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Ways to improve your Players HockeyIQ ...

Improving HockeyIQ and game awareness can significantly enhance your performance on the ice. Here are some tips to help you develop these skills:

1. Watch and analyze games: Watch professional and college hockey games, paying close attention to players' positioning, decision-making, and overall game strategy. Analyze different situations, such as power plays, penalty kills, and offensive/defensive transitions, to better understand the game at a deeper level. Emulate the smart plays you see on TV and incorporate them into your practices and games.

2. Learn from experienced players and coaches: Seek advice from experienced players and coaches who can provide insights on game strategy, positioning, and decision-making. Find players on your team that are doing things the right way or always seem to make the right play, and pick their brains. These players and coaches can help you understand the game's nuances and offer valuable tips to improve your Hockey IQ.

3. Anticipate plays: Part of being a good hockey player is being able to recognize where the play and the puck are going, As Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player to ever

Wayne Gretzky was a Master of HockeyIQ

play the game said, "Don't skate to where the puck is; skate to where it is going" Try to anticipate plays before they happen by reading the game and the players around you. This requires observing body language, recognizing patterns, and understanding the game's flow. Anticipation allows you to make quick decisions and be in the right position to support your team or make a play.

4. Study game footage: One of the best ways to learn from your mistakes is to see them. Most people are visual learners, and seeing plays where you were out of position or could have given more effort will help you learn quickly what you need to work on. Have a parent or friend record your games and/or practices and review the footage to identify areas where you could have made better decisions or positioned yourself more effectively. This self-analysis will help you recognize patterns and make better choices in similar situations in the future.

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4. Play different positions: This one may be tough as you get older as player positions tend to be more locked in. However, as a younger player, if your coach allows, try playing different positions, even temporarily; this can broaden your understanding of the game. It allows you to see the game from different angles and appreciate the roles and responsibilities of each position. This knowledge can help you make better decisions on the ice, no matter which position you play.

6. Improve your hockey sense: Hockey sense refers to reading and understanding the game instinctively. It comes with experience, but you can also work on it by playing in different game situations and constantly challenging yourself. Focus on improving your peripheral vision, awareness of time and space, and understanding of offensive and defensive positioning.

7. Communicate effectively: Good communication is so important. I always tell my players you need to be vocal when they're on the ice, not only in calling for the puck when they're open but also by using their voice to let teammates see what they can't see. Develop the habit of constantly communicating on the ice, whether calling for the puck, providing updates to your teammates, or giving instructions. Effective communication ensures everyone is on the same page and can lead to better decision-making and overall team play. We wrote a whole article on this topic entitled, On ice communication is vital to a player's success ... click here to read the article.

8. Play in competitive leagues: Playing in competitive leagues exposes you to a higher level of play, which helps improve your HockeyIQ and game awareness. The faster pace and higher skill level will force you to think and react quicker, thereby enhancing your understanding of the game.

Remember, improving HockeyIQ and game awareness takes time and practice. Be patient, stay committed, and continuously seek opportunities to learn and grow as a player.


Coach Kevin

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