Minnesota Hockey would like to wish all players and parents a happy New Year. No matter what holiday or time of year is upon us, we’re always thinking hockey and how to make the experience better for everyone. So without further ado, here are 10 New Year’s Resolutions made just for hockey players.
10. Give back to the game. Whether it’s through volunteering, equipment donations or helping out a younger player on the ice, be good to the game of hockey. Spearhead team efforts to help raise funds for military veterans, a local charity or even your own association. Take part in the annual Used Equipment Drive every fall to help keep the cost of gear down for new and current hockey families. Be good to the game and it will be good to you.
9. Try another sport. It’s OK to step away from the game for a while. In fact, we encourage it. The American Development Model, which Minnesota helped pioneer, pushes young hockey players to be multi-sport athletes as they continue to grow. It’s all a part of Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD), which not only cultivates strong hockey players, but keeps them refreshed by preventing burnout. Reread Athletes make the best hockey players, which details why overall athleticism pays off big time for hockey players in the long run.
8. Play unstructured hockey. Find time away from games and practices to have some fun. Play more pond/park hockey, street hockey and even knee hockey than you did this past year. You’ll find it’s not only fun, but helps improve individual skills while further kindling your love of the game. Ice time with your team can be limited, so it’s important to get out on your own to continue developing. Call up your buddies!
7. Say “Thank you.” Parents, coaches, team managers and volunteers give up a lot of their personal time to allow kids to play the greatest game on earth. None of this would be possible without caring parents, unselfish coaches and volunteers. Express your gratitude this year. It’s amazing how far a few words can go.
6. Ask more questions. Can’t understand a drill? Unsure of where you’re supposed to be on the ice during certain situations? Have an equipment question? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Not only can it help your game physically and mentally, but it also shows initiative and maturity. Believe it or not, Golden Gophers forward Nick Bjugstad still asks his coaches questions. So should you.
5. Write down your goals. Research has proven that writing down your goals increases your chance of accomplishing them. Get a whiteboard and post your goals up on the fridge or in your bedroom to keep you on track and motivated. Don’t have any goals? Set some. Pick a specific skill you want to improve on this off-season. Make it a point to limit your penalties. Increase your assist total or increase your save percentage by 20 points.
4. Watch other hockey with a purpose. It’s easy to sit on the couch, turn on the TV and casually watch hockey. This year, try getting more out of the experience. Pay closer to attention to certain players or positions. Watch an entire breakout unfold. Keep an eye on what players are doing away from the puck. Attending a game in person allows you to see more plays develop entirely while monitoring the entire rink. Watch older players execute plays/strategies that your coaches have been teaching you in practice.
3. Convince a friend to try hockey. Tell your friends at school how much fun hockey is. Take them to a game or invite them to an outdoor rink, and then provide them information on how to get started! Let them know there are easy, inexpensive ways to try hockey.
2. Work on a special puck trick. Take some time to hone that toe drag. Pull the puck between your legs and kick it off the inside edge of your skate. Practice the “Around the World”. Chip the puck over an opponent’s stick (or just a cone) and rip off a quick snap shot. Perfect one move or work on multiple stickhandling skills. It doesn’t matter what position you’re playing. Honing these skills will improve your game while keeping it fun at the same time.
1. HAVE FUN! Don’t forget this is the greatest game on earth, and thanks to the State of Hockey, this is the best place for a young hockey player to grow and develop in. Minnesota Hockey’s community-based youth hockey associations provide the opportunity to learn and love the game with your friends in your own hometown. Many hockey families around the country wish they could play here. Take advantage of it!
Happy New Year from Minnesota Hockey!