The game has got its challenges and common hockey mistakes will be made.
Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in the world. Though not every country has a thriving league like the NHL or KHL, plenty of fans tune in from around the world to watch the excitement as the seasons get underway.
And despite the lack of snow and ice in certain areas, Britannica estimates there are around one million people registered to play hockey around the globe. Most of those are in recreational or amateur leagues, unlike the professional leagues. As such, each year thousands of first-time hockey players will hit the ice with plans to take that slapshot and score their first goal.
However, not everyone will have the chance to head to an ice rink and make that dream a reality. For those who do find themselves ready to participate in this great sport, whether amateur or recreational, there’s a lot to think about. After all, hockey players have much to work on the first time they suit up. As magnificent a game as it is, hockey has got its challenges and invariably common hockey mistakes will be made.
Whether it’s your first time on the ice or just your first time on a new team, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid.
Glamour versus Grit
Newcomers to hockey will quickly learn the sport isn’t as easy and glamorous as it looks; it’s a difficult game to master. Before taking to the ice, beginners might want to do a bit of research so that they can get a better understanding of the grit and tenacity that is required of the game. This way, you can avoid some of the more common hockey mistakes.
This is common for anyone starting out in any new sport or pursuit. For example, poker players who want to create a solid foundation can watch flicks like Nosebleed (2014) and Bet Raise Fold (2013). These documentaries shed light on new topics related to the industry, from the game’s legends to modern strategy.
The same can be said for hockey documentaries like Kings Ransom (2009) and Red Army (2014). They’re sure to provide any aspiring hockey player with a new appreciation for what’s to come each time they lace up their skates and step out on the ice.
Fear of the Puck
Very common among first-time hockey players is that they can be prone to getting lost in the action, while others might be afraid to touch the puck at all. In fact, many rec hockey players who join established teams might feel nervous to handle the puck, skate, or take their shot.
But, like the legendary Wayne Gretzky always said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Remember that if you’re on the right team, your teammates will support your evolution as a player.
Focus on Strengths Instead of Weaknesses
Those who are just beginning their rec hockey careers are likely to notice a particular skill early on. It might be passing accuracy, skating skills, or all-around strength and stamina. Regardless, it’s easy to stick to what we feel is most comfortable—even if it comes at the detriment of practicing new skills.
For this reason, it’s important to target areas of weakness during practice. For the most part, every player on a team will have their own specialty. However, those who are on recreational teams that skip practice will want to hit the rink on their own to practice certain skills. Most often, these revolve around the first touch of the puck, shooting accuracy, and sending passes ahead of your teammates.
Stick to the Basics
As mentioned above, ice hockey is an incredibly demanding sport. In addition to balance, speed, and quick turns on skates, players must also have the ability to follow a small black disk that moves at lightning speed. And with so much going on, it’s easy to forget about stance while in the rink.
However, remembering the basics of form is incredibly important for hockey players. Even skating without a stick or a puck requires full-body control that takes time to master. But when the action starts in a game, it’s often the first thing that goes out the window as players focus all their energy on getting a win.
But having a solid posture makes things like accelerating, passing, and anticipating your opponent easier to manage. For every hockey player, perhaps two of the most common hockey mistakes new players make is forgetting to keep your knees bent and your head up at all times.