Hockey sense makes all the difference and can give a player an edge on competition. Smarter, more spatially aware players also tend to get hurt less. These attributes help to build a complete player and a better overall athlete. With a new calendar year now underway, there is no better time to learn of ways to change the approach of your game.
Here are a few tips to help you play smart in 2017:
1) Play more small area games: Small Area Games really allow the players to work on specific areas of their game while having fun doing it. Decision making is honed because things are sped up in a smaller area. Coaches can tailor these games to foster specific skills. Small area games can be particularly useful for honing transition play, when game intelligence is critical to exploiting fast developing opportunities.
2) Get involved in another sport in the off-season: The off-season provides a perfect opportunity for young athletes at all levels to develop both physically and mentally. Participation in other sports, along with various off-ice drills and programs, can help players stay sharp for the following season. Mentally recharging should not be overlooked, as “burnout” due to extreme focus on just one sport can force great hockey players out of the game. Too often, overeager parents can push kids to the brink. Playing summer sports can be of great influence to both the physical and mental sides of hockey. Soccer in particular has been shown to use similar cognitive processes to hockey.
3) Use tech to get an edge: Hockey sense can and should be trained with technology. On the cognitive training side, programs such as The Hockey IntelliGym can be a perfect fit in the summer when kids may not be facing the additional important time constraints from school. IntelliGym is a software-based training tool designed to help develop players’ cognitive abilities. With a recommended regimen of using the product for 30 minutes twice per week, players should view the IntelliGym like a workout for the brain.
Players should look to improve and grow their skills every year. These are just a few suggestions on how players can take their game to the next level.
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