Kim McCullough

The No. 1 weakest skill of girls’ hockey players

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

If you had to guess what the No. 1 weakest skill is of girls’ hockey players, what would it be? A few weeks back, I was sitting in a classroom, alongside elite level coaches from all over the country, listening to a presentation given by a national expert in skill development of female players. One of the coaches asked the presenter what he thought was the single biggest skill deficiency in female players. And I thought to myself, it’s got to be shooting, or the mental game, or the ability to see and use open ice. But that’s not what he said.  Without hesitation, he said “giving and receiving passes.”

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What the best stickhandlers do

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

Your ability to stickhandle effectively is a key skill that can really make you stand out in girls’ hockey. It is important to note that stickhandling isn’t all about having the fanciest moves on the ice. It’s about being able to beat people 1-on-1 while maintaining control of the puck. It’s about maximizing the distance between the player defending you and the puck so that you can beat them with speed and strength.

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The little secrets of standing out on the ice

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

If we honestly look at the way young hockey players across North America are being developed, we would be led to believe that the “more is better” philosophy holds true – especially when it comes to ice time.  If a young player aspires to reach the highest level possible, there is no question that they will need a great amount of ice time and skill in order to get there. But when we are talking about trying to separate yourself from the competition and really stand out, just getting more ice time is the easier answer. Everyone wants to skate more – because chasing that little black piece of rubber around the ice is fun.

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Your No. 1 challenge in BIG games

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

After watching two great hockey games between the Canadian and U.S. women at the Sochi Olympics, it got me thinking about the biggest challenges for players and coaches in these BIG games. Most of us are at the end of our season these days, with playoff games and state tournaments just around the corner, so hopefully this message rings true for you at this time of year. Feel free to pass it along to anyone else who you think might benefit from reading it.

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Permission to fail

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

Earlier this week, my high school players were working on full-ice 1-on-1 drills and I had to admit I was frustrated at their lack of gap control. To be fair, one of the hardest things for all hockey players to do, especially for defensemen, is to keep a tight gap in a one-on-one open-ice situation. It takes great timing, quick feet and guts to get a tight gap and keep it when just a little mistake could result in a breakaway.

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