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How to effectively develop new hockey skills

Develop hockey skills

Do you want to learn an effective way to master learning new hockey skills?

We are getting ready to close out another year and bring in a new decade! The year 2020 brings us new opportunities and leaves us excited for change. It also gets us brainstorming of ways to move our life, goals, and hockey careers forward. Unfortunately, people begin to coast during this time of year — they begin to convince themselves that they can wait:

  • Wait to follow their passion
  • Wait to take daily action
  • Wait to create a life they’ve been dreaming of

They use the excuse of cold weather and the holidays to put their life on hold. The fact that you are here, reading this, I know you are not part of the masses. You are a part of a small group who wants to end their year on fire and full of momentum ensuring that 2020 is your best year yet.

The day when we waited to start new year resolutions has ended — we start today!

SKILL ACQUISITION

A critical piece to goal setting is identifying a skill to work on — one that will determine long term success. Where most people go wrong is they either avoid this piece or identify too many skills to work on at one time. In order to get the most out of your goal setting and skill development, you must focus on only one specific skill every 90 days (or three months). When you do this, you will have the ability to harness intentional practice.

For hockey players, it’s easy to get wrapped up in dozens of possible skills to acquire. The key is to pick one and dial it in for the next three months. Now, that does not mean the other components of the game will be ignored, they certainly will be worked on during practice, games, and off time.

Skill acquisition is a daily practice, though.

By attaining a new skill every three months, you will be able to grow your game tremendously. Imagine trying to develop seven skills at one time. What is going to happen, besides frustration, overwhelm, and defeat, is you will not be able to develop any of the intended skills to the potential you have. Focusing on just one skill, though will guarantee you make progress and really specialize in that area. In one year you can fully develop four key skills and look like a whole new player.

Now that you know the importance of skill acquisition, let’s take a look at how you can begin today.

Before you can determine what skills you need to develop, you will need to be clear on your goals, vision for the future, and the player you want to be. Once this is dialled in, you can work on the following:

Specific Skills

Let’s say you have determined you want to be a reliable goal scorer. This is a great starting point, but your skills will need to be more specific. Try narrowing it down to something like a quicker wrist shot release.

Game Plan

This simply means, how are you going to practice? It is not enough to just pick a skill and wish it to appear, you have to put in the work. A great tool to use is Google calendar. Once your desired skill is determined, schedule it in to ensure you have zero excuses to put in the work — maybe you even add it to the morning routine we talked about last week.

Who, When, Where

To acquire a new skill you must be a good student and open to learning. With this said, who are you studying? Find someone who has the shot you want and study them. This could be YouTube videos, coaches, other players, etc. With the help of the above mentioned calendar, you will want to put in the details of when and where you are studying AND practicing.

To put this into context, here is my personal skill development work I will put in for the remainder of the year:

Specific Skills

  • Wrist shot power and accuracy

Game Plan

  • I will shoot a minimum of 250 wrist shots per week

Who, When, Where

  • Who: I am studying @howtohockey & @itrainhockey videos + coaches notes
  • When: Study Monday and Friday, hockey skills class Tuesday, and 3x per week off-ice shooting pad
  • Where: Ice rink & local park behind apartment

Now it’s your  turn. What skill are you committed to learning for the rest of the year?


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More about Ashleigh Maestas

Growing up in Arizona ice hockey seemed like a foreign topic. In 1996 the Phoenix, Coyotes walked into Arizona and star struck Ashleigh. She was introduced to her first game and never looked back. After diving deep into mental intelligence, resilience, and equanimity, Ashleigh finally decided to pick up a stick for the first time in her adult years in 2017. Every day she looks to seek improvement and become the best version of herself and build on her hockey game.