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How Players Can Be Taught the Intangible Hockey Sense

By Dan Pollard, 04/07/20, 5:00PM EDT


Improving on the game's cognitive skills

Photo Credit: Digital Sports Photography

When describing the intangibles of hockey skills it’s tough to pinpoint a formula that works for each individual player. If you think of players as students it’s easier to understand how everybody learns differently and processes information in their own way just like in the classroom.

Hockey sense can be described as a group of cognitive skills like situational awareness, decision making and anticipation that players can execute while on the ice. It’s the mental side of the game that can be overlooked when thinking about skill improvement.

“To me, hockey sense is improving your decision making, improving your task switching, sharpening your focus, improving your situational awareness, increasing your play anticipation so you can react to the game faster and working with your memory so you can remember plays and situations,” said Chris Wilson from Hockey Intelligym. “Having the wherewithal of when you’re getting the puck, you’re already making decisions whether you have it or don’t.”

Play Smarter with the Hockey IntelliGym

The Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough cognitive training technology that hones hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety, heighten spatial awareness and foster better anticipation of the play. Download the program now.

Using the Hockey Intelligym program, players can be trained in developing their hockey sense. Wilson describes it as going to the gym but for your brain. As players now train their stickhandling and shooting in the off-season to sharpen those areas of their skillsets they can now work on all aspects of their game.

Wilson shares a story of a young Wayne Gretzky using a pen and paper to trace out the action of the game he was playing. From the beginning of his time on the ice Gretzky was able to develop his hockey sense.

“For some players to want to continue to improve, sometimes they’ve maxed out on their physical abilities. But you can always get better and smarter. You can continue to improve the mind. The program is not to teach the tactics of the game but to rather train and improve own elements of the player, his perception, reading the plays, working memory, decision making, task switching and performing under pressure. Things that we can continue to strive for and get better at.”

As students enter a period of online classes the Hockey Intelligym fits into learning through a laptop. It is a video game based design for a mental workout created to be challenging for the user. Just two 30-minute sessions a week should lead to improvement around the six week mark.

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Dan Pollard is the host of Breakaway, The Minor Hockey Podcast. His passion for hockey led him to volunteer as a coach and administrator while his professional career has allowed him to cover the game at various levels with CBC, Sportsnet, the NHL Network and TSN. You can currently hear Dan every morning on 105.5 Hits FM in Uxbridge.

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