Spicing Up Exercise is Important

The HockeyShot Slide Board Pro was what I needed. I can have fun while keeping fit! I am very satisfied with this product. It helps give me variety and keeps my spirits high while the weight is kept down! This product is not just for hockey players. It is for the average person who wants variety and a fun way to work in exercise. It is a great piece of equipment for a beginner to use and progress with. The HockeyShot Slide Board Pro works in fun and fitness at the same time.

It is important for me to keep active. I lost 125 pounds and have kept it off for over six years now. I was a bullied, overweight child with low self-esteem and turned to food for comfort. I became a negative obese adult. As my weight piled on, so did the problems. I could no longer find my size in a store. Walking and stairs were chores. I could not play with my then three year old son. I could not ride certain rides due to weight restrictions. I had to sit out of activities because I tired easily. This was not the ideal life; I did not feel free. A car accident left me with two knee surgeries and a more broken spirit.


I mustered up enough courage to build a better life. I changed my mindset and came up with tips and tricks on how to overcome healthy eating obstacles that we face on a daily basis. After losing 125 pounds, I wrote a book with these tips that helped me keep the weight off: Goodbye Fatness, Hello Gorgeous! I was always stuck on diets but did not know how to handle obstacles. My tips and tricks worked so I decided to share. I did a TEDx talk (now on YouTube) called From Bullied to Bold. I give motivational speeches at various venues, including workplaces. It is my goal to help other so they do not have to suffer as I did at 272 pounds.

To keep my healthy lifestyle in check, I use the HockeyShot Slide Board Pro so fitness can be not only enjoyable, but something I can stick to. I first saw this when I was tutoring at a client’s home. The student’s younger brother was using it and it looked like fun. I wrote down the name of this board, but as the ex-scientist that I am, did research on what is out there. Competitor boards received a lot of negative reviews. The side boards were either uncomfortable or were coming off. The boards were not adjustable. HockeyShot’s board is well made and is comfortable. It is adjustable so it is great to change stride length or simply make it tailored to whoever is using it. I slip the booties over my feet instead of sneakers and am ready to go! Another thing that is convenient is exercising in my own home. I do not have to worry about the proper gym attire and can be free to exercise if I have a few minutes available. I do not have to change into exercise gear; I simply jump on the board and get my exercise going in the time that is available.


It is a challenge to work in a healthy lifestyle when life is so busy. I work seven days a week! A lot of people, including myself at one time, say that there is not enough time to exercise. Well, make time, you are worth it! This piece of equipment makes it easy. Exercising for five to ten minutes is definitely doable and it is still a great workout. This could be set up in front of the television and can be enjoyed while watching programs. There are many kinds of exercises that can be done on this such as sliding lunges, gliding mountain climbers, and the standard skating.

For more of my story and tips/ tricks for a healthy lifestyle, you can order my book here

For additional tips and motivation, like my page: Weight Loss Problems and Solutions with Lori

Are You a Get or Give Player?

The past number of months I have worked with many teams helping to get everyone on the same page, working to establish an agreed upon culture and help to identify any issues that could be preventing the team from maximizing individual abilities. As you know there are so many factors that come into play in the development of a great team. Part of it is the attitude of the player and how well they fit into the team concept.

During these sessions, one exercise we do is identifying “get” and “give” players and how the two very different attitudes impact the team and the team’s results.

What is a “Get” or “Give” Player?

There is a big difference between a “get” and “give” hockey player and knowing the difference is important to you and could directly impact how far you go in the game in the hockey.


Let me explain:

Some athletes are primarily focused on what they get for themselves (“what do I get”) within the team structure. They generally want to know how they can…

  • Get to score even when they may not be in a position to
  • Get to show up for practice when they want
  • Get to start
  • Get to always be in the line-up
  • Get to play more minutes
  • Get attention as the star of the team
  • Get to give less than their best because they’ve been on the team awhile
  • Get to do what they want at the expense of teammates
  • Get rewards beyond the team (scholarships, individual rewards)
  • Get to have the trust of others when they don’t trust teammates

Now, there are other athletes on the team who have a “what can I give” approach. They are focused on giving to the team and what they get is not the priority…

  • Give their best effort in all practices, training and games
  • Give the team an example of their team values in action every day
  • Give their team a positive attitude no matter what the circumstances
  • Give their team a lift even playing a small amount of minutes
  • Give their team a chance to win no matter what position they play
  • Give other players a chance to get the glory
  • Give the team an example of sacrifice for the better of the group
  • Give the team an example they can follow
  • Give coaches a very coachable attitude

Why You Must Be a “Give” Player

There are many advantages to be a give player. Here are a few reasons why give players have the advantage:

  • Every coach looks for the “what can I give” athlete for their team – coaches look for reasons not to select the “what do I get” athlete
  • It’s far more fun to be on a team with “what can I give” athletes – the culture is more honest, more humble and teammates generally trust each other
  • It’s a funny thing in life that the more you give – the more you seem to get back – so a player who gives also “gets” in return
  • What is the Result of a “What Can I Give” Culture?

    The best example of a culture of giving in sports is the New Zealand All Blacks – rugby’s most successful team in history with an 86% winning percentage. Their “sweep the sheds” culture and attitude not only promote an honest, high performing, family environment – but they also win!


    After every game the All Blacks players sweep the locker room of every last piece of grass, tape, and mud. No matter if they are playing a friendly match or in the World Cup – they take responsibility for leaving the locker room the way they found it. No one looks after the All Blacks – they look after themselves. They also strive to leave “the shirt” in a better place than they got it when they eventually leave the program. They are not there to “get”. They are there to “give”.

    Are you a “get” or “give” player? If you are a “get” player, you may consider what it might take for you to become a more “give” player. You may be surprised that a transition to a “give” player may help you “get” exactly what you want.

    6 Ways to Conquer Your Hockey Fears

    Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
    — Yoda

    The wisdom of the master Jedi also applies to hockey—identifying your fears is the first step toward conquering them.

    I think we can agree that fear isn’t fun. It makes you feel anxious, unsure of yourself and can have a significant impact on how much you enjoy the game. It also shrinks confidence – a secret weapon you need to play your best on the ice. And, don’t forget, your fear can impact your hockey teammates too – so addressing your fears is important for you and the success of your team!

    What is it you’re afraid of in your game?

    Well… it could be many things from the real, tangible fear of failure, making mistakes, not reaching expectations set for you, disappointing coaches or parents, or a rather lengthy list of reasons that can cause those uncomfortable feelings and take the enjoyment out of your game.

    But fear not! There’s help on the way for you to address any fear you have and bring a more relaxed, carefree mindset to your game.


    Biology Doesn’t Help

    First, if you don’t feel fear, you simply aren’t a human being. We all feel fear, to different degrees – it’s what makes us human. I have the privilege to work with some of the world’s leading athletes, including NHL players – and they feel fear – so it’s not surprising that you might feel fear in your game too.

    To a degree, we are all prisoners of our biology. As human beings, we are built to survive and protect ourselves. The amygdala, or control center of the emotional brain, makes sure of that. This little alarm mechanism has ensured the survival of the human species for centuries. You know how it works – you perceive a threat, the alarm goes off and that uncomfortable feeling begins. We all know this feeling.

    When human life was about “eat or be eaten”, and our ancestors were dealing with real, life threatening challenges everyday, the alarm was a must have. But, for you as a hockey player the emotional brain doesn’t really know the difference between a hungry lion chasing your ancestor and your perceived threat of embarrassing yourself on the ice. That’s important for you to know.

    The What Ifs

    Working with hockey players every day, the primary cause of fear that I address is a future projection of what a player believes may happen – what we call the “what ifs”. The tendency is projecting out that something negative may happen (protect mode) and that makes the athlete anxious in the moment telling themselves things like:

    “I can’t do it” or “Why am I doing this?”

    An example for you might be… you arrive at the rink for a game, coaches, parents and others are waiting for you to perform and the voice inside you starts considering threats and acting up…

    “WHAT IF I look dumb in front of everyone?”
    “WHAT IF I screw up and let my team down?”
    “WHAT IF I let my coach and supporters down?”
    “WHAT IF I don’t play well?”

    This creates your anxious feeling, and depending on the intensity of the feeling, it can be a real distraction… and sometimes even overwhelming.


    There are many “what if” scenarios that could distract you from your central purpose for playing the game – enjoying the game you love and achieving something important to you. Keep in mind that although you project out these things might happen, they almost always never do – and that’s important for you to remember.

    Isolated experiences from the past can also create feelings of fear – negative emotional memories can be brought forward to cause the anxious feelings and also distract you from today’s performance. Experiences in the past are real and a part of you – but your focus must be on all of the great, positive experiences in the game (there will be many) leaving the few, negative ones behind.

    So … there is nothing wrong with you for feeling fear. It is normal. Recognize that your emotional brain always has the antenna up to perceive threats. Remember the advice from Yoda as a first step – you must recognize your fear. Then, you must ask yourself the question of how much of a threat it really is.

    Some Ideas & Practical Strategies That May Help

    Let’s talk about some ways you can address your fears. Here are a few simple recommendations that we might use with a player that might help you deal with fear and put it in perspective…

    1. Address your fears directly. What are you afraid of and what might be the reasons? When you understand what might be causing your fear and acknowledge it, it will help you consider ideas how to address it.
    2. Always remember your purpose for playing. “I love playing hockey because I love the speed, the competitive environment, the opportunity to show my skills and sharing an experience with my teammates”. Write your purpose down and keep it front and center – always! Your purpose will help you create perspective about what’s REALLY important in your game and why you are doing it. Remember also that have a feeling of gratitude about the opportunity to play and do what you love to do can fill you with positive energy and dampen the feelings of fear.
    3. fear

    4. Learn to manage the most important voice in your game… and your life – your own! Sometimes our own voice doesn’t help and tells you things you really don’t want to hear … building the threats into something bigger than they are. It’s important to develop your own Emotional Caddie – a friendly, supportive voice that you might use if your best friend was having troubles. Try the same language and tone with yourself. A few suggestions might be…

      “I can’t wait to test what I’ve been working on in practice.”
      “Everyone watching is supporting me. I’ll treat them to some great play.”
      “My best effort is all I can do – I may make a few mistakes – being perfect doesn’t exist.”
      “Pressure really gives my game meaning – this is where I want to be!

    5. Confidence and constantly building it is a secret weapon to overcome fear123`AS=ZZ. Creating a feeling of “knowing” you can do it in your practice and preparation will help keep those fearful “what if” thoughts from taking over. After all, you’ve done great work in your practice with the team and on your own – you know you can do it – so bring the same feelings and approach to the game ice.
    6. Practice mindfulness to enjoy hockey and stay in the moment. The future is where your goals are – but you don’t achieve them without staying in the moment and paying attention to the steps that will get you to those goals. Choose to bring the positive experiences from the past forward to support your confidence – and choose to leave the few negative ones where they belong – behind you!
    7. Know the difference between prove vs improve – The goal in your game should always be trying to improve all of your skills (technical, physical, strategic, mental/emotional). Sometimes when our goal is to “prove” ourselves to others, fear will creep in – the fear of the “what ifs” and trying to meet other’s expectations of you. Winning is great, but it will only come if you are doing the right things – enjoying yourself and trying to become a better player each day.
    8. fear-1

      So, if fear is holding you back from really enjoying your hockey and using all your abilities, fear not! Remember that you are in control of your fears and there are practical actions that can help you douse the flames – helping you to be a more confident, proactive player. Follow these steps and you are well on your way to your Pursuit of Greatness!

    Excellence, Not Perfection for Hockey Growth

    Being around the rink, I hear the word “perfect” a lot. And, that is always cause for some concern.

    Too often, hockey players try to be “perfect” when they perform. These players set high expectations (their own or the standards of others), then become upset and frustrated when they fail to match these standards. They can also frustrate teammates and coaches with this mindset.

    I hear from parents and coaches who worry about young players who become easily frustrated and take disappointment home with them… too often.

    You’re likely familiar with players who show perfectionist behaviors.

    There are Pros and Cons of the Perfectionist Player

    coaching the players

    Perfectionist athletes tend to criticize themselves for making mistakes, often hold high and unrealistic expectations for themselves and tend to get frustrated easily after making a mistake. These athletes are often perfectionists in other aspects of their lives–in school, at work and even at home.

    On a positive note, you will find some advantages to perfectionism in players. Perfectionist athletes tend to work hard, are highly committed to their targets and are willing to learn and improve.

    The problem is these positive traits often hide the problems that are associated with perfectionism in the sport of hockey. The players are so motivated that you often don’t think of them as having mental/ emotional struggles.

    Perfectionists Undermine Their Own Play


    Athletes who try to be perfect can undermine their performance in many ways. Here are a few:

    1. Focusing too much on results leading to a vicious cycle of working hard, setting higher expectations and then thinking they are failing to reach their expectations.
    2. Unknowingly embrace very high expectations. They do this unconsciously. When they don’t achieve their expectations, they feel frustrated feeling like they have failed – and this can result in destructive behaviour.
    3. They don’t enjoy the game like they should. There is so much pressure to be perfect that they forget the real purpose of playing – to have fun, enjoy the experience and achieve challenging goals.

    Here’s a classic example from a Hockey Dad: “He is obsessive with the perfect shift or perfect shot. If he makes a mistake, it’s all we hear about instead of the great moments he had in the game. He’s never happy with his efforts in the game.”

    Excellence is Always the Goal


    There is a big difference between perfection and excellence and I’d like to encourage you to think about making excellence your goal.

    By creating realistic and challenging expectations and helping players focus on manageable targets, they are put in the best position to succeed and enjoy the sport they love.

    Some characteristics of excellence players…

    • A player who focuses on their personal best, not impossible goals
    • A player who has reasonable expectations and takes into consideration that mistakes are a normal, frequent part of sport
    • A player who focuses more on what they did well vs. the mistakes they made
    • A player who learns from failure instead of being devastated by it – moving forward to better performances
    • A player who keeps going when things get difficult – not giving up

    Remember that perfection is an unachievable pursuit. Nothing in life is perfect and nothing in hockey is either – the player, competitors, coaches and all surroundings have flaws, so to continually anticipate and expect a flawless, mistake-free performance is not only harmful to performance, but illogical!

    What Parents and Coaches Can Do

    Begin by identifying the very high or perfectionist expectations that pressure your young player. These are the expectations that motivate them to have a “perfect” shift or game and not make any mistakes.

    Once you identify these expectations – “I can’t make any mistakes”, or “I have to win” – your job is to replace them with simple, process-oriented targets.

    Smaller, more manageable targets such as “the best I can do on each shift” or “I want to get a good shot off on goal each period” helps players focus on the process. It also contributes to better results.

    Manageable goals focus the hockey player on the execution of one moment or one shift at a time.

    The Right Goal


    As hockey parent or coach, you want to be mindful about placing unreasonably high expectations on your players. You may do this without even realizing you’re doing it.
    Some parents and coaches ask young athletes for results–and place expectations on them–in an attempt to boost their confidence. They might say, “let’s get a win tonight” or “let’s score a couple of goals in the game”. Unfortunately, such well-meaning input can cause players–especially perfectionists–to try to meet these expectations. They then feel frustrated and disappointed when they don’t.

    By creating realistic and challenging expectations and helping young athletes focus on manageable targets, you put them in the best position to succeed and help them maximize the enjoyment in the game.

    Excellence should always be the goal with players.

    Synthetic Ice Skating Series: Part 3 – Stops

    HockeyShot’s Skating Sensei, Jim Vitale from Vital Hockey Skills has been coaching for over 25 years. Once you’ve heard his voice, you know instantly that Jim has been around a few hockey arenas, yelling at players (maybe some parents) from time to time. Jim has run successful hockey camps for years to improve hockey player’s training and skills to develop them for the next level.

    “Stopping is more of a state of mind then it is a physical activity”. Players who have trouble stopping, panic when they feel the ice pushing against them. This can send you into a panic with the brain not recognizing what is occurring, but you can learn to master the ice by learning how to stop properly. “Get low as you stop” is the most important first step because it allows you to gain control of the natural forces surrounding you. “Dropping your weight makes your blades sink into the ice, it’s the pressure you need to counter balance the force of the ice pushing against your feet”.

    When Vitale is coaching youth how to properly stop, he gets them to stop and then to swivel to maintain proper balance. Pivoting is a great way to train your balance to know how to stop on the ice. The trick is to do both at the same time. Jim stresses the importance of not getting discouraged, because most will not be good at both ways.

    Jeremy Rupke asks: “How much does Synthetic Ice relate to stopping on real ice?” and Vitale responded with “You can really come to a full stop with the same type of resistance.”

    Look no further than HockeyShot’s Synthetic Ice! The use of premium grade materials in a unique blend makes this surface the closest thing to real ice in the world. It has a self-lubricating additive that requires no wax or upkeep to give players a genuine feel like they’re on the frozen stuff. Perfect for basements, garages, driveways or anywhere outdoors, this product is quick and easy to install with interlocking grids. AND depending on where you play (residential or commercial use) HockeyShot Synthetic Ice comes in a variety of formats.

    Please visit: Synthetic Ice Revolution Tiles or Synthetic Ice Panels for all the details on HockeyShot’ industry leading training surfaces used in these videos!

    Synthetic Ice Skating Series: Part 2 – Turns

    In part 2 of the Synthetic Ice Skating Series, Jim and Jeremy go over turning and more importantly, sharp turns!

    Jim is an advocate for extreme edges on a turn. There is a fine line between stopping completely or having the right power to accelerate into a turn. Digging your skate into the ice enough to make you strong on your feet while still accelerating on a turn is key. The speed at which a player turns always depends on the situation on the ice. Do you have a defender coming in hot? Are you in the corner with a defender at your back? Are you turning in the neutral zone? Do you suddenly have to turn for a back check? There are so many situations that as a player you need to simply practice these dynamic situations to understand how aggressive and intense you need to be making those turns.

    The scientific challenge behind this is called “inertia”, which is a mass of resistance that challenges you to change directions. When you change in motion (a turn for instance) your body/mass begins to resist changing with that motion and wants to continue going straight. So when you turn your skates at a high speed there is a moment where your body or mass wants to continue going the way it was initially (straight). A good athlete can manage that inertia by avoiding your body wanting to go in a different direction other than where your brain wants to go. So how do we get rid of that momentum that wants to keep us from going straight?

    First Jim shows us the vital tip to a good turn. Dropping your weight by bending your knees during a turn. This will help you accelerate during a turn and keep your balance at that high speed. You will not be able to control your turn by remaining stiff or standing straight up since your body will take that momentum and force to turn much more widely and slowly. Also, no matter where you turn (left or right) you’re going to want to put your force on the outside edge of your inside leg. So, if you’re turning left, you will put force on your inside leg (left leg) on your outside edge of that skate. If you keep your leg straight and not on the outside edge, your left leg will then want to continue straight rather than turn and that forces you to use much more strength or worse, blow a tire and allow the other team an odd man rush.

    Next, Jim advises to “scissor out your outside leg” which means you want your outside leg wider rather than close to your turning/inside leg. By doing that, it helps with stability and speed in the turn itself. Widening your base of support (legs) is key to a fast and strong turn. Having your legs too close together in a turn makes you wobbly and unstable so avoid that as much as possible. Amongst the debate between where to put your weight during a turn (outside or inside leg), Jim unequivocally says the inside leg where your pressure should be almost on your heels on your inside leg so you don’t fall forward and just a little bit of pressure on the outside leg to keep you balanced.

    Lastly, Jim says fall and fall again. If you’re careful, cautious and hesitant, these turns will never become natural. By falling and making mistakes, you can reflect on what and what does not work. So, for all your speedsters, take these turning tips and add them to your game!

    Please visit: Synthetic Ice Revolution Tiles or Synthetic Ice Panels for all the details on HockeyShot’ industry leading training surfaces used in these videos!

    Synthetic Ice Skating Series: Part 1 – Strides

    Welcome to the Synthetic Ice Skating Series! HockeyShot’s Bench Boss, Jeremy Rupke is joined by Skating Sensei, Jim Vitale to create a multi-part series to help you stay on your feet and beat the competition to the puck. The entire series is filmed on HockeyShot’s industry leading, head turning, awe-inspiring Synthetic Ice.

    While most of you already know “Mr. How to Hockey”, Jeremy Rupke some of you may be unfamiliar with the other man in these videos. Let us properly introduce you to a coach and hockey instructor for 20 plus years, Mr. Jim Vitale. He has put a tremendous amount of thought in the game and teaches players how to improve year after year.

    Jim Vitale from Vital Hockey Skills has been coaching many teams throughout Toronto including in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Jim has run hockey camps for years to improve hockey players training and skills to develop them for the next level. Nothing more important than the skill of skating.

    Vitale believes one of the most important skating drills is learning how to properly stride and maximizing the stride technique. Jeremy Rupke asks: “What do you think is the most important thing for beginner players?” Vitale responded with: “It is just a matter of realizing that to go forward you have to go side to side”. Many coaches are teaching their players to go back-to-front for their stride, but Vitale believes a stride should be more horizontal. “Like an airplane not a helicopter”. By using their stride back to front, it is minimizing the amount of time the blade contacts the ice, and that is going to get a player from getting down the ice as quick as possible.

    The more efficient you are at transferring muscle from hip to the ankle the better the stride is going to be. “Starting your stride from the middle to the back of the blade, allows you to make your force better”. Proper stride posture is very key to being able to skate properly, and going somewhere in between 90 degrees and 180 degrees gives your leg the only option to push sideways to extend horizontal. As your extending your leg, finish your stride for maximum effect.

    Please visit: Synthetic Ice Revolution Tiles or Synthetic Ice Panels for all the details on HockeyShot’ industry leading training surfaces used in these videos!

    Stretch Your Hockey Limits – Don’t Set Them!

    Expand Your Comfort Zone to Be a Better Player

    As the game clock ticks, we all get trapped in repeating habits, in a comfortable zone – most often below where we are capable of playing. What you may not know about these habits is they are below your consciousness and determine what you think you can or can’t do. You become comfortable with these habits and they end up running the show.

    What is Your Comfort Zone?

    Everyone knows about the idea of comfort zone: the space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It’s a comfy place where you’re not threatened and everything always stays the same – offering you mental security.

    There’s a lot of science that highlights why it’s so challenging to break out of your comfort zone, and why it’s good for you when you do it. With a little understanding and a few adjustments, you can break away from your comfort zone by expanding it… and improve your game.


    In 1908, Psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson showed that a state of comfort created a steady level of performance. But, they also highlighted that if you want to increase your performance, a state of relative anxiety is needed – a place where stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This is called Optimal Anxiety and it’s beyond your comfort zone. Further, they also showed that too much anxiety can produce too much stress leading to performance drop-offs. So, finding the balance for you is key.

    You are not alone in the quest to expand your comfort zone. The leading professional hockey players and other athletes I work with daily are constantly working to shift their comfort zone and find the place leading to higher performance. If you want to become a better player and see improvement, it’s an important exercise for you too.

    The Comfort Zone Can Shrink.

    Let me give you an example of my first introduction to comfort zone.

    I grew up at a golf club and, as a part of my summer duties, I did the scoring each year at the club championship. I stood at the scoreboard and marked scores of the membership. Players were categorized in four divisions – A, B, C and D – based on handicap index. I saw the same faces each year, and year after year, players turned in their card and it was déjà vu – the same players turned in basically the same card… and same score… every year.


    I always wondered how it was possible that a golfer could play (and practice) the game for 10, 20, or 30 years and stay in the same division every year without any real shift in improvement!

    The answer is comfort zone. The longer you stay in the same comfort zone, the more it shrinks and the harder it is to expand it. The more you continue to do the same things, make the same mistakes, engrain the same habits, the more your comfort zone shrinks – and you become THAT player – your identity.

    What Causes You to Be in the Comfort Zone?

    You’ve seen it many times. You start playing great or “out of your mind” in a game and then WHAMMO – a little bit of poor play brings you back to reality. This often happens when a player has some good play early and then subconsciously slips back to “where I should be”.

    In your game, your comfort zone is determined by how you think you typically play. Whenever you play, you’d like to play a little better, take a little more risk, but you are expecting a result in your “usual” range. Inevitably, you’ll have games where you flirt with play outside your zone; maybe you play the first two periods really well, recognizing that a great third period will give you a result well above your normal zone.

    Then what happens?

    You start thinking about what could be. You start playing conservatively, trying to “protect” your great two periods of play. Next thing you know, you’ve adjusted everything back to the comfy zone and the great game fades away.


    I’m sure you’ve also seen the reverse happen. You have a couple of poor periods and then a sudden surge of good play at the end of a game mysteriously puts you back in that comfortable performance place.

    What are Your Roadblocks to Growth as a Player?

    We all have roadblocks to growth. Despite your efforts to want to grow and get better, certain walls can interfere with your progress as a player. Here’s a few that may be familiar to you…

    • Fear of growth (not feeling safe to grow) – a major barrier is what is called the “I’m stuck” syndrome. “I’ve always been that way, so how could I possibly change?” You feel stuck at times, and when you do, you don’t feel great about yourself… or your game.
    • A negative view of yourself as a hockey player – you see and know yourself as an average player or someone who struggles to excel in games, so that’s where you stay as a player.
    • Skepticism – you believe any steps you take to improve won’t work or will be a waste of time. “I tried that and it didn’t work.”
    • Uncertainty regarding how to begin or what direction to take – you don’t know how to get better, how to evaluate your game or what steps to take to do it.
    • Challenging yourself emotionally – forcing yourself to work on your limitations. Not an easy thing to do and not as fun as the feeling of working on your strengths and seeing a good result.

    It’s too late for me to change, I’m too old or I don’t have enough time. You use excuses that it’s not the right time to improve – and put off doing it.
    The most important factor for you to break out of your comfort zone is asking yourself why you are staying in it! You must be genuinely interested in improvement, and know what benefits you want to get out of it.

    Step by Step – Build Slowly.

    Expanding the perimeter of your comfort zone by slowly and intelligently pushing your barriers will build confidence. The process should be methodical and progressive. Don’t run out and try to change your entire game overnight. Evaluate what needs to be done – physically, mentally and emotionally to move up a level – and create the steps to get there. It will be a gradual process and almost guaranteed won’t be a straight line.

    Some Ideas to Start Expanding Your Comfort Zone.

    Face Your Fears – stepping out of your comfortable area will probably cause some fear – the dreaded “what ifs” are the downfall of many players. “What if I fail?”, “What if I really can’t do this?”, “What if I’m not good enough?” Stay in the moment and do things slowly. A committed plan with reasonable milestones will give you the confidence to get to a new place.


    Change Your Routine – you can begin growing your comfort zone through small changes in your approach to the game – adding 30 minutes/ week working on a weakness, get feedback from coaches on what needs improvement and how to do it and understand your own emotional make-up so you know what causes ups and downs in your game. What are the triggers that cause emotional shifts?

    Get Out of Your Own Way – See yourself in a new light. You probably put self-induced limits on yourself. The truth is, sometimes you’ve just got to get out of your own way. If you begin seeing yourself as a better player, chances are you will be. Raise your opinion of your game and yourself and you will set the table for better performance.

    Time to Change

    Comfort feels all cozy and warm when you’re in it, but it’s also a double-edged sword. If you stay comfortable for too long, you begin to get bored, lazy and too satisfied with average results. If you want to improve in the game, challenge the status quo – push your limits and you’ll see the game in a new light.

    It won’t be easy and will take some time but I think you’ll like the results.

    Skating & Mohawk Dangles – Skills Series

    If you really want to up the challenge in your off-ice training, try rollerblade drills like Mohawk Dangles! With a sweet name like that, you’d be a fool not to watch this video. We worked on the footwork and technique last drill, but now let’s take it up a level by adding stickhandling drills. Before getting into the drill itself, many viewers had questions about the awesome Marsblade in-line skates. As Jeremy explains, unlike other chassis (frame that holds your wheels) that remain stiff and rigid, the Marsblade chassis moves with you giving you an extra challenge and strengthening the most important parts of a hockey player, your legs! It also gives the skater a more realistic feel with turns and strides while also forcing your legs to bend to get extra power. If you’re not bending your legs while protecting the puck, you won’t last very long!

    The first drill Jeremy shows us is simply one fluent motion where your heels are still together and toes pointing outward. It may feel uncomfortable so get your footing and feel down before worrying about speed. Next Jeremy gets us to shift on both sides using “The Crosby Move” while continuously stickhandling. This will force you to think while moving, and is a great way to start practicing before using real defenders. If you really want to challenge yourself, try using one hand as if defenders are holding you up with their stick or arms. This may seem impractical but at high levels you’re always being tied up in the corners and whether it is legal or illegal, you have to keep moving! The third drill is another stickhandling while in motion strategy. Jeremy recommends doing this on both sides so you get the feel of your backhand and forehand while in motion. It also helps with mastering the toe drag. Here we see Jeremy using the HS Green Biscuit that is an ounce lighter than standard pucks. This puck is not meant for shooting, but is perfect for stickhandling and passing. If you want to work on your dangles even more, try saucing the puck over the stick while still maintain puck control; it’s not easy!

    Next, Coach Rupke uses HockeyShot Dryland Tiles to avoid ruining his stick and moves in a circular motion while keeping the puck on the training surface. This helps improve stickhandling while still implementing “The Crosby Move” and maintaining that leg strength you need to protect the biscuit. If you don’t have a Shooting Pad, the HS Green Biscuit is perfect for the pave and other non-ice surfaces. Finally, Jeremy tries another add on to this drill be using another stick to this drill. These drills develop your stamina while stickhandling fluently while still remaining in motion at a high tempo. These are the skills you need to get the edge on your opponents!

    Be sure to try out these drills on our Synthetic Ice.

    The Crosby Skating Move – Skills Series

    Welcome back to another Skills Session with Jeremy Rupke! Today, in Episode 3 – Jeremy is going through smart skating drills for off-ice training. Last week Jeremy went over shooting skills but this week Jeremy goes over the importance of skating and how lower stances while keeping your legs moving can help in tight situations.

    Sponsored by Marsblade, Jeremy uses a pair of Marsblade in-line skate blades that are usable with your very own ice skates! His first drill is “The Crosby Move”. We call it the Crosby move because if anyone has seen him play, Sid the Kid always has a low center of gravity and uses his legs (not upper body) to stay well grounded where the defender cannot push him around so easily. In terms of height, Crosby is 5’9” which means compared to many of his defenders, he lacks size. So how does he remain so strong on his feet while still moving at game speed? For one, he trains relentlessly, but it is his footwork and low center of gravity that allows him to stay on his feet and avoid being manhandled by defenders.

    It’s simple: the best forwards know how to protect the puck and simply put, no one protects the puck as well as #87. Puck protection is often overlooked compared to speed and skill, but if you want to see more pucks in the back of the net, you need to master the art of protecting it. This is not just done with your arms stickhandling; more importantly, you have to protect the puck by having a low stance, and using your strong legs to protect the puck in corners and the sideboards. The drill is versatile in that it can be with or without in-line skates as well as indoors or outdoors.

    To begin, Jeremy gets us to make a fat diamond shape with our legs where our heels are together and toes are pointing outward (visualize @ 1:38). While you’re doing this, push your heels as far as you can outward, while bending your knees for some relief of the awkward stance. In order to move with this stance, the player must shift their weight on the glide leg, open up and plant your other leg while still in motion on the ground (visualize @ 2:44). It’s important to open up your shoulders and hips so your body does not lock or make an awkward motion. Often players will use this strategy while coming into a turn or going out of a turn at high speed since it can help with your puck control while the defender is chasing. This is a great move for forwards to move around the defender but be careful of not opening up in this turn while in a vulnerable position; It can make for a big hit on the forward if the defender has a step on them, so timing of this trick is key!

    At 3:30, we can see Jeremy go from each side. This is important because having only one side to work on this makes for a predictable forward. We also see that this trick is not only good for coming into turns, but it can also open the forward up for a one timer or to get open quickly. Especially on the power play where there is more ice to work with, this is a great strategy for all you slick skaters out there!

    It can be hard for a skater to remain in that position for any period of time but one add-on drill to “The Crosby Move” is to keep both of your feet planted on the ground while pumping your legs (not lifting them) to keep the position and your movement. Your legs should act like pistons pumping in back and forth motions. This can help with the strength of your legs as well as footwork you need for puck protection in game situations. Finally, Jeremy’s last portion of the drill shows how if you use this move while turning your back (this can be done almost anywhere on the ice, but the corners work best while fighting off defenders), it seals off the defender and allows you some time. This time helps you two-fold: you have time to see other players and make that perfect pass, and it tires the defenders. Once you get used to this simple trick, you’ll be spending more time playing keep away from the D, and racking up the points while doing it!

    “The Crosby Move” is something most hockey fans have seen before, especially when watching The Kid play in tight situations, in corners, or generally fighting off bigger and stronger defenders. Getting used to this motion as a forward is key for success, especially if you’re a bit smaller!

    Be sure to try out these drills on our Synthetic Ice.