Kim McCullough

Three mistakes that lead to defensive disasters

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

Playing great team defense doesn’t end up on a lot of highlight reels. Sure, you’ll see bone-crushing hits and game-saving stops on the TV, but you rarely hear much about the “not-so-sexy” stuff that keeps the puck out of the net. Here are three mistakes that aren’t always the direct cause of a goal against, but are quite often the starting point where it all starts to break down.

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Are you distracted?

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

One of the biggest challenges for all hockey players is being able to stay focused throughout an entire season, game or even practice. Distractions are everywhere and with playoffs and season-ending tournaments approaching, the amount and intensity of these distractions seems to be multiplying. Every player will get distracted by different things and that’s why each player must come up with their own strategy for combating their distractions.

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How to fix the passing problem

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

High level hockey is all about quick and effective puck movement. It is rare – and usually very ineffective – to have one player carry the puck all the way down the ice. Passing the puck down the ice is always faster than having a player skate the puck down the ice. The puck always moves faster than a player can skate. Players  tend to either pass one time too many or wait until the last possible second to pass the puck, both of which lead to frustrating turnovers.

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What’s your role?

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

Every girls’ hockey player wants to be the one the coach calls upon to win a big game. Every goalie wants to be in for the games that “matter.” Every forward wants to score the game-winner and every defenseman wants to be out there in the last minute blocking shots to preserve the one-goal lead. But not every player on the team is going to get that chance. That might not be your role.

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What scouts always ask about

 

By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS

Every year, I take my players on a road trip to the States to visit NCAA schools. We do this so that they can see firsthand what college hockey is all about both on and off the ice. We typically visit three universities on the trip and watch the teams practice, play a game and get campus tours from the coaches themselves. These tours are always an amazing part of the trip as they allow our kids to ask the coaches anything and everything about the college hockey experience. One question that the girls always ask is,: “What do you look for most in players you are recruiting?” And every single coach says, “CHARACTER.”

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