” is what separates them from the crowd.
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Not to be confused with the concept of time and space, timing and spacing basically is:
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  • The ability of a player to be, exactly in the right place on the ice, at  precisely the right moment in time to support or defend against an offense of attack.

For any player with aspirations of moving beyond the high school and midget levels it would be wise to bring yourself up to speed on this very important, but barely spoken of concept.
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PostHeaderIcon A Closer Look into the Read and React Process

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Hockey from the Neck up Article

By Paul O’Donnell

Of all the cognitive skills that the motivated player will need to climb ever-higher in hockey’s food chain, none will be more important than the ability to effectively read and react to the play after the puck is dropped. Whether you are an elite player with aspirations of a D1 scholarship, or just an average player, struggling to make your high school’s varsity team, nothing will derail your dreams faster than a poor understanding of the read and react process by the time you reach the high school or midget levels.

Many genetically gifted hockey players born with the right amount of white, fast twitch muscle, exceptional hand-eye coordination and above average peripheral vision find it easy to make the jump to the next level, while relying primarily on their superior physical skills.  Unfortunately, unless their name is Sydney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, or Bobby Orr, there will always come a time during a player’s hockey development when almost every other player whom they compete against will be just as fast, just as strong, and just as accurate as themselves. For the player who has been unwilling to hone their read and reaction skills to this point, the wake-up call may be just as short and abrupt as their hopes for future hockey stardom.

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