Monday, October 4, 2010

Avoid Hockey Tryout Stress!

It's that time of year where hockey parents are stressing
over what team their kid will make. I must confess my
little secret, and that has been to install a synthetic ice
surface in my garage. I can't begin to tell you what a
difference it has made (both to my children's development,
and my stress levels!).

We have a 16 foot x 26 foot synthetic rink set up for year
round use whenever the kids feel like training, which is
usually 3-4 times per week. However with tryouts just
around the corner, they are on it at least once a day fine
tuning their skills. They find it a great tool to practice
tight turns, pivots, quick feet, stick handling, and of
course shooting and accuracy.

Our association runs a series of skills stations for the
initial few tryout sessions and the results of those
sessions are used to sort out the next groupings. Because
my kids have always practiced their skills so much at home
they usually manage to stay in the top groups which
eventually turn into the A, AA, or AAA teams. Also because
they are practicing skills ahead of the tryouts with their
skates on they go into these sessions feeling confident
about their chances. Tryouts for any team sport are
stressful enough as it is, and it's nice to see them
feeling good about their performance when the time comes.

My oldest who is now 16, clawed his way up the ranks and
eventually played Midget AAA. But he worked very hard to
get to that level. Back in the day he played house league
in both years as an Atom player. It wasn't really until he
began to practice a lot more at home on the synthetic ice
that he really came on. In particular his shot improved,
and so did his small space skills. My 12 year old daughter
who plays boys hockey has typically made AAA and AA teams
along the way competing against the top boys in her age
group. That is saying soemthing. She will be out in the
garage again tonight getting ready for her tryouts. She has
a series of drills she will practice, and I don't even help
her anymore. She'll go there and play her favourite music
and go about her 20-30 minute training session.

Before they head out to a tryout session, my kids will jump
on the synthetic ice and take 50 shots or so to get "into
it". They now understand that that if they practice at home
on the synthetic ice they feel more confident when they hit
the real ice. They like that feeling.

Having a pad of synthetic ice at home is hard to beat as a
low maintenance hockey training tool. As a hockey parent it
may be the best investment you ever make in your child's

Looking for more information on synthetic ice for your home
or commercial project? Please visit
Tim Oldfield, hockey dad and President of IcePro offers
expert advice and free estimates for your home or
commercial rink project - regardless of size or application.

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