Choosing the Right Pre-Season Hockey Camp
What is the best way to prepare young hockey players for evaluations? This question will be on many players and parents minds in the coming months. There are many options and opinions to sift through when trying to find the best program for an athlete, which is discussed below.
Pre-season prep-camps are an excellent way to prepare athletes so they can showcase themselves appropriately during evaluations. The old manner of thinking was these camps should be conditioning camps, heavy on skating and work load, and low on actual skill teaching and development. However, a conditioning camp does not always meet the needs of the athlete as they enter evaluations. In most cases, conditioning camp models often force the athlete to expend too much energy and they end up going into tryouts and evaluation sessions far from their peak abilities and energy levels.
Prep-camps far outweigh the value of conditioning camps as they often focus on skills and making players comfortable on the ice again. The approach to a good prep-camp should be athlete-centered and embrace the following:
• promotes skill development
• does not over-condition or over-exert athletes
• promotes building up to flow drills that help create confidence in skills and executions
• allows players to touch the puck a lot in both low intensity and high tempo drills
• combines tempos and skills continuously
• offers a few days of recovery between camp and evaluations.
Recovery is extremely important for athletes. While it often seems logical to push athletes to a high performance level and continue at it for a longer duration of time, this methodology does not allow the athlete to recover. The recovery process is where most adaptations take place and is crucial in the development of young and mature athletes alike.
It is important a camp challenges athletes to work hard, however it should also make them feel comfortable on their edges, as well as confident handling, passing, receiving and shooting the puck.
A properly executed prep-camp can be a major advantage for athletes as they get ready for the new season. Arm yourself with the best knowledge and find the camp that will push an athlete where they need to go.