Archive for April 2010

My Hockey Season is Finally Over :( ? :)

April 29, 2010

Well, it’s about that time of week again — when I briefly cover a bunch of subjects, or what I’ve come to call “Short Shifts“…

*

In case you didn’t get those symbols up above — as in 😦 and :), the end of any hockey season tends to make me feel both sad and excited.

Ya, I’m always a little sad to see a group of kids go (well, at least some of them).  I guess I should add in there that I’m kind of hard on myself (and gladly so), so I feel some disappointment if certain players didn’t achieve all I thought they could.  As much as I put that stuff on my own head, though, I know in my heart that a handful of kids didn’t progress well because they either missed a ton of practices, or they didn’t come with a full suitcase full of commitment.  On the other side of the spectrum, a number of my HS Prep players had big-time impacts on their high school teams, and there are a couple of junior high school kids who are going to move right onto our HS Prep team without skipping a beat.

The latter, of course, is one reason I’m excited at this time of year.  However, I’m as juiced right now with the thoughts of a new hockey season on the horizon.  Ya, the time is fast approaching when I’ll hunker into my proverbial bunker, and start researching new training ideas, new systems play, and new drills.  (In a week or so, I’ll try to give you a little more insight into my so-called “bunker”.)

*

Funny — or perhaps not so funny — that I mentioned in a recent post about all the years I’ve written for “Hockey/USA” magazine.  Well, don’t you know, the last issue arrived in my mailbox last Friday, and it truly was “the last” issue.  I mean, right on the cover it said in bold type, “This is the final issue of Hockey/USA”.  (What the… ?)

Speaking to the publisher a little later, Eric Shulman explained to me that it was just getting too costly to run the mag.  These are tough times for hardcopy publications, for sure, evidenced by the number of newspapers and other magazines that have gone out of business over the past few years.  I know the economy hasn’t helped, with advertisers cutting back on their budgets.  And, the cost of producing such publications — and mailing them — isn’t dropping any.

But, am I sad?  Ya, you bet.  Even though it was quite a challenge coming up with ideas for a new column every other week, writing and communicating with hockey folks is what I was born to do (at least in my humble opinion).

Was it good for my business and visibility?  Very much so, which brings me to a cute or dumb little story (you be the judge)…

A kzillion or so years ago, I was down in Orlando, FL, doing a tour of Disney World with my family.  You probably know the routine — weaving our way through those stupid lines like cattle.

Anyway, at one point — I guess when all the meaningful conversation topics had been exhausted, I kinda muttered out loud, “Gee, it’s funny I haven’t yet bumped into any hockey people I know.”  With that, my wife replied (with one of the nicest things she’s ever said), “You’re really obnoxious, you know.”

Okay, obnoxious guy that I am, I took the next idiot Disney turn and glimpsed a pair of teenagers waving at me.  🙂  They were hockey playing brothers I’d coached for a very long time at a nearby rink back home.

The fun wasn’t done yet, however…  Later in the day we were biding our time in another line, when my wife turns to me and says, “This lady tells me her husband reads your Hockey/USA column all the time!”  (Oh, surprise, surprise!)

Okay, I’m back down off my high horse (actually I wasn’t really telling that story to brag)…  I do know that writing that column for so many years did help me connected with people from all across both the US and Canada.  I’d get some great comments and questions from folks north of the border, and one guy from New York City actually became a really good friend (God, he’d even call my office once per week years ago, and he’d ask me to write on a topic that had been bothering him lately).

Oh, and I every once in awhile claim that “higher ups” tend to keep tabs on the old coach, too…  Oh, boy…  A few years back I spoke at an advanced hockey symposium that was like a gathering of Who’s Who in Hockey.  And, during a break, I was introduced to a high official with USA Hockey (from out in Colorado Springs).  I sorta sheepishly said something to the effect that I frequently find myself bashing his organization, to which he smiled and answered, “I know, I read your columns all the time!”  (Gulp!)  Actually, he was a really nice guy, and he seemed to take my needling good naturedly.

*

By the way, if you’re a hockey player, coach or parent, you might be interested in a free video series I’m offering as kind of a guide to training during the coming off-season months.  Again, it’s free.  So, just click on this link to receive your 7-part series:  “You Don’t Need Ice!

*

Now it’s time to profile another one of my favorite bloggers (and you can find my other blogging friends right off to the right in the side bar =>).

Actually, I’m indebted to Mike Mahony for a number of reasons.

He’s a hockey dad (of a teenage goalie) out in Southern California, so we have the love of that sport in common.  And, you can catch Mike and I often tweeting back and forth over on Twitter or on Facebook.

And, while I might occasionally help Mike with some hockey advice, he’s MORE than repaid me, numerous times calling me in off a ledge when I’ve been stuck with a techie type problem.  (Ya, friends over in Twitterland know what’s going on with me if I just mention being on “suicide watch”!)

As for Mike’s blog, it’s called Fitness Expose.  And, I can totally appreciate the theme of his site.  I mean, among the many things we’re inundated with these days is advice on how to become healthier, more fit, whatever.  And, besides there being enough information out there to make your head spin, an awful lot of so-called health or fitness gurus are willing to take your wallet and your first born in exchange for their advice.  That in mind, Mike attempts to cut through all the garbage, or to simplify things for us regular folk.

Actually, Mike also has a related video blog called “The Muscle Building Fat Burning Video Blog “, whereby he chronicles (via videos) his own attempts at running, working with weights and so much more.

All that said, you owe it to yourself to stop over at Mike’s main blog, Fitness Expose.  From there you can find links to his video blog, and to his Twitter and Facebook pages.  And, if you get a chance, tell Mike that Old Coach Chic sent you.

*

Oops, almost forgot that it’s time to highlight one of those unique and hard-to-find products available in the CoachChic.com Store

Now, I am planning on soon trying to put a package together to help other coaches be able to do some of the things I manage to do over on my website.  And, one of the things I’ll recommend is a product that will spare them from spending the thousands of dollars that went into my audio/visual studio.  I’m talking about an inexpensive (but awesome) on-line service called PowerChalk.  And, I’m talking about a program that makes it possible for a coach (or parent) to EASILY do split screen comparisons, draw on the screen, do slo-mo and stop-action, put your voice-over on the video, and so much more.  So, if you want to discover a little more, just click on the logo below…

*

Well, that’s it for this week.  I have a ton of projects I’m into, and I’m sure to be telling you more about those within a few days.  (And, hey, don’t forget to sign-up for that free video series.  That’s an order —  :)!)

Advertisements

The BIG, BIG, BIG Hockey Game!

April 25, 2010

Now, with all due respect for the currently running Stanley Cup Playoffs, let me tell you about a hockey game that is FAR, FAR BIGGER in significance…

What I’m talking about is something special that took place this morning at Bridgewater Ice Arena (in Bridgewater, MA).   The annual game, I mean, that pits the Beaver Swamp Angels against the Makoomba Baronzas. Aaaaaah, you talk about a rivalry.

Okay, as far as the history to this game goes, I have — for probably about the past 30-years — organized a special event for the very last time my Learn-to-skate and Learn-to-play kids meet. And, every year, the kids are split to represent either the Swamp Angels or the Baronzas. (Ya, the mostly 5- and 6-year olds also squint and wrinkle their noses upon hearing the names of those teams, probably just like you did a few seconds ago — 🙂 !)

As for the derivation of those names… My dad had a much older brother who was more like a grandfatherly type — to me, my younger siblings and all my cousins. Actually, we all lived next to each other — three in a row, from my house to my aunt’s and uncle’s to where my cousins lived.

The place for all of us kids to gather on warm summer nights was on my uncle’s porch.  And there were at least two very good reasons for this…

1) My aunt made the best homemade rootbeer that could be had around these parts.  I mean, it was ice cold, and the fizzle would curl your toes.  (In later life, I often wondered why we didn’t overdose on yeast!)

2) My uncle was THE best storyteller in the land.  I mean, he was the early 1900’s answer to Mark Twain, me thinks.  God, the stories he could tell.  And, although we all suspected he was fibbing as he spun his yarns, we never wanted him to stop.

Okay, so a couple of times each summer, my uncle would get to telling us about the baseball league that used to play down at an overgrown pasture area known as “Brown’s Crossing”.  (I call it a pasture area, because that’s all it was by the time we kids were growing-up, while today it’s dotted by a batch of new houses, each equipped with its own round-the-clock sump pump.  Now, if that ain’t progress…)

Oh, we kids did occasionally try to verify some of my uncle’s stories. My dad, for example, did vouch for a nice ball field existing on that spot when he was rather young.  Yet, he always found a way to change the subject when we asked more questions.  Like…

Like…  Well, my uncle talked about all sorts of teams playing on the local field, and I think the home team was called the Whitman Braves(?).  But it was the list of other teams that got us kids to chuckling — and asking, “Really?”  Ya, you guessed it:   the Beaver Swamp Angels and the Makoomba Baronzas (among others).

Okay, so now I take you to a different time — about 30-ish years ago, when I ran the very first end-of-season game for my Learn-to kids…  This one little guy stops me as I’m organizing things, and he asks me about the names of our teams.  And, without taking a breath, I blurted out, “The Beaver Swamp Angels and the Makoomba Baronzas!”  (Geeeeeeze, there has to be some crazy wiring in my noggin’, because I’d listened to my uncle’s stories when I was 7- and 8-years old, yet those names just rolled off my tongue as if I was still sitting back there on that porch!)

Yup, from that day onward, the Swamp Angels and Baronzas have vied for the springtime title.  (Oh, I’ll once in awhile threaten to bring in the South African Bushbunnies.   But, that is a team and a story for another time.)

So, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of that story!”

PS:  An awful lot of kids poured through my Learn-to programs over the past 30-years, often as many as 100 per year.  That means there have been an awful lot of guys and gals representing the Swamp Angels and the Baronzas.  And, it’s quite likely you’ve seen some of them play hockey on TV.

PPS: Amazingly, every single game we’ve ever held has resulted in a tie.  (And, on the day that doesn’t happen, the scorekeeper is surely going to die!)

*

Want to see a FREE video series about things you can do over the coming off-season?  Or, want to join my mailing list for future announcements?

Those near Coach Chic CLICK HERE

Those from outside Massachusetts, CLICK HERE

Off in My Hockey Bunker!

April 23, 2010

Okay, a lot of you have probably been wondering where the heck I’ve been for the past week-ish.  And, I DO feel I owe you an explanation (if not an apology).

I also suspect I’m going to have to explain the term “bunker”.

Soooooo…  Here goes…

*

Those over on CoachChic.com surely know about my bunker, as should anyone who has known me locally for any length of time.  And, the best I can do is to say that it’s sometimes an actual spot, and it’s almost always a state of being, or a state of mind.  In other words, at times when I really need to concentrate, or really need to lose myself in something, I sorta hunker down and attempt to stay focused on that one problem, one project, whatever.

You might be interested to know that my real time in the bunker is approaching quickly.  On a calendar, it’s roughly the time between the end of one hockey season and the start of the next.  (Oh, don’t think that’s very long, because my HS Prep team and my Personal Hockey Training students will begin working out in late May, and this year I’ll also be coaching a Mite Major AAA team.)

Anyway, during that time in my bunker, I’m usually digging through the NEHI library’s manuals and doing a kzillion bouts of research on-line.  What I’m looking for are new ideas that will make the coming year’s training all the more effective and more interesting for my players.  Sure, a lot of the old stuff will have to be kept, because it’s the best there is for enhancing skills, quickening the kids, making them more agile, etc.  Still, I’m not stuck on anything, especially if there’s a chance to greatly upgrade our training.

*

Okay, so I’ve been off in my bunker for two different kinds of reasons this time.  One is truly exciting, while the other has kept me on suicide watch!  🙂

The enjoyable part was putting together a special series of videos to show my hockey friends just what can be accomplished during the off-season.  And, with a title like “You Don’t Need Ice!”, you have to know that it’s all about getting better during the spring and summer months without the need for costly ice-time.

Oh, by the way…  I happen to believe that the off-season is a time when players can make HUGE gains.  And, because a lot of players don’t train very much during the spring and summer months — or, because the ones who do tend not to really have a good plan of attack, this represents a time to pass an awful lot of teammates and opponents.

As for that program, it’s a 7-part series that begins when you sign-up (CLICK HERE for more info).  From that point, you receive an email every 2-days with a new video and lots of other related advice.  So, if you’re a hockey player, coach or parent, I don’t think you want to pass on gaining all that information.

 

 

Then, about that not-so-fun project (ugh)…  Having been on-line for about 15-ish years now, I’ve become pretty techie at some things, not so at others.  For sure, I can do video and audio work in my sleep, and I’ve managed to learn a lot of the processes required to run my membership site and a lot of other sites (probably 20 to 30 in all).

That said, creating on-line sign-up forms and then working with autoresponders was quite another thing.  Actually, the learning curve for me on those things was pretty loooooooong.

Oh, and in case you don’t know what an autoresponder is…  That’s the (for a lack of a better term) program that automatically sends emails at specific times.  I needed that to time the mailing of each of the above noted videos.  And, despite the fact that I got a program that’s supposed to be fairly simple (probably for techies), I found the company’s tutorials glossed over a lot of stuff, and they definitely didn’t speak Coach Chic-ese.

I did live through it all, though, and I even managed to meet my own self-imposed deadline for announcing that series.  (Phew!)

*

And, hey, I really want to thank all those who asked about Anthony Chic’s knee operation, or wished him a speedy recovery.

Thankfully, it was just a “scope”, but I guess the loose cartilage behind his knee cap was as bad as his doctor has seen.  We received a good report at his follow-up visit this afternoon, however, and the hope is that he’ll skate and play pain-free for the first time in a good 2- or 3-years.  So again, thanks a bunch.  I know I have some of the best friends in the world.

*

Then, a couple of team announcements before closing…

My NEHI HS Prep team has one slot open for a goaltender, and another for a defenseman.

My ’02 Mite AAA Majors also need a goaltender.

So, if you know of a player who fits the bill, please email me as soon as possible.

A FREE Video Series “You Don’t Need Ice!”

April 23, 2010

Just in time for the hockey off-season…

A FREE Video Series
“You Don’t Need Ice!”
is waiting for YOU!

As always, it’s about the SCIENCES
and it’s about getting real RESULTS!

A series of 6 videos aimed at providing players, coaches and parents — from all levels — numerous (and even little known) ideas for jumping ahead of others during the spring and summer months.

Just
CLICK HERE
Sign-up
and it’s on its way to you!


This Week’s “Short Shifts”!

April 9, 2010

Some of you might know that I’ve been writing an advice column for “Hockey/USA” (a hardcopy magazine) for probably 15-years (maybe it’s even longer).

Usually I’m on some sort of a tear there — like I’m really troubled by a recent hockey event, or I’m really passionate about something I’d like my readers to take action on.  Still, every so often I’ll do a piece that’s really a collection of scattered or unconnected subjects, or what I’ve dubbed “Short Shifts”.

Anyway, I thought that approach would be handy here, as well.  So, if you’ll allow me, I’ll take a stab at what I hope can be a weekly posting, in my on-line version of…

Short Shifts

FEATURED BLOGGER OF THE WEEK Each week I’d like to focus on another blogger, from among those you see listed off to the right, under Other Hockey Blogs.

And I’d especially like to begin with my Long Island friend, and the author of NY Islanders 7th Woman.  (Hey, I’ve known Dee Karl longer than I have most other NHL bloggers, so it’s only fair.  🙂 )

As happens plenty, hockey folks like to connect — over on the likes of Twitter and Facebook.   And, since Dee and I would both love to get to know you even more, I’ll provide links to both of our social media pages at the end of this piece.

As Dee’s subtitle points out, her frequent posts tend to include “Unique Perspectives from behind the scenes and on the fringe of Islanders Hockey and the NHL”.  And, as I’ve come to discover, she is frequently in the thick of it and in the know when it comes to the Isles’ inner workings.

Now, I’m writing tonight with the thought that many of my readers don’t necessarily know that much about so-called “blogs”, or just how valuable they can be.  So, let’s — just for the heck of it — take a glimpse at Dee’s latest post, “Isles Goal Scorers:  Moulson, Okposo & Bailey“, just to get a feel for her style…

“But the Pens scored 7 — as I knew they would. Sid the Kid gets his 50th goal and his 500th point tonight making the night even a little more special for the kid.

It was special for the Isles too. It was the night they got their heads handed to them. Marty Biron played the first period and was replaced by Roloson. He faired no better against some of the best talent in the NHL.

While this game was historic as the last regulation NHL game in the Igloo, it’s one the Isles will want to forget. But there is a strong possibility that Josh Bailey won’t be able to forget it for a long time as he was taken against the boards by “Pony” and left bleeding. Guessing that’s a scar he will have for a long time. One he may even be able to tell his kids about later in life.”

If you might notice, Dee carries as sharp a pencil as yours truly (almost as if she’s been to hockey coaching school).  And she pulls no punches — whether pouring out her heart for her beloved Isles, or taking them to task when she feels they’re deserving.

As an aside here…  It makes sense that an avid hockey fan would follow the blogs that cover his or her favorite team.  However, I like to drift a little bit around cyberspace — just to get a broader perspective on a given topic, and to read what others are saying in other cities about my team.

Of course, there’s another reason I (and many New England Hockey Institute members) might follow the Islanders more closely this year.  I mean, one of our own, Scott Allen, is now an assistant coach with the team.  And, while I often refer to him as a “second son”, former NEHI students will remember him as one of the best “teaching coaches” ever to grace our hockey school and clinic staff.

Okay, so I want all of my hockey friends to occasionally check-in on that “7th Woman”, and maybe even connect with Dee over on Twitter and Facebook. (I’d also like to have you as a friend — on Twitter and on Facebook.)

KEEPING UP WITH COACH CHIC Okay, just briefly…

If I can get the kinks worked out (in some techie matters), my hockey friends are going to have access to a free (yes, I did say FREE) and awesome 7-day course aimed at helping hockey players, coaches and parents better use the coming off-season.  It’ll be loaded with tons of advice, both practical and scientific.

Speaking of using your off-season more effectively…  I just mailed my next “Hockey/USA” column, and I’m on fire in that piece, this in response to the opinions BU Coach Jack Parker recently offered on the state of Massachusetts ice hockey.  Oh, I didn’t pop a blood vessel or anything, but (as always), I surely did let my feelings be known.

The end of one era and the start of another…

I might be sad killing my NEHI junior high school team, but a change is due.  (Actually, I didn’t kill that program; a few others did.  But, that’s another very long post for another time.)  So, while the current group is playing out the string, I’m looking forward to helping those kids a great deal more next season — as members of either my High School Prep team or my Personal Hockey Training group.  More on the latter a little later, too.

My new team, the Mite AAA’s, had what I felt was an awesome “Meet & Greet” session this past Wednesday night.  It’s evidently a Bridgewater Bandits’ tradition, and it’s  a mixed social event, administrative time, plus some fun ice-time.  Personally, I left the rink sky-high that night, because I filled the remaining roster slots with a couple of nice players, and I also got some really good vibes from our teams’ parents.  Ya, if they’re going to want above-and-beyond from The Old Coach, it’s important that we all stay positive.  (If you think about it, folks, you can buy a coach’s services, but you can’t buy his or her heart; naw, a coach usually gives more or less of himself/herself, depending on the all-important enjoyment factor.)

FEATURED PRODUCT OF THE WEEK For those who aren’t familiar with my new on-line store — or, the concept behind it…

Going back 30- or 40-years, inventors from around the world have sent me samples of their work (some truly awesome, some not so).  However, until recently, there really wasn’t a way to get the word out about the gadgets or programs I could wholeheartedly recommend.

Enter the on-line Store over at CoachChic.com!  Little by little, I’m accumulating a lot of help for hockey folks (and others), with stuff they just wouldn’t normally know about otherwise.

The Rotater, for example, is an inexpensive yet brilliantly conceived gadget designed to both strengthen and aid flexibility in the shoulder girdle.

For sure, shoulder injuries are common in hockey.  However, while most would view The Rotater as a tool for rehabbing injuries, I’m going to have my HS Prep guys begin using it as preventative medicine.  (If you click on the photo, you can read more about this device, and also discover how I believe it will help a hockey player’s skating and puckhandling skills, among others.)

Oh, and just in case you think The Rotater is solely for hockey players, naw…  Among the other sports where it could surely be used, I’d point to baseball (for throwing), swimming, tennis, football (for throwers) as well as some track and field events.

Then, The Rotater can also be helpful to us older duffers, or for those who frequently wield a hammer or other such tools.  So again, take a browse through the Store, and especially take a look at The Rotater!

Happy Easter from Coach Chic!

April 4, 2010

Well, I have sort of a mishmash of things for you today.  But, let me begin by wishing all my Christian friends a VERY Happy Easter!

*

Today is special in a number of ways — surely for religious reasons, but also because spring seems to always creep-in — at least a little at a time, beginning about now.  (Actually, our ark building here in New England was interrupted by some really nice weather, averaging probably 70-ish degrees for the last few days!  And, yes, the water levels are now receding.  Ugh.)

*

I have an awesome gift for all my hockey friends…

roller hockeyIf you’ve followed a guy I call “Jerry Z” over at CoachChic.com, you’d know that he’s a relatively new roller hockey player I’ve taken-on as sort of a fun project.  Jerry asked for some help in improving his game, and I thought others would gain a lot by seeing the way we’ve worked together.  Most of those posts are free to browse, even if you’re not a member (they’re under the In-line Skating section).

By the way…  I always leave some informative articles and videos available free of charge; all you have to do is browse the Free to Non-members category.)

Okay, about that gift…  Jerry has a little sideline that is truly awesome, in the form of a video series called “Its JerryTime”.  And, while each video episode deals with something interesting that’s happening in his life, he has one video that is an absolute riot, this having to do with a particular roller hockey adventure.  Just click on “The Brute!” and be ready to laugh your butt-off!  🙂

*

Lousy salesman that I am, I’m not much into really pushing memberships at CoachChic.com.  But, I probably ought to mention one huge benefit to trying at least a month…

Up in the top row on the main page, I have a category labeled “*Gifts“.

Those “for members only” gifts are download-able ones that are different each month.  They’re the kind of things that one can save for use at any time, and this can be especially helpful if a member wants to use something like a video at his or her leisure.

The current gift, for example, is a video aimed at helping an attacker with his or her decision-making on breakaways or shoot-outs.  A goaltender in the video offers different positioning or postures, and the viewer attempts to judge whether he or she should shoot at an opening or make a move.

Last month I had a video members could download to their desktops, so that they could then watch a number of very good players demonstrate the slapshot movement.  It was put to music, with all the various demonstration clips shown at numerous angles and at different speeds.  Ya, ’tis the season for players who are moving to an older level to work on that shot, and it’s a bummer if you missed grabbing it.  Still, I promise I’ll put that one back up again, as I do many others.

*

I’ve watched a funny (or maybe not so funny) turn of events happen with my junior high school group over recent weeks.  Hmmmm…

quick hockey shotsYou see, our game schedule ended a few weeks ago.  And, ever since then, certain players have vanished.  Again, hmmmmm…

As many of my long-time hockey friends know by now, I’m big into practices.  That’s where a player gets better, you know.

As for the games, I view them as akin to weekly quizzes.  In other words, you work for a length of time on given skills and tactics, and then you go test yourself in a game.  Oh, I see those weekend events as quizzes for me, too, so that I might evaluate how effective my teaching has been.

Anyway, about those kids suddenly vanishing…  I don’t care how much I try to convince parents to trust me in the above approach, I know some of them are just pretending.  In other words, they’re nodding in agreement, but all they really care about are those games.

They can fool me, too.  I mean, I can think we’re on the same page.  But, if they’ve suddenly started to blow-off the practices, I think we can pretty much guess that the games were all they really cared about.  Geeeeeeze…

*

Now, it’s my job to keep a pulse on hockey goings on.  And, in this regard, I’ve noticed that internet traffic has slowed a bit recently when it comes to hockey related searches.

hockey training in The MOTION LabI totally understand some of it…  A lot of teams are deeply rapt in end-of-season playoffs, many kids are in the middle of tryouts, while an awful lot of hockey families have just about had it after a very long season.

Actually, I’m in agreement with any player, coach or parent who feels they need a break.  So do I.  However, while some will go into hibernation for a long time, I’ll only be adjusting my hockey activities.

Let me say that last part again, though…  I think a player and his or her family needs at least a brief mental break as a season ends.

However, I also know that the off-season is when most of the major gains can be made — in a player’s game, and in a coach’s approach.  Let me say that one again, too, dear friends:  “the off-season is when most of the major gains can be made“!

Considering players first…  If you think about it, they tend to grow along with their teammates during a regular season.  The training is the same for every player, so that just has to make sense (at least within reason).  On the other hand, it’s the individual player’s time away from the team that gives him or her the best chance to grow — at a substantially different pace, or in very different areas of the game.

Anthony ChigisolaIn the case of my own young players (a son and a grandson), I always attempted to take mental notes late in their hockey season.  Mainly I was looking for strengths we could further build upon, and weaknesses we might be able to overcome.  So, while my guys might have had some time to catch a break and lick their wounds, I was quietly making some plans behind the scenes.  (Want some great ideas for off-season training?  The CoachChic.com website is absolutely loaded with that kind of help!)

Then, about the role of a coach at this time of year…  Oh, the idea of passing others during the off-season is as true in my job as it is in a player’s.  And, I sense that I’ve gone far beyond most other coaches because of the time I’ve spent studying and reorganizing during the spring and summer months.

CoachChic.com members probably get a kick out of me calling this “my time in the bunker”.  But, that’s pretty much what I do — spending countless hours gathering new hockey training ideas from both the Internet and my NEHI library.

And, my studies aren’t confined to just hockey.  Actually, I find it harder and harder to discover new ideas from typical hockey resources.  So, I get a lot into other sports.  Track coaches, for example, have had a huge impact on the way my teams now train for speed.  And I’ve borrowed plenty from other team sports when it comes to agility training, plyometrics, and more.  I’ll even get into the X’s and O’s of some other transition sports, just to see if I can give my kids yet another advantage.

As an aside here, I might just mention the things my NEHI kids will do during their off-season.  And, while it might seem like a lot, I find ways to make it all sane, and not all that burdensome to either my kids or their families.  In fact, we stay far clear of weekends and holidays.  And, with the exception of what I call a mandatory camp at summer’s end, I encourage folks to pick and choose from the following offerings…

We’ll work on lots of hockey “movements” and athleticism with weekly sessions in The MOTION Lab.

Eventually, our outdoor sprint and agility training will kick-in, this usually held on the lawn area outside our in-line facility in Lakeville, MA.

A little at a time, we’ll begin training on in-lines.

Then, we’ll ultimately take what we’ve gained in those in-line sessions and transfer them to a weekly on-ice skills program.

Finally, our end-of-summer camp offers a chance for us to put the past 4-months work together, to organize lines, and to fine tune our playing system for the start of our regular season.

You might know that — with the exception of that camp, we never train more than twice per week.  So, while we do get all the above accomplished, only two types of training are happening during a given period.

So again, I expect everyone to take a break — to get into a spring sport and even ready to smell the roses.  At the same time, I’d like those who are really into hockey to consider ways they can truly use the coming off-season to jump far ahead of others.

*

Oh, one last thing…  Although my current teams are winding down their seasons, I’m personally into spring mode.  And, while my teams will continue practicing for a few more weeks, what I’m actually doing is giving them a head start on some things we’ll do next season.

That said, you might notice that this post has been placed under a new category, “Spring 2010”.  Yup, from here onward, I’ll be talking a lot about my (and my player’s) off-season.