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Let's say you're god-awful at hockey. What do you do?

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Old
01-26-2009, 08:54 AM
  #26
Ti-girl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by octopi View Post
I once went to a tryout for a beginner's woman's team, and I could tell right away I wasn't good enough.

Not that it matters, because it would be too hard for me to play unless on a preset day, which is why I was in beginner shinny. For 8 years. And never got very much better. I'm too slow ,clumsy and uncoodinated to compete except with others who started playing as adults. Obviously, I'm too big and strong and fast to play with 8 year olds(Otherwise, thats my skill level)

I did play pickup for a number of years with the attitude of " its a meaningless pickup game, if you're junior A and playing drop in, expect to have to deal with people who aren't so good" But I think i'd find it difficult to be that flippant now.

I could do that again, if I really didn't care who I cheesed off. Maybe I could just tell them I'm horrible and I only want 15 minutes, and then I'll leave.
Well the beginner's NCHL level, there is NO WAY that you would be too good. My cousin and I got taken out because we were at a totally different level, but a lot of the girls who played had never been on skates.

A few of them asked me how to put on their gear and had never seen a game, let alone play it. We had 3 aussies and 2 brits that were just starting out.

Try it, most of the girls have never skated before and those who have are really easy to get along with.

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Old
01-26-2009, 09:09 AM
  #27
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I've never had the opportunity to play ice hockey. I ice skate, and I've played hockey in the yard, but neither together!

I bet it'd be fun, even if I suck. Unless there were some big meanie jerk-faces that would think it's the end of the world.

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Old
01-26-2009, 09:51 AM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by octopi View Post
I once went to a tryout for a beginner's woman's team, and I could tell right away I wasn't good enough.

Not that it matters, because it would be too hard for me to play unless on a preset day, which is why I was in beginner shinny. For 8 years. And never got very much better. I'm too slow ,clumsy and uncoodinated to compete except with others who started playing as adults. Obviously, I'm too big and strong and fast to play with 8 year olds(Otherwise, thats my skill level)

I did play pickup for a number of years with the attitude of " its a meaningless pickup game, if you're junior A and playing drop in, expect to have to deal with people who aren't so good" But I think i'd find it difficult to be that flippant now.

I could do that again, if I really didn't care who I cheesed off. Maybe I could just tell them I'm horrible and I only want 15 minutes, and then I'll leave.
If you've dealt with people who have given you trouble because you aren't good enough in a pick-up (open hockey) game, then there are just some real deal *******s where you live. Otherwise, and I think this is the more likely case, it is all in your head. You suck, and you know it, so you assume everyone around you sees it too and look down on you for ruining their game. I assure you that half the people you are playing with feel the same way you do.

Also, the league I play in literally has 8 skill divisions. I don't know if you have a league that large available to you, but honestly if you are playing with people in D8 that look down on your skill level, the onus is on them is to move up, not on you to go home. Also, I have played on a few teams with beginners, and while I admit it can be frustrating at times, there is no better feeling than playing a part in seeing one of those players succeed (feeding them a pass for a goal, seeing them use that advice you gave them and turn it into a scoring chance, etc.).

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Old
01-26-2009, 12:24 PM
  #29
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You're frustrated because you don't think you're improving and I don't really blame you. However, you're probably not giving yourself a chance to succeed in playing, for "disorganized hockey". I started off playing pickup hockey with a group of friends and only saw mild improvement in my own play. Once I joined an organized leage I realized why.

No set positions
In pickup you often take the position of the player who last came off the ice. One shift you're a left wing and the next you're a right defenseman. Fifteen minutes in people are confused and you've got 2 or more players thinking they're the right wing. It's pure chaos. In a league you're generally playing one position. If you're a wing you may play both sides but you know your responsibilities are the same -- cover the points in your own end and get ready to begin the breakout, etc. You'll have a small set of plays you're required to make and you can focus on getting those down before trying any fancy plays. You can also pick up tips by watching other team mates who play your same position.

Less rest
If you didn't have at least 5 substitute players on the bench for your shinny games you probably gasped for breath on a few shifts. The more tired I become the slower I think and react. If you've got 3 lines of forwards and 3 defensive pairings you'll get sufficient rest to go out and play your best game. Also if you make a mistake on one shift you can go to the bench, shake it off and start fresh on your next shift.

Diverse skill levels
If you're playing pickup with a few elite players you'll probably try to measure up to them in some way. If you play with other novices you'll have a more realistic expectation of where you should be at this point in your development. Others at your level will feel inadequate, too. Gain strength from the fact that you're a faster skater than #42 but he has a stronger wrist shot. Maybe you can give each other advice on how to improve.

I could go on but you get the idea. If you truly love playing I think you should give yourself every opportunity to succeed.

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Old
01-26-2009, 12:31 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post
Low level men's leagues are not an option then? Because an adult C league would probably be your best option.

I would just play pickup. Any decent group will play with you, and the ones that aren't happy about it can suck it.
Yah, I've seen a few guys who were really ****** play pickup regularly and get better. Some guys you go back a year later and they're intermediates and you're like who is that guy? As for the rec league guys-you belong in your own division. Some teams play for fun but most sign up trying to win a championship. If you're a beginner either improve your skills or stay in the beginner leagues. I worked hard to get to where I'm at skill-wise, I don't want to play with beginners in rec leagues if I'm shelling out $400.

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Old
01-26-2009, 12:43 PM
  #31
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I used to suck, but then I started playing outdoor shinny regularly and I'm 10x better than when I started. The only way you're going to get better is by playing. It doesn't matter if you're not any good, just focus on basics at first, and you'll definitely improve. Go practice with friends when there's not as many people on the rink, just trading passes and taking shots. Nobody cares if you're no good, remember that

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Old
01-26-2009, 12:47 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chef View Post
around here, just go to a park, lace up the skates, grab your stick and play. no matter what age or skill level.

i've seen 5 on 5 on outdoor park rinks with players aged 8 - 65+
This is good advice, and it's totally true. When I go out to play there's tons of old farts out there that are definitely far older than you are, and half of them stink anyway

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Old
01-26-2009, 01:04 PM
  #33
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If guys are infuriated about lesser skilled players playing shinny they need a head shake. I just play pickup twice a week now with guys ranging from 18-45 years old and all sorts of skill levels from guys that used to play semi pro, to former junior players to begginers. Its all about who your out there with. This year alone we've had 4 guys that havent played since they were in minor hockey come out and you'll always see someone giving them tips or trying to set them up for a goal.

My advice would be to find a group of guys that just enjoy to play the game. Even if its not as competitive as you'd like it's always a good time

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Old
01-26-2009, 02:18 PM
  #34
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Find an adult league, do the beginner league (usually has some on and off ice instruction), and keep playing.

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Old
01-26-2009, 03:19 PM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by octopi View Post




What would you do?
2. Play pickup, with all skill levels. This is infuriating, I've found, to the more skilled players(everyone else). I've got horrible co-ordination and can't take a pass in a game, am not as fast as other people and can't cross over well(Spinal curvature really affects this,as it gives me uneven gait, even though its pretty much unnoticable in regular life)

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Old
01-26-2009, 04:50 PM
  #36
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To the OP: Just keep playing. Who cares what anyone else really thinks. Its obvious that your insecurities about your performance are not only interfering with your natural progression, but also with your enjoyment. I know this is tough to overcome. I just started playing 3 years ago (I'm 28 now) and it was hard to go and practice basics when 10 year olds were firing slap shots from the blueline. But, it is what it is. You're not going to get better by sitting there. I found that I progressed the fastest when I played more - go figure! When I got to the point where I could actually hang with much better players, even though exhausting, I found it forced me to up my game and as a result, improved even more. You just have to keep doing it, and keep reminding yourself that you're playing because you love the game and not because you think you're going to be the next great one.

Also, as someone else pointed out, is you have to find your strengths and weaknesses. Work on your weaknesses, but exploit your strengths. I'm not the greatest technical skater in the world, but I'm pretty fast - so I use it (forechecking, backchecking, etc...). I have trouble wristing a shot high, but I can snap it high everytime. So I exploit the hell out of that. Not only can I put the puck the top corners 99% of the time, but goalies have so much trouble with snap shots, especially when they're released in stride.

So there ya go man, practice as much as possible, and find your niche!

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Old
01-27-2009, 12:59 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by octopi View Post

2. Play pickup, with all skill levels. This is infuriating, I've found, to the more skilled players(everyone else). I've got horrible co-ordination and can't take a pass in a game, am not as fast as other people and can't cross over well(Spinal curvature really affects this,as it gives me uneven gait, even though its pretty much unnoticable in regular life)
Just looking at this point you made I think there's plenty that you can do to take control of your hockey development if you are able to devote the time and energy:

You say horrible coordination, I say weak fine motor skill.
You can improve this with a tennis ball and an old stick. Practice controlling the ball, pushing it right, pushing it left. Slide your lower hand down and "dribble" closer to your body. Pass to yourself against a wall. Bounce it in the air and then knock it out of the air with your stick. Start using those lesser muscles in your forearm and wrist and train your brain to read and react.

You say you can't accept a pass. I say you can accept a pass if you see it coming.
Make sure you always know where the puck is when you're on the ice, keep your stick on the ice and two hands on your stick -- these are most important. You're not quick enough to bring the stick down from waist high and you're not strong enough to take a hard pass with only your top hand on the stick. Also, make sure you've got the right size stick for the lie of your blade. I've missed a good number of passes because my stick blade wasn't flat on the ice. I had mine shortened and the results are much better.

You say you're slow. I say, "Are you power skating?"
You can sprint like Marion Jones (minus the steroids) if you want. Make sure you turn your toes out, plant your inside edges and then explode off the starting blocks! Be sure to take powerful strides while you're skating -- don't just glide. Off ice you can do lunges, squats, etc to condition your leg muscles to give you more power. FWIW I've got short legs (I'm 5ft5in) and I'm heavy (207lbs) for my size and I know these things slow me down. But there are guys on my team who are much taller and thinner than I that I'm sure I could beat in a race. IMO the skater with the better form will win more often than not.

You say you can't cross over. I say, "So?"
It's definitely a plus but it's not required. Leaning left or right and putting the inside foot forward is another way to turn. Also, a shuffle step (not quite crossing over) might be another option. You may never have the agility of a Sergei Samsonov but I don't think it will hamper your play very much. My only concern is that you might blame your condition for not being able to cross over so you never practice it.

Feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions. I'm no expert but as a guy who started playing in my 30's I've done a lot of reading and practicing to get as good as I can as quickly as I can.

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01-28-2009, 02:34 PM
  #38
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I started playing on ice one year ago at the age of 29, and I was terrible. I played roughly 3 pickup games a week over the past year, and now I'm respectable, and I'm getting ready to join a league.

In other words, play pickup regularly.

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Old
01-28-2009, 05:14 PM
  #39
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I hadn't played hockey for 22 years...

Then at age 35 picked it up again. I play in a C level league and I was the worst player on the team 3 years ago. So I just played as much as I could. I played in a WED morning pick up game that was above my level but was a great workout. Also played a SUN pickup that was closer to my level. Then I tried to skate 1-2x's a week at my local park rink.

Wouldn't you know...I did get better and actually scored my first hatrick the other night in my league game

Stick with it and SKATE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Watch it as well. Just being in the right place is a huge help too. You will get better!

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Old
01-28-2009, 06:52 PM
  #40
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Play pickup. Playing with better players will make you better. I'm back into hockey and I was starting out playing a few times a week with people that were worse than me. Then I played a few times with a few guys that could skate circles around me.

Now I'm their designated set-up man because I can keep up with them, pass to the tape, and can stick handle around any forechecking forwards. I can hold onto the puck until one of them is where they're supposed to be, and when they get to where they should be, they know the puck will be coming soon enough.

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Old
01-29-2009, 01:57 PM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosbyfan View Post
2. Play Pick up. Tell the infuriated players to get a life (or go back to the NHL where they obviously belong)
Best advice here.
Most 'good' players already play in 'good' leagues.
Shinny hockey is meant to be fun and for everyone to try different things or even to learn to play the game.

I know it's easier said than done Octipi, but if these jerks get ticked it's their problem, not yours.

I'm not a fantastic player either, but I get by. However, I have some friends that never played organized hockey or even skated.

I started renting the ice on weekends and a lot of these guys come. We have a variety of players with varying skill. Some are good, some are bad. But everyone is having fun because it's only a pick-up game. In fact, most of the good players allow the weaker ones to skate by when they have the puck allowing them the time to learn puck skills and have a chance to score.

Try to find something like that.
Don't give it up. It's way too fun a sport to stop playing at your age.
I plan on playing into my 60's and hopefully beyond.

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Old
01-29-2009, 06:46 PM
  #42
Mr Jiggyfly
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Octipi,

Are you male or female?

I am guessing female because you said you tried out for a female hockey team (ya I'm sharp as a spoon).

Just asking because I have been playing since I was young and have found that even the hotdog, wannabe superstars are always patient with female players - not that it should matter though.

I learned long ago that there are players out there way better than me, eventhough I am a pretty good player and guess what - 99% of the people you will play pickup with fall into the same category.

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Old
01-29-2009, 06:59 PM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptyNetter View Post
You're frustrated because you don't think you're improving and I don't really blame you. However, you're probably not giving yourself a chance to succeed in playing, for "disorganized hockey". I started off playing pickup hockey with a group of friends and only saw mild improvement in my own play. Once I joined an organized leage I realized why.

No set positions
In pickup you often take the position of the player who last came off the ice. One shift you're a left wing and the next you're a right defenseman. Fifteen minutes in people are confused and you've got 2 or more players thinking they're the right wing. It's pure chaos. In a league you're generally playing one position. If you're a wing you may play both sides but you know your responsibilities are the same -- cover the points in your own end and get ready to begin the breakout, etc. You'll have a small set of plays you're required to make and you can focus on getting those down before trying any fancy plays. You can also pick up tips by watching other team mates who play your same position.

Less rest
If you didn't have at least 5 substitute players on the bench for your shinny games you probably gasped for breath on a few shifts. The more tired I become the slower I think and react. If you've got 3 lines of forwards and 3 defensive pairings you'll get sufficient rest to go out and play your best game. Also if you make a mistake on one shift you can go to the bench, shake it off and start fresh on your next shift.

Diverse skill levels
If you're playing pickup with a few elite players you'll probably try to measure up to them in some way. If you play with other novices you'll have a more realistic expectation of where you should be at this point in your development. Others at your level will feel inadequate, too. Gain strength from the fact that you're a faster skater than #42 but he has a stronger wrist shot. Maybe you can give each other advice on how to improve.

I could go on but you get the idea. If you truly love playing I think you should give yourself every opportunity to succeed.
I play pickup hockey here at school in Plattsburgh...we have a lot of good talents, and IMO playing with that kind of talent makes you better as long as the ones on yours ide don't just ignore you. Luckily here we have a very friendly group of guys(and gals) and the better players look to set up the "weaker" players more often than they try to score.

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Old
01-29-2009, 08:09 PM
  #44
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#2 and #4.

I went from player who did nothing but skate around to a decent overall player by practicing by myself and playing in pick up games.

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Old
01-30-2009, 07:34 AM
  #45
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Play pick up. I'm 25 and started learning around 6 months ago. I'd never skated before and i play for a rec team. I'm not a quick skater, ok at handling and my slapshots need a lot of work but i enjoy playing the game.

A lot of the guys on my team are ex-pro and others are full time ice skating/hockey coaches. They all lend tips and hints where they can and i've leant loads with them.

Don't give up. Just play and have fun!

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Old
01-30-2009, 10:59 AM
  #46
EmptyNetter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerFan10 View Post
I play pickup hockey here at school in Plattsburgh...we have a lot of good talents, and IMO playing with that kind of talent makes you better as long as the ones on yours ide don't just ignore you. Luckily here we have a very friendly group of guys(and gals) and the better players look to set up the "weaker" players more often than they try to score.
I'm not down on pickup hockey but different groups, and there's usually a lot of regulars, will have a different tolerance level for novice players. I've never felt so welcomed by a bunch of strangers as in some pickup hockey games. However, some groups will make you feel like you've crashed a private party.

I still think the best learning experience, at least for a novice like me, is to start in a beginner's league that has an eye toward teaching. Everybody starts at the same basic skill level so there's no concept of the star who always carries the puck and he's doing you a favor if he passes to you. If your team can set up private practice sessions then it's all the better. Work on individual skills at your own pace, do drills so you can learn and eventually perfect your skills that you've been having trouble with.

If you try to learn everything at once you can end up learning nothing. Better to be a role player who does one or two things well than to try and do everything and do it poorly. Once you learn how to learn and see that hard work pays off it's much more satisfying to develop other parts of your game. JMHO

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01-30-2009, 12:53 PM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptyNetter View Post
I'm not down on pickup hockey but different groups, and there's usually a lot of regulars, will have a different tolerance level for novice players. I've never felt so welcomed by a bunch of strangers as in some pickup hockey games. However, some groups will make you feel like you've crashed a private party.

I still think the best learning experience, at least for a novice like me, is to start in a beginner's league that has an eye toward teaching. Everybody starts at the same basic skill level so there's no concept of the star who always carries the puck and he's doing you a favor if he passes to you. If your team can set up private practice sessions then it's all the better. Work on individual skills at your own pace, do drills so you can learn and eventually perfect your skills that you've been having trouble with.

If you try to learn everything at once you can end up learning nothing. Better to be a role player who does one or two things well than to try and do everything and do it poorly. Once you learn how to learn and see that hard work pays off it's much more satisfying to develop other parts of your game. JMHO
A combination of both is best if you ask me. I feel that you can only learn so much in beginner leagues being that they'll always be just that, beginner leagues. I agree very strongly with you that pick-up is all about the group, even though I can hold my own at most pick-up sessions now there are some groups I've played with that I just don't have any fun because some of the guys are idiots. Pick-up allows you to work on specific things much more than beginner leagues do when it comes to skating, stickhandling, anything like that. Beginner leagues are a little better to practice positioning and all...but the beginner leagues I've played in, playing your position is sometimes pointless as the other 4 guys on the ice have no clue what they're doing.

I started in beginner leagues, started doing pickup and worked my way up the levels on the same team. It's a rare thing to be able to do but it's made me much better. Our team started in E and went to D, then C, then B, and we're still in B but we have dabbled in A...and the league we play with has only A, B, and C and there are interdivisional games during the superseason(16 games). Better competition makes you better once you get a few basic things down and better teammates both talentwise and support wise, makes you a world better.

At pick-up, I suggest telling guys you're fairly new to the sport. Just casually on the bench. Ask them for advice if you have questions and stuff like that. I know there are always a few that take pick-up far too seriously but most guys are just looking to play some hockey , have some fun, and get away from life for a few hours.

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Old
01-31-2009, 02:04 AM
  #48
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I'm in the same boat.

I never really played Ice Hockey or skated in my life, however I been playing ball hockey since I came to Canada at the age of 8. I know the game well I've played competitve ball hockey for many years and now at the age of 23 have tried to learn how to skate and play ice hockey.

I've been skating about 10 times and have improved a lot from the first time I stepped on the ice, Im learning how to stop right now I still can't do the crossovers or skate backwards but my forward strides are improving. I go out every week 2 or 3 times skating in the local rink. I also rent a rink on saturday nights and have my buddies come play most of us are beginners in ice hockey but everyone of us have played ball hockey. However there are few guys who play ice hockey and they are younger than me but these guys DONT PASS THE PUCK. All they do is skate with puck and when they get close to the goal than maybe they'll pass, but usually they just try to score.

Its frustrating skating up and down the ice but never recieving the puck its not like I can skate backwards and defend them they just blow by me. Last week I told the guy it might be more fun if he pass the puck once a while rather than rushing it down the ice, he replied by saying "it's not my fault I'm too skilled, I'm not going to change the way I play". I never said anything back, so i'm thinking about not calling him next week, however the problem is he calls both of the goaltenders, so if he doesnt come we will be without goalies.

I still struggle to take a slap shot with skates on, but my wrist shot and snap shot are fine there not as good as they would be off the ice but they are improving drastically. Whenever I do get the puck I try to stickhandle with it and look around to make a play, I can still stickhandle through opposing players, but they usually catch me fast because of my skating. I'm just trying to have fun and learn something new each and everytime I play, and try to become a better skater, I think thats my biggest problem on the ice.

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01-31-2009, 08:33 AM
  #49
Mr Jiggyfly
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Originally Posted by TH3 RIDDL3R View Post
I'm in the same boat.

I never really played Ice Hockey or skated in my life, however I been playing ball hockey since I came to Canada at the age of 8. I know the game well I've played competitve ball hockey for many years and now at the age of 23 have tried to learn how to skate and play ice hockey.

I've been skating about 10 times and have improved a lot from the first time I stepped on the ice, Im learning how to stop right now I still can't do the crossovers or skate backwards but my forward strides are improving. I go out every week 2 or 3 times skating in the local rink. I also rent a rink on saturday nights and have my buddies come play most of us are beginners in ice hockey but everyone of us have played ball hockey. However there are few guys who play ice hockey and they are younger than me but these guys DONT PASS THE PUCK. All they do is skate with puck and when they get close to the goal than maybe they'll pass, but usually they just try to score.

Its frustrating skating up and down the ice but never recieving the puck its not like I can skate backwards and defend them they just blow by me. Last week I told the guy it might be more fun if he pass the puck once a while rather than rushing it down the ice, he replied by saying "it's not my fault I'm too skilled, I'm not going to change the way I play". I never said anything back, so i'm thinking about not calling him next week, however the problem is he calls both of the goaltenders, so if he doesnt come we will be without goalies.
What a tool... I wonder how "skilled" he would be playing agt. guys who weren't just learning to skate.

I actually have a friend who gets off on playing agt. less talented players because it makes him look good... it is actually kind of sad.

If the guy has an attitude like that, there isn't much you can do really, except not invite him... but as you said he knows the goalies.

You could try what I just did recently...

Last week in a pond hockey shinny game I jumped into, the first team I was on was really talented... we passed the puck all around the other team and scored like a dozen goals in the first 5 minutes or so... it was fun and we were so dominant because we all passed.

So the other team's goalie nicely asked us to even things out... me and two other guys went on the other team... now they had this really good player who kept trying to beat all of us in the last game and didn't pass...

I figured he would start to pass to me and the other guys who just jumped on his team for the new game... since he saw how well we worked together agt. his team....

Ya... I was wrong. In the beginning I kept hitting all of the open gaps and waiting for him to pass to me... I literally got in position for a breakaway a dozen times and he never looked at me once...

He would take the puck all the way from our end to the other end.. trying to beat 3-4 guys at a time... sometimes he would beat them.. but most times he lost the puck and I had to hull ass to get back on D...

I eventually got so fed up with him that when he got the puck I would go down on one knee and just watch him.

He obviously noticed me and everyone on the other team was laughing a little when they skated past me... so after doing this a few times he finally passed to me and got the msg.

After that he became a passing machine...

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Old
01-31-2009, 04:14 PM
  #50
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Originally Posted by TH3 RIDDL3R View Post
however the problem is he calls both of the goaltenders, so if he doesnt come we will be without goalies.
Try to get their numbers directly and after a few times just start calling them directly.

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