Thread: Beginners: Tips for Beginners
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06-06-2013, 05:38 PM
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In addition to all the tips regarding getting as much time on the ice as you can -- skating and getting comfortable manipulating a puck -- if you're playing drop-in or pickup, I'd offer this:

Try to look up and pick out a pass as soon as you can.

The reasoning: I play drop-in three or four times a week, and what I often see is a kind of vicious cycle: You've got guys of all skill levels out there (at the rinks I play at, it's people who are learning to play all the way up to ex-D1 and -junior skaters), which naturally means your LTP-type guy will get virtually zero time on the puck. When it does happen to land on his stick, this player tends to stare down directly at it and try to hold it as long as he possibly can (not very long, usually), after which his teammates are highly unlikely to share the puck with him again.

Sad, but true. And I can't say I blame the LTP skater for trying to get as much time per touch as he possibly can; it's just that the thinking needs to be reversed. Play within your limits and establish early on that you're there to learn to play the "right" way, which is to say, passing and catching passes and keeping your head up and trying to position yourself properly.

Flashy puck-hogging pickup players, even highly skilled ones, are unbelievably annoying to play with. Passing-and-moving is the essence of the game; if you make it a priority from the get-go, a lot of the rest will take care of itself. Plus, your teammates, even at drop-in, are sure to appreciate it. I'd MUCH rather play with an unselfish LTPer than the idiot in the tinted visor who does nothing but admire his own dangles all day.

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