Day 4 – Play FAST!

This is the fourth day of our team’s virtual training camp. Each day for the next 10 days, there will be a short assignment for you to do to get ready for our season. These assignments are mandatory for players and coaches. Parents are also encouraged to participate.

Today we’re going to talk about how we become the FASTEST team in our league. I’ve got a few very FAST videos for you to watch…

A few years ago, I had the very good fortune season to spend five days on the road with the Winnipeg Jets as part of their Dad’s roadtrip. My nephew, Ben Chiarot, was playing on the team at the time (he now plays D for Montreal). I was around the players, coaches and staff for the full five days. On the planes and buses. At meals. In the dressing room. At games, practices and pre-game skates. At the hotel. Talking all the time with players, coaches, trainers, team staff and even the owner of the team. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience.

The one thing that stood out to me was the entire teams’ commitment to what they call “Becoming a Pro“. At its core, the idea of “Becoming a Pro” is all about doing things faster.

They train individually to become faster and more powerful. They repetitively practice skills and team tactics so they can execute them faster. They adhere to detailed rituals of rest, practice, off-ice training and nutrition all to maximize their potential to execute their game plan at peak speed. Even their practices are fast, rarely exceeding 40 minutes in length, and often as short as just 20 minutes.

From a development standpoint, EVERYTHING we do this season will about doing things FASTER.

This is what FAST looks like (#1)…

This is why we’ve been doing all the speed and power drills as part of our off-ice training.

By now, most of you understand the basics of the game and have developed some level of proficiency in skating, passing, shooting and team play. At practice, we will break down every skill and tactic (including many that the players already think they know) and ask the question:

“How can we do it FASTER?”

Let me give you a few examples (I’m sure you can come up with many more):

  • How can I skate faster? Stickhandle faster? Pass faster? Shoot faster?
  • How can I think and react faster?
  • How can we play faster as a team?
  • How can we attack faster? Defend faster? Transition faster?
  • How can we get out of our zone faster? Get through the speed zone (neutral zone) faster?
  • How can we make faster line changes?
  • How can we get to their net faster? Get the puck in the net faster?
  • For goalies: How can I move faster? React faster? Anticipate better? Help my team be faster?

In order to get faster in all aspects of the game, skills and tactics will be taught through three phase progression.

  1. Acquire – The basic concepts are explained to the player. Players will be asked to demonstrate (at slow speed) and explain the components of each skill to ensure that they have acquired the skill.
  2. Accelerate – How can we execute this skill FASTER? Reinforce the skill using overspeed drills so that it can be executed without conscious thought.
  3. Apply – Players will apply this skill in simulated game situations and in real games at maximum speed.

As a team, we’ll take great pride in playing hockey FAST. The faster you are as a team, the more fun it will be.

This is what FAST looks like (#2)…

Here’s my nephew, Ben, scoring a huge goal in overtime. Notice how fast Montreal transitions from their own end and how Ben blows by the defender to get to the net. It’s a great example of a team playing FAST.

This is what FAST looks like (#3 for goalies)…

Today’s Assignment:

  1. Can you think of a way that you can individually do something faster?
  2. Can you think of an another example of something that the team can do faster?
  3. Discuss your answers with your parents and post ONE of the answers to the team WhatsApp group.