Practice Habits from @martybiron43

Was thinking about this today before reading Marty Biron’s (@martybiron43) blog post. I’m trying to learn the goalie bits, I grew up with good player coaching.

To poorly paraphrase Marty: Try to practice as though you’d play in a game. Get set. Follow the rebounds. Cover the puck when you can. Be square to the puck. Recover quickly. (

Trying to go as close to full speed is important for all players, including the goalie. A goalie facing full speed will be ready for a game, just as the players will.

A good analogy to this is the breakaway drill at the end of practice. Yes, it is a time that the player can work on some moves, but how many penalty shots have you seen at games? Let your players get one dangling shot it. Then, make them go full speed for a bunch. Why not have them be ready for a game when they get a real breakaway and having someone chasing them. Add a skater a line behind to chase them. You get a skating drill for two players, game like situations and your goalie gets some work too.

To quote a mentor: Practices are for goalies, games are for skaters.

Should your child play up an age bracket?

Interesting article on ADMKids aimed at 10U parents: “Should My Child Be ‘Playing Up’

I agree wholeheartedly with their sentiments. At 10U, it is more important to be playing with your friends and having a good time, not aiming for “Elite” level hockey, or playing with kids 2-4 years older.

I supposed I should caveat this with, if you have to travel an hour or more compared to a well run local team that your kid is more likely to have buddies on anyway, maybe the age/development hit isn’t so bad. But most (good) programs that have a 12U team, also have 10U ones…and 8U.

On the girls’ side this age bracketing has seemed even more of a fallacy. I’ve seen 10U teams playing 12U and 14U schedules. Interestingly, when they play other girls teams, they are also 12/14U registered but with players who all fit the 10U birthdays. Cross-over games with boys they are back to 10U.

At the end of the day, yes, it is better to have your child in a well run program with philosophies you agree with. There will always be edge cases where you cross to another age bracket (sometimes to match skill upwards and sometimes downwards). As long as there isn’t a large size differential I’ve always been a fan of having older kids, just starting, playing with younger kids, if their skill levels match. Having kids compete with friends and/or other players with similar skills is important to keeping the kids on the ice and having fun.

All players need to watch what they eat and drink during the season

Elite athlete or weekend warrior? It is important to keep eating healthy and properly hydrate all during your season. Wings and ribs (unfortunately) are out. Presumably the pitcher of beer post game should go too.

However, the times have changed and even weekend warriors are paying attention to nutrition these days. Why? It extends your career. Makes getting up for work the next day less painful.

This article provides some pre and post game eating and drinking tips: How Can Your Diet Impact Your Performance?

Also nutrition for hockey players: PowerFuel™ Nutrition for Hockey Players