Fixation Accuracy: Perfecting the Quick Look

Whether you’re trying to save the puck, shoot the puck or keep it in the zone, you need to know where it is. Developing your quick look can help. To practice how to quickly look, focus, stay focused and switch targets, try the following:

  1. Hold two pens of different colors about 10 inches apart, about 14-16 inches from your face.

  2. Call out the color of one of the pens.

  3. Look at the one you called and continue looking until you call out the second color.

  4. Then look at the second pen.

  5. Repeat the exercise but periodically change the location of one of the pens.

  6. Practice this for your entire visual field.

  7. Keep your fixation on the pen without being distracted.

  8. Notice if you anticipate your next target or take several jumps to locate the pen you want to focus on.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to optometrist Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO, for this excerpt from her latest book: See It. Say It. Do It! 50 Tips to Improve Your Sports Performance. Dr. Hellerstein has been a pioneer in vision therapy for more than 30 years.


7 Stellar Stocking Stuffers

RWB_300.jpgWhile no hockey player will be disappointed by a new stick, it’s kind of hard to cram one in a stocking. Aside from the typical tape and stick wax, what can you surprise your favorite player with? Read on.

  1. Franklin Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Ball Set. For mini hockey during sleepovers, these are ideal.

  2. Colorado Avalanche Sher-Wood Ultimate Mini Composite Stick. Can’t play mini hockey without a stick, so check out these composite sticks, which break a lot less.

  3. Colorado Avalanche Battle Sports Science NHL Logo Mouthguard. Show your team spirit in all the key places.

  4. A&R Total Hockey Velour Helmet Bag. Keep your new helmet nice and neat without sacrificing mom’s matching pillowcase set.

  5. Green Biscuit USA Olympic Training Puck. The renowned training puck the Green Biscuit goes red, white and blue here.

  6. Hands of Steel. Scrub your hands with this stainless steel bar to knock out the odor that repels everyone else in the car.

  7. A&R Hockey Equipment Deodorizers. It’s not just the hands that smell—keep your bag smelling fresh, too.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kelly Anton, Executive Editor of Grow the Game, for these gift ideas.


Keep Calm and Cover Your Ears

Headphone_300The other hockey parents, particularly moms, always ask me how I remain so calm during games. The reality for me is that whether my son makes the game-winning goal or ends up on the bench in the third period, I still have laundry and work to finish when I get home. I know that his team’s performance in a single game will make little difference to his life—much less mine.

Part of this perspective comes from the fact that he’s not just the second child in the family, but the second hockey player in the family. We’ve already experienced the futility of worrying about your player’s every move on the ice.

I will admit, however, to occasional irritation with the fans around me. “You can’t do that!” “Get that line off!” “You have to pass!” And these are just the cleaner comments from the fans on my kid’s team. A couple weeks ago another mother shared a brilliant tip with me for blocking out these negative know-it-alls: She wears headphones during the game to block out the fan noise. Granted, it’s a little anti-social, but it sure prevents you from wasting energy on holding a grudge against that dad who shouted, “Not again!” when your kid missed that breakaway shot…

Editor’s Note: Thank you to a local hockey mother for sharing this tip.

Talking to Your Athlete About SafeSport

As you all know, USA Hockey is introducing its Abuse Prevention Program SafeSport this year and Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) is taking huge steps to make sure all Colorado hockey clubs are on board. To make sure this program is successful, we need parents to be fully engaged and participating in the entire program.

I know acknowledging that abuse (physical, sexual or emotional) can take place where our kids play sports is hard, but we must educate ourselves if we want to protect our athletes. As parents we must accept our responsibility in making sure that those who are around our youth—coaches, parents and other athletes—are behaving appropriately. SafeSport is where that education and awareness can begin.
Following are some quick tips on how to implement SafeSport with your athlete.

  • Have both parents read the organization’s SafeSport handbook. If you believe your athlete is old enough (12 and up), have your player read it on his or her own.

  • Then, read the handbook together with your athlete, no matter what age.

  • Discuss each section, and ask your athlete if he or she has ever seen or experienced any of these issues.

  • Give your athlete examples of situations and ask what he or she would do. Offer ideas on how to handle these situations.

  • Have regular discussion with your athlete (during all those drives to the rink) about SafeSport and find out if there is anything your player needs to discuss.

  • When you read articles in the paper about bullying, sexual abuse or physical abuse among athletes, engage your athlete in a discussion.

  • Use high-profile athletes’ stories about overcoming abuse as examples.

  • Talk with your athlete about what the coach or other teammates do that is bothering him or her, and provide support on handling those issues.

  • Talk about the locker room. Make sure you give your athlete an opportunity to tell you if something is going on. Be engaged and send a message that you are interested, you know that things can happen in there and you are not afraid to hear about it. You want to know.

  • Remind your player of the rules and SafeSport policies prior to travel or tournaments. Discuss this at the dinner table and make it a part of your regular conversation with your athlete—even if he or she complains. Your player will get used to it and will know that he or she can come to you if necessary.

  • • Encourage your child to report and be a hero.

Good luck!

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Michelle Peterson M.Ed., of Michelle Peterson Consulting for this story. Michelle is a national expert on child abuse and currently works with youth sport organizations on creating child abuse prevention policy and procedures.

Positive Post-Game Conversations

Kids will lose games and they will win games. They will have good games, bad games, good shifts and bad shifts. For parents, immediately after a game is a time to be positive—not to tell them things that were done wrong. Emphasize encouragement and approval. Kids who have just played hard and are tired like to hear “good job” whether their team won or lost.

Parents should always reemphasize the basics, such as sportsmanship, hard work and team play. After the game, bring closure. Don’t keep discussing the game throughout the week. Parents should be constructive after the game and give their child tests they can use to measure their own progress in non-subjective ways:

Negative Observations

Parents should avoid generalizations that are often debatable, such as:

• You didn’t hustle.

• You didn’t help score.

• You didn’t have a good attitude.

• You didn’t share the puck.

Helpful Observations

• Did you have fun?

• Did you win your battles for the puck?

• Did you pass often?

• Were you able to keep from falling down?

• Did you remember to play your position?

• Are you tired?

• Do you think you got a good workout?

• Do you think your learned anything today?

Kids don’t always know how to correct mistakes that are pointed out to them. For example, saying “you didn’t hustle today” doesn’t provide anything positive for a child to work on. Instead, saying something like “skate faster so that you can be in position for a rebound” gives them something they can work toward.

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from the Sports Esteem Hockey Workbook.

10 Top Volunteer Incentives

Every year, every team seems to go through the same ritual: How to thank the team manager. (And maybe the team treasurer, the social coordinator, the water bottle hauler.) So you take up a little collection and then you start asking around. Does this person like coffee? Movies? Golf? You buy a gift card, sign a card and you’re done. There you go: A perfectly forgettable gift that is gone in no time. This year, think about more personal gifts that don’t get lost in the shuffle of daily life:

  1. Insulated travel mug

  2. Hot/cold clear acrylic cup

  3. Stadium/tailgate foam cup holder for your favorite team

  4. Smartphone gloves

  5. Stadium blanket

  6. Spiritwear for your association

  7. Car wash, detailing, car scents

  8. Dinner out with reservations and babysitting money

  9. Tickets for a favorite experience: movies, comedy club, hockey game

  10. Top-of-the-line anything: golf balls, nail polish, car wax

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kelly Anton for this story.

Rocky Mountain Hockey Schools

Experience the BEST of the BEST! It’s not an overstatement, it’s simply the truth. Rocky Mountain Hockey Schools pairs the best specialized hockey training with a carefully selected staff that includes many of the best instructors in the industry. As if that wasn’t enough, this combination is offered at some of the greatest hockey camp locations on EARTH! Locations that are fun, beautiful, and interesting for the entire family to enjoy!

The Perfect Hockey Family Vacation

At RMHS, the development of our athletes comes first. We believe that when you find yourself being trained by the best coaches in an inspiring, awesome location, that you’ll be even more motivated to push yourself hard than you ever imagined possible, improving your skills and knowledge every day and emerging as a better player at the end of the camp.

“In my early years RMHS really helped me make a strong fundamental foundation for my hockey future. Now I am playing U18 AAA hockey and I am still building on that foundation to advance my game today.”

—Hunter Clark, Rocky Mountain Rough Riders AAA, U18

2012 RMHS Colorado Locations: Arvada, Littleton, Breckenridge, & Steamboat Springs

At all of our camps you will find our staff separating the players on and off-ice by age and skill level to optimize the training for all players involved.

Arvada APEX Center
May 3-6, 2012

RMHS Teams up with John Paris Jr and THE PARIS WAY

Elite Defenseman & Goaltending Camp – Come train with the pros. This camp is for defenseman and goaltenders that played AA/AAA or High School level hockey birth years 94-99. You receive 9 hours of on-ice training, over 5 hours of off-ice training, and 2+ hours of classroom.

Arvada APEX Center
June 25-29, 2012 (6-17yrs)

  • Checking Camp (13-17yrs)

  • Skills Drills and Small Area Games (6-12yrs)

Rocky Mountain Adventure Hockey Camp: Steamboat
Springs Howelsen Ice Arena

July 1-7
15+ hours of on-ice training

  • Professionally guided mountain activities

  • Day and resident options

  • See it here!

Littleton The Edge Ice Arena

July 9-13

  • Defensive & Offensive Concepts Camp (11-16yrs)

  • Skills, Drills, & Small Area Games (6-10yrs)

Breckenridge The Stephen C. West Ice Arena

July 30–Aug. 3

  • Shooting, Scoring, & Conditioning Camp (11-16yrs)

  • Skills, Drills, & Small Area Games (6-10yrs)

Click here to find out more about our camp focuses and how we rotate them every year to keep it fresh and new for our students.

SAVE NOW! Enter the Promo Code: AVALANCHECARES to save $50 through April 30.

End-of-Season Party: Mexican Food Recipes

Whether you’re in charge of the team dinner or a contributor to the food and beverage needs, you’re likely in the “how can I get this done quickly?” mentality. I know I always am, and I want to share with you some tried-and-true fast and delicious recipes you can whip up and receive rave reviews. And, these tasty dishes won’t break the bank.

To keep the party simple, follow these guidelines:

  • Themed parties are the easiest to coordinate with parents, because most people have favorite recipes or know where to pick up something that works within the theme.

  • Prepare a dish that holds well at room temperature conditions.

  • Depending on the size of the party and number of adult-to-children ratio, plan for a main course, side dish and salad.

  • Always try to have appetizers and desserts in bite-size portions.

  • It’s a good idea to have others bring their dishes ready to serve in a container with utensils.

  • When you take a dish to a party, label the utensil and serving dish.

Mexican-Theme Party

Check out this menu, which serves 20: Soft Tacos with Chile Cheese Chicken, Blender Guacamole, Salsa Verde, Watermelon Salad, and Roasted Potatoes with Boursin Cheese and Jalapeños.

Soft Tacos with Chile Cheese Chicken

  • 2 dozen corn tortillas or store-bought crispy taco shells

  • 20 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • Salt, pepper and chile powder

  • 2 large (15 oz) cans diced hatch green chiles (or fresh in summer)

  • 1 pound grated mixed Mexican cheeses

  • 5 limes, halved

  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Split each chicken breast horizontally without going all the way through the breast, hence creating a pocket. Season the top and inside of each breast with salt, pepper and chile powder. Place the breast on the baking sheet and stuff the inside pocket with green chiles. Top the chicken breasts with cheese and squeeze a half lime over the cheese.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove. Let rest for five minutes. Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth and microwave for one minute. Thinly slice the chicken breasts and serve with the warmed tortillas.

Keep the tortillas soft during the party by wrapping in a cloth. These tacos are delicious served with guacamole, salsa and fajita vegetables.

Blender Guacamole

  • 6 avocados, peeled and pitted

  • 10 tomatillo, peeled

  • 4 jalapeños, stems removed

  • 1/2 white onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 bunch cilantro

  • 4 limes, juiced

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Place the avocados, tomatillos, jalapeños, onion and garlic in the jar of a blender and puree until smooth. Add the cilantro, lime juice and salt, and pulse until smooth. Pour into a serving dish and serve with tortilla chips.

To store, place in a container and squeeze lime juice over the top of the guacamole and insert two avocado pits in the center. This will keep for two to three days. Yield: 4 cups.

Salsa Verde

  • 22 tomatillos, skins removed

  • 2 jalapeños, stems removed

  • 1/2 white onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro

  • 2 limes, juiced

  • Salt

Place the tomatillos and jalapeños in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. When the tomatillo skins burst, remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the tomatillos and jalapenos out with a slotted spoon. Reserve some of the liquid. Let cool to make sure the salsa attains a vibrant green color.

In a blender place the rest of the ingredients with the tomatillos and purée until smooth. Yield: 3 cups.

Watermelon Salad

  • 2 baby seedless watermelon, rind removed

  • 6 ounces pine nuts

  • 8 ounces crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese

  • 3 limes, juiced

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • Pinch of salt

  • Mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)

Cut the watermelon into 1-inch pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add in the pine nuts. Toast until the nuts turn a golden brown color. Watch carefully so the nuts don’t burn. Remove from the heat and let cool. Mix together the lime juice, honey and salt.

Just before serving, toss the watermelon with the pine nuts and cheese and toss gently. Pour on the lime dressing and mint. Toss gently so as not to break up the watermelon cubes. Serve immediately.

Roasted Potatoes with Boursin Cheese and Jalapeños

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut into small wedges

  • 5 jalapeños, seeded and chopped

  • 2 packages Boursin cheese, crumbled

  • Salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with extra virgin olive oil and add the potatoes and jalapeños. Over medium high heat, roast for 10 minutes turning when browned. Continue cooking until the potatoes are fork tender. Just before serving, add the crumbled Boursin cheese and gently toss. Cook over low heat for five minutes.You can add jalapeños or crisp bacon for flavor.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kathy Smith for this story and recipes. Kathy is a chef and freelance writer who specializes in writing about food and fitness.


Off-Season Training for High School Players

If you’re like most hockey players, you’re likely looking for the most beneficial—and injury free—off-season training program. This interview with an elite performance training coach, Oyvind Gulbrandsen of Viking Power Fitness, shares some guidelines for hockey players. Gulbrandsen spent years training pro hockey players in the off season and says, “Whether a hockey player is in a youth organization or a player with a pro team, they are all seeking the same results and that is to improve strength and performance.”

To accomplish those goals, Gulbrandsen has the youth player focus on lower and upper body strength, core stability and improved cardio. Gulbrandsen explains, “While the lower body strength is mandatory for hockey, you have to focus on a strong core and not forget about upper body workouts as well. And, if you balance your off season workouts with interval training, the result is you become a more explosive player.” Gulbrandsen says, “Youth hockey in this country is exploding. It’s a great sport for the players and families, but the key to staying injury free, is to stay fit off season.” And especially for youth, Gulbrandsen has these requirements for the players:

  • Eat for performance (his mantra)

  • Maintain a balanced diet of 55 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent protein and 20 percent fat

  • Warm up for five minutes before starting any exercise

  • Stay hydrated all day by drinking water or low sugar electrolyte drinks

  • Track performance using a heart rate monitor and know the heart rate zones

  • Cool down after each workout for five minutes

He suggests an hour in the gym for weight training two to three times a week and interval cardio workouts two times a week. He also is adamant that the youth player does no have to incorporate heavy weights into the training. “Bench press heavy weights is not the No. 1 exercise for hockey, in fact using heavy weights isn’t recommended for youth training. In Viking Power Fitness, I train hockey players using dynamic body weight exercises,” he explains.

Dynamic body weight exercises use your own body weight for performance of key exercises. Gulbrandsen says youth hockey players will benefit tremendously by performing key exercises off-season such as:

  • Two to three strength workouts a week

  • Walking lunges

  • Squats to failure without weights or using low free weights

  • Lateral lunges with a resistance band around ankles to improve hip strength and stability. Keep the band taut the whole time

  • Push-ups

  • Pull-ups

  • Planks for core strength

  • Box jumps

  • Medicine ball slams to the floor, which is raising a medicine ball to about eye level and slamming it to the floor in front of you, or on each side of your feet

Because the shifts in hockey are short and furiously fast, Gulbrandsen says interval cardio training is a must. “To reach shift performance, it is a good idea to train using a heart rate monitor and knowing your maximum heart rate. When a player trains, I like them to keep their interval bursts between 75 and 85 percent of their maximum heart rate.”

Interval Training consists of a variety cardio bursts followed by a timed reduction is effort. “If the player is training in a gym, I recommend interval training on the Stair mill, treadmill or spinning bike. Outside, the effort can be accomplished running on a track, running hills or cycling.” The off-season training he recommends for the best results is:

  • Do two interval workouts a week

  • Five-minute warmup reaching your target heart rate zone

  • 30 minutes alternating between two minutes on and one minute slowing down at 75 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate during the two minutes on

  • Five-minute cool down

Gulbrandsen summarizes, “I leave the skating drills to the coaches—my goal is to help hockey players achieve or retain their explosive ability, flexibility, full body and core strength and improve their cardio endurance for shift performance.”

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kathy Smith for this story. Oyvind Gulbrandsen grew up in Norway, where he played hockey and semi-professional soccer. He was a member of the Norwegian Military and it was during his two-year stint that he developed a passion for coaching strength and conditioning. When he left Norway in 1995, he started his fitness career in California, but it was in Denver a few years later that he catapulted to success. He is currently the Owner and Elite Performance Coach at Viking Power Fitness.


Celebrate with Class During Blowouts

No matter what you think about teams running up the score against a significantly weaker opponent (and there’s plenty to read about that!), there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: Parents and players on the winning team need to act as if they’ve been there before.

Don't celebrate every goal in a blowout of 0-11 proportions as if your team just won the Stanley Cup. Of course players can celebrate and congratulate other team members on goals. They just need to be sure their celebrations aren’t rising to the level of gloating and goading the other team. (And sorry to the third-line wingers who never score and finally get a goal. You have to show a little class, too.)

Parents and fans (by which we mean grandparents) need to show a little restraint, too. Clapping and yelling “great goal”? Fine. Jumping up and down and screaming “woo hoo” while clanging your cowbell for the 10th goal? Too much.

Think about how you feel when you’re on the other end of a blowout. (And if you haven’t been there, rest assured you will be at some point!) Then celebrate accordingly.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to the parents who’ve endured this situation and suggested the topic.

Next Page »

The Colorado Avalanche and are trademarks of the Colorado Avalanche Hockey Team, Inc. NHL and the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup are registered trademarks and the NHL Shield and NHL Conference logos are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 2008 Colorado Avalanche and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.