Q: How can my teen continue developing hockey IQ in the offseason?
A: The best part of spring hockey is the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. For young players who really want to develop their understanding of the sport, they need only look to their favorite players and teams on television. The important caveat, however, is that they need to watch the games differently than the typical spectator. They need to look beyond the goals and saves to see how the plays were made or nullified.
So much of being an effective player is in what happens away from the puck. Developing players should select their favorite player and begin watching what they do and where they go for their entire shift, not only when they’re around the puck. Then they should think it through, visualizing themselves in similar game situations and evaluating how they would react and what they would do.
The best players in the world are on television right now, playing the sport at its highest level. It presents a great opportunity to learn more about the sport and enhance hockey IQ. It’s all in how you watch the games.
The author, Ken Martel, coached collegiately at Air Force and Michigan Tech while also helping guide numerous U.S. National Teams. As a player, he skated four seasons at Lake Superior State, winning an NCAA championship in 1988.