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The 'Great Equalizer' of Tryouts

By Hockey IntelliGym, 04/16/18, 2:45PM EDT

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Hockey sense helps players react and make quicker decisions


Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Tryout season is upon us. We've looked at it from a coach's perspective as wells as what parents need to remember during the process. Now here is the 'great equalizer' for players.

While young players are inevitably feeling pressure there are tried and true things they can do from a training perspective to make the cut.

For one, honing the mental side of the game can make loads of difference to a player getting noticed by coaches and making the team.

'Hockey sense' is often considered a 'great equalizer' in the sense that small players, or those who might be less physically gifted, can make up ground by having great brains for the game.

The reality is hockey sense is trainable, especially at youth levels.

Are minor hockey players too young to train the brain?

Hockey players, even at the Peewee level, are at the age where they are developing the cognitive ability to read situations, react to the play and make 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's a critical juncture where smart players make the greatest strides.

Honing Hockey Sense Off-Ice

Away from the rink, hockey sense can be honed. There are several advantages to off-ice cognitive training:

  • Off-ice cognitive training is not limited by schedules and available ice time
  • Tailored and optimized for the user
  • Not limited by opportunities presented to the player by the coach, team and luck
  • Much more condensed and requires far less time than on-ice training

There's proof in the results of off-ice cognitive training. 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 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 an 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 Peewee level. Tryout season is here, why not get an edge?


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough cognitive training technology that hones hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety. IntelliGym has been used by thousands of players - from OHL teams to last year's OMHA Minor Midget champions - to heighten spatial awareness and foster better anticipation of the play. 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, can be purchased here.

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