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Adapting to playing hockey vs. other sports

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03-25-2010, 12:11 PM
  #1
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Adapting to playing hockey vs. other sports

As someone new to playing ice hockey, I must say that it requires a far thicker skin, more patience, and ability to accept frustration than any other sport I've tried.

For instance, I played basketball for 20 years, and in that sport, a good player shoots about 50% from the field, and rarely - assuming they have a decent handle - gets the ball stolen from them while dribbling around people for an open jumper or to drive to the basket.

With hockey, the percentages for accomplishing anything are far lower, where even Ovechkin will score on a very low percentage of shots on goal, and have slow moving defensemen either steal the puck from him by either knocking it away or him off the puck.

In the "assessing the talent of a 7 year" thread near this one, it was mentioned that the kid in question does not get frustrated, curse or look up at the ceiling when he screws up - all things I do in spades right now as a beginner.

I knew the sport would be a challenge when I decided to give it a go a few months back, but like a hitter in baseball, you are supposed to fail most of the time at most of the things you try to do on the ice.

In BB, I reached a skill level where I could pretty much do what I wanted on the court, but in hockey, you have to expect to fail - and not get upset or despondent over it, and I have to admit that that has been a challenge so far...

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03-25-2010, 12:52 PM
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I think hockey is the most difficult sport to get decent at for sure and it takes a lot of ice time.

You seem to get the idea though that not everything you try will work out in a game. It is important to realize that for sure or else a beginner would want to quit because it is too hard to be perfect.

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03-25-2010, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Hockeyfan68 View Post
I think hockey is the most difficult sport to get decent at for sure and it takes a lot of ice time.

You seem to get the idea though that not everything you try will work out in a game. It is important to realize that for sure or else a beginner would want to quit because it is too hard to be perfect.
It doesn't help that I'm in my forties, but it did seem that other sports were easier and faster to get better at. Having to get on the ice/not having a lot of spare time like in my teens/early 20s is a huge obstacle to getting better as well.

I love to play, but other total beginners need to understand you will utterly suck at the beginning, and unless you are on the ice with good coaching several times per week, you will get better only very slowly.

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03-25-2010, 02:01 PM
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I find the the fastest way to learn is do things in stages. Ofcourse when you're at pickup/stick n puck/league games, you tend to practice everything, but concentrate on skating 1st. Once you're very stable on your feet, then work on puck handling, after that puck receiving, then shooting. I find that it sped up my development as a hockey player compare to other noobs who started at the same time.

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03-25-2010, 02:11 PM
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Skating is a key skill in hockey. In today's NHL, it's hard to find an elite player who isn't a great skater as well.

If you're going to practice anything, practice skating. Shooting, passing, stickhandling, and your decision making (revolves around your ability to play heads up hockey) all rely on your ability to skate. You want to reach the point where you can take your mind off of skating (it becomes instinctive) and start thinking more about what you're doing on the ice.

Even for a beginner or a beer league player... there's almost always improvements to be made from becoming a better skater. I've been playing for about five years and skating for six... and I'm still considered a lousy skater. What I do have is good size/reach and enough hockey sense to make plays.

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03-25-2010, 02:27 PM
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Joined an adult beginner's league. Everybody on my team is new to hockey, and while we're playing other D-league teams, they've all been together several years, while we've been together 8 weeks.

So far we've lost 1-10, 7-10 (the other team wasn't trying and played the game with 5 skaters and no goalie, they even had a few own goals to help us) 1-9, and 2-11

Had a few beers with one of the other teams and they said their first year they not only lost all their games, but were outscored 250 - 15

We've all been walking for 30-40 years. Most of us on the team I'm on have only been skating for about 6 months. Playing any other sport, be it Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Lacrosse, etc, you already know the method of movement for the sport; running/walking. So combine all the other things you need to know to play hockey, from the stickwork, to the positioning, and add in the need to learn how to skate, and it becomes very tough indeed.

Some days it feels like putting a 15 year old without a driver's license behind the wheel in a Nascar race.

The key is remembering the positive, and forgetting the rest. Remembering the good poke check, or the clean pass to set up a teammate (even if he didn't score) the good shot block (so what if it was because I tripped, I still blocked the shot ) managing a couple backwards crossovers, hitting the goalie with the shot (instead of it being wide) etc.

Hockey is not something you can pick up as an adult if you're hard on yourself. Take it easy, and have fun. I used to think "Oh I'll learn to skate (like it would take a week to learn) play a few games, and then I'll be good." I had 2 lessons a week, and was going to 3 other open skates a week. So, on the ice 5 days a week, and was disappointed at my apparent lack of progress. Everybody was telling me I was picking it up very quickly, but the more I learned, the more I realized I still needed to learn and that did become frustrating.

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03-25-2010, 04:20 PM
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Hockey is hard, mostly because skating is unnatural and it takes a long time to get to the point where skating is instinctive and you will be able to not need to think about skating anymore.
Hockey is more difficult than other sports also because the pace of the game is so much quicker. Due to the fact that the game is played on ice and because a puck is much smaller and lighter than a football or basketball; the speed of the game is so much more sped up.


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03-25-2010, 06:16 PM
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work on your skating. go for public skates 3 times a week if you can. that the real key to your troubles, worry about stick handling and shooting along the way.

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03-25-2010, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seanconn View Post
work on your skating. go for public skates 3 times a week if you can. that the real key to your troubles, worry about stick handling and shooting along the way.
what do you guys do when you go to open skates so often? i go and try to work on things like crossovers, but i just can't seem to do more than one in a row..., so i wonder what a beginner's practice routine might look like. sometimes i feel like i am not improving, but i know i am, considering i can now skate around and stuff instead of just falling over when i get on the ice

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03-25-2010, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kirsi View Post
what do you guys do when you go to open skates so often? i go and try to work on things like crossovers, but i just can't seem to do more than one in a row..., so i wonder what a beginner's practice routine might look like. sometimes i feel like i am not improving, but i know i am, considering i can now skate around and stuff instead of just falling over when i get on the ice
well for someone trying to improve crossover, you should start first one a blue or red line, lift your left skate over your right, drag your right foot back into place... and repeat process till your on the other half of the rink. do it again to the left side.


once you can do that without stumbling and going straight across the line, move onto the circles, and try to do crosscuts around the circles. if your going counter clockwise, which most people find easier.. just remember to be pushing hard with your right foot, then cross that foot over your left foot, then step forward. It's important that you are pushing out to the side and you can feel yourself gaining speed from each push with your right foot. your left foot should be doing nothing more than keeping you straight on the circle.


try to keep on the circles, and don't get frustrated. try to do the proper technique and it will only get easier.

also, don't be afraid to skate backwards... unless there is just a **** tonne of ppl out there.

When I go to public skates... which i only went to one this year because id been off skates for a year and a half, is basically zip around the rink weaving in and out of people skating like slow pokes haha. it can be a pretty good workout and a lot of fun actually.

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03-25-2010, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirsi View Post
what do you guys do when you go to open skates so often? i go and try to work on things like crossovers, but i just can't seem to do more than one in a row..., so i wonder what a beginner's practice routine might look like. sometimes i feel like i am not improving, but i know i am, considering i can now skate around and stuff instead of just falling over when i get on the ice
I'm just learning how to skate, been out there to public skate 4 or 5 times a week for maybe a month now. I generally end up focusing on a particular aspect or two of skating and just working on it the whole skate time (mix it up some so it's not monotonous). Say you want to learn crossovers, just dedicate most of one session to trying to get it down. Sometimes it never clicks on your own and in that case you can find an iceguard or a friendly looking skater (who looks like they know how to do it) and ask for a tip or two to get you started. Some people will even be kind enough to help you out throughout the session. Work on the simple things first until they're easy, then move up. Practice, practice, practice. And don't be afraid to ask for tips.

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03-26-2010, 12:29 AM
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I would definitely recommend getting your skating down first. Here is a stat that I found by the OMHA talking about in a hockey game - "Players will have the puck on their stick for an average of 8 seconds per game. "

Compare that to how much time you spend skating! Get your skating down, practice changing directions a lot, and quickly. Stop and starts, and turning / crossovers.

You will likely find that the better you are at skating, the more you will get the puck because you will be able to get open for a pass more often, and you will be able to get to the loose pucks faster.

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03-26-2010, 08:17 AM
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It's the ice, it's makes everything harder. I've always told people, everyone can run and jump, but not everyone can skate. If you can't skate....you can't play.

Skating is HUGE! Even if you aren't the best player being able to skate well will make a big difference. Skating gets you into the play and allows you to do more things while you're on the ice. It's the one skill set you really can't live without and it's hard to hide. You can get by with a crappy shot (pass first), bad hands (don't dangle), and little hockey sense (play smart positional hockey).

Think how hard basketball would be if you didn't know how to run and jump...

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03-26-2010, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by beavboyz View Post
I would definitely recommend getting your skating down first. Here is a stat that I found by the OMHA talking about in a hockey game - "Players will have the puck on their stick for an average of 8 seconds per game. "

Compare that to how much time you spend skating! Get your skating down, practice changing directions a lot, and quickly. Stop and starts, and turning / crossovers.

You will likely find that the better you are at skating, the more you will get the puck because you will be able to get open for a pass more often, and you will be able to get to the loose pucks faster.
One of THE best posts I've read on HFB. My thread has been hijacked a bit, but to read this post was worth it...

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03-26-2010, 09:26 AM
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One of THE best posts I've read on HFB. My thread has been hijacked a bit, but to read this post was worth it...
My bad... I feel bad starting other threads, lol.

Yeah, I agree with your original post. Hockey is hard because people have to learn to skate to be good. /unhijack (?)

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03-26-2010, 10:14 AM
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In the "assessing the talent of a 7 year" thread near this one, it was mentioned that the kid in question does not get frustrated, curse or look up at the ceiling when he screws up - all things I do in spades right now as a beginner.
Geeze....I have been playing for the better part of 20 years and I can't remember a game where I haven't looked at the ceiling after messing up lol.

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03-26-2010, 10:47 AM
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Geeze....I have been playing for the better part of 20 years and I can't remember a game where I haven't looked at the ceiling after messing up lol.
I was watching the islander game last night - a sign of low intelligence, low expectations, and an immense desire for self-applied punishment - and saw an isle rookie D-man gave up the puck right to a Calgary player right in front of the net, and who should have easily scored.

Did the guy look up and beat his fists on the ice like i did after falling one time? No, he just kept his composure and stayed in the play - but probably got ribbed on the bench for making such a bad play.

In b-ball, your emotions are all out front, everyone can see each other's face, the game is alot slower, and your percentages of success much higher. Hockey is a much more stressful game, so maybe its better I started now in my 40s, when I'm a more mature person, than in my teens or 20s, when I would have been far quicker to fly off the handle when I screwed up...

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03-26-2010, 10:52 AM
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My bad... I feel bad starting other threads, lol.

Yeah, I agree with your original post. Hockey is hard because people have to learn to skate to be good. /unhijack (?)
That's alright, I grant you an official "HF Board Thread Hijack" pass, which can be redeemed at the next "Mike Milbury NY islander fan-sponsored appreciation day" luncheon...


Last edited by nystromshairstylist: 03-26-2010 at 04:48 PM.
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03-26-2010, 11:27 AM
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Did the guy look up and beat his fists on the ice like i did after falling one time? No, he just kept his composure and stayed in the play - but probably got ribbed on the bench for making such a bad play.
The important thing you seem to forget is that when you screw up in the NHL, you damn sure better be doing something to fix your mess, you don't have time to stand around and contemplate your mistake. All you can do is keep playing and beat yourself up later when you're not on the ice.

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03-26-2010, 11:41 AM
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I was watching the islander game last night - a sign of low intelligence, low expectations, and an immense desire for self-applied punishment - and saw an isle rookie D-man gave up the puck right to a Calgary player right in front of the net, and who should have easily scored.

Did the guy look up and beat his fists on the ice like i did after falling one time? No, he just kept his composure and stayed in the play - but probably got ribbed on the bench for making such a bad play.

In b-ball, your emotions are all out front, everyone can see each other's face, the game is alot slower, and your percentages of success much higher. Hockey is a much more stressful game, so maybe its better I started now in my 40s, when I'm a more mature person, than in my teens or 20s, when I would have been far quicker to fly off the handle when I screwed up...
We have the exact same problem on my team, all the damn time our defensemen decide that they want to pass up the middle or walk the puck out of our own zone only to lose it. I've screamed about this every friggin game, and still at least once someone will try the same bonehead play!

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03-26-2010, 11:58 AM
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first things first!

you need to learn allot of different skills to be even remotely good at hockey,

First learn to skate use your edges, and skate backwards fast.

Next thing I would work on would be passing. If you are going to get any points on the board as a newbie it's probably going to be an assist.

After skating I would say stick handling. if you can skate and pass then moving the puck would be of great help.

Then you are ready to shoot the puck. if you can't get the puck to the net you are probably not going to be able to make a shot from the blue line either.

Once you have that stuff down you might actually score your first goal that wasn't at least partly luck

We still have things to learn like hockey sense and playing positions on the ice.

I compare playing hockey to juggling, while in a WWII dogfight, on skis playing dodgeball with cannonballs.

when you fall just laugh it off and keep going. you will get it if you want it.

good luck, and most of all have fun.

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03-26-2010, 12:00 PM
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With all sports I have been a part of, there is a law of diminishing returns so it's the first part of the learning curve that I enjoy the most where the improvements in skills are most pronounced.

Accepting that you will fall over and over is tolerable because each week you make rapid gains in your abilities. The condition is that you have to work hard and devour every bit of information you can find.

This usually lasts for a period of about 5 years until I run into physical limitations or the amount of effort put in is no longer worth the gain in skill. I do agree, hockey is a difficult sport to learn compared to some of the others I have done but worth every minute.

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03-26-2010, 12:14 PM
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Yeah, I'm 20 and currently learning the game (roller though) and wow is it tricky. I was never sporty at school but thought I'd like to get into this, so gave it a shot. One thing I CANNOT do at all, is skate backwards. I ice skate recreationally, and can do so on ice, but on wheels? No chance. And I thought, "Oh it's OK, I won't need it in a game, I can pick it up later." Played my first scrimmage last Saturday and BOY did I wish I could just throw it into reverse! I need help man! And the best/worst part is, I'm currently training with kids (it's a mixed group but not many adults can make it regularly) and they can skate circles round me!

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03-26-2010, 12:28 PM
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Yeah, I'm 20 and currently learning the game (roller though) and wow is it tricky. I was never sporty at school but thought I'd like to get into this, so gave it a shot. One thing I CANNOT do at all, is skate backwards. I ice skate recreationally, and can do so on ice, but on wheels? No chance. And I thought, "Oh it's OK, I won't need it in a game, I can pick it up later." Played my first scrimmage last Saturday and BOY did I wish I could just throw it into reverse! I need help man! And the best/worst part is, I'm currently training with kids (it's a mixed group but not many adults can make it regularly) and they can skate circles round me!
To funny!

I started playing at age 44, I have some natural ability skating and had been skating on and off, roller and ice since I was 3, but the rest took time to learn. I'm just now becoming consistent with wristers and snapshots. and I'm just now developing a slapshot

When I say "natural ability skating" I still sucked wind in a game but it has helped me improve faster than some over the last 2.5 years.

Skate as often as you can and skate without the stick. just focus on doing one thing and do it until you get it right. then move on to the next thing you want to learn skating. Like first week learn to cross your right foot over your left in a turn then when you feel comfortable with that work on crossing over your left foot the other direction. crossovers will help you with backwards skating too.

Just make sure you are well padded and safe while working on skating.

Have fun!

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03-26-2010, 01:05 PM
  #25
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do lots of squats and work out on a balance ball. once your legs are super strong, it makes skating a lot easier.

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