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Make At-Home Hockey Sense Training Your Goal for 2020

By Hockey IntelliGym, 09/08/20, 6:00PM EDT

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You can add even more hockey skills to your all-around game


Photo Credit: Brian Woo Photography

It's finally time to get back on the ice. For many Associations, this begins the player evaluation process. You’re back to focus on all the hard work and in-game skills that coaches look for, parents support, and you need during the process. But when you are NOT on the ice, not working your physical skills, not learning from coaches and teammates, what can you do to add even more hockey skills to your all-around game?

Young players inevitably feel the pressure. But there are tried and true training alternatives to help them along the way.

For one, developing the mental side of the game or better put “enhanced on-ice awareness” can make a huge difference to a player getting noticed by coaches.

That is where 'Hockey Sense' comes in. Many player development experts consider it the  'great equalizer' for players at a variety of skill levels. Smaller players, or those who might be less physically gifted, can make up ground and develop an edge by having great hockey brains for the game. Even higher skilled players can benefit from tools their opponents fail to train.

The reality is hockey sense is trainable, especially at youth levels where the brain is intellectually at its peak to absorb new instruction.

ARE MINOR HOCKEY PLAYERS TOO YOUNG TO TRAIN THE BRAIN?

Hockey players, even at the U13 level, are at the age where they are developing the cognitive ability to read situations, react faster to the play, and make better decisions on the ice. This is the age where the mental capabilities of the players are beginning to catch up to their physical abilities. It is a critical juncture in complete player development where smart players make the greatest strides.

HONING HOCKEY SENSE OFF-ICE

Away from the rink, in any virtual environment hockey sense can be trained. There are several advantages to off-ice cognitive training:

  • Off-ice cognitive training is not limited by schedules, ice time
  • Customized and optimized for each player
  • Training is done at an individual’s pace
  • Minimum time commitment: only 30 minutes, twice a week

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Within 6 to 8 weeks the proof is in the results of off-ice cognitive training. The Hockey IntelliGym - a software-based cognitive training tool designed to create “read-and-react scenarios” that enhance on-ice decision-making - has been used by 1000’s of Canadian youth players, a host of CHL clubs and a number of active NHLers. The good news is, as with small area games, young kids can really benefit from this type of training. But when?

"By age 12, kids have sampled many activities and have a greater sense of what they like. This is not to suggest they should specialize in one sport - merely that there is a tendency to narrow focus from many to a few activities around age 12. This period is the optimal to begin cognitive training - a point supported by the fact that the skills of perception and awareness develop throughout childhood and seem to stabilize around the ages of 12-13," said Dror Livnat, President of Applied Cognitive Engineering, who made the Hockey IntelliGym.

For parents and coaches looking to give their young players that in-game edge, working on the cognitive sides of the game may be the best way to get a leg up on the competition. Whether on or off the ice, honing hockey sense can be a major difference maker - even at the U13 level. Train your hockey brain to get that edge.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough and patented cognitive training technology that develops hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety. IntelliGym has been used by thousands of players - from OHL teams to OMHA U16 champions - to heighten spatial awareness, recognize better anticipation of the play, and ultimately make better decisions under pressure. Recent research from the University of Delaware suggests training with IntelliGym is a great way to reduce concussions and other on ice injuries. The software, which can be used on any computer or laptop, can be purchased here.

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