My playing career ended in 2007, about 2 years after youtube.com had launched. I remember in 2006 being at a buddy’s house watching a highlight-reel fan made video of Alexander Ovechkin to Aerosmith "Dream On" (see video below) and so many more, but there was very few. All I had was Don Cherry videos (which were awesome) and tried to replicate a few of the skill moves I saw on those.
Fast forward 11 years and I’m amazed in that time how much information is out there that I would have loved having growing up.
Take for example Darryl Belfry, who is a now NHL skills instructor who back created videos full of information on player skills and concepts such as this one on shot quality (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVVJc0tVCX0) or this one on how to manipulate the checkers feet to create offense (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qomYfErd528).
There’s also the YouTube channel of 24/7 Hockey that is full of information on concepts, on ice plays and off ice drills to become a better player (https://www.youtube.com/user/247HockeyTraining/videos).
There’s a new website being built called thehockeythinktank that is slowly adding content but is full of player development and concept information, especially videos from successful and top end coaches/instructors.
I would have loved to have had this type of information when I was a kid because I would have been out in the drive way doing all of this. Instead, I was just taking slap shots on a net with a hockey ball or as I got older doing weight training that had little to do with getting stronger for hockey and very little agility drills. Maybe you can blame lack of coaching, but the amount of information is out there.
Players nowadays though come home and play Fortnight or whatever video game they can. You see very few players out in the drive way working on their shooting technique or stick-handling drills. Yet they wonder why they don’t make a certain team or have the role of a 4th line grinder. It’s not the coach’s fault, you just need to put in the work and find the right information.
For those of you who are still young enough, find the information (use the things I listed above) and go out to a stick and puck or get some pucks and a shooting pad and start working on these skills off ice. Ask your coaches for at home off ice plans for strength and agility building (and if they can’t give you something of quality, seek out a trainer near you who can). You have the rest of your life to play Fortnight (heck wait till its too dark out) but only so much time to work on your skill development.
Time is the only resource you cannot get back, so take advantage of it now! Have questions or comments on this article? Reach out to me on Twitter @TDC_Hockey