Archive for the Hockey Category

Coach’s Guide To Interacting With Parents

Being a coach can be hard enough without parents becoming an issue. But the fact is that a good parent-coach interaction is important to the team’s success.

Most parents are very supportive and try not to complain. Furthermore, most issues are non-issues and have a way of working themselves out over time. If you are well-organized, coaching well, are modeling great sportsmanship and your teams are competitive, you won’t hear many complaints.

Many parents are simply misinformed, don’t really understand the game or just love to complain. The bigger issue is usually the “player agents”… akin to stage moms. These parents believe that their child is special and have a career ahead of them and their agenda is far from hidden. Regardless of which type of parent you’re dealing with, there are steps to improve the parent-coach relationship. After all, it’s supposed to be about the kids, right?

Disagreements between a parent and coach typically begin when the parent believes that their child is not on the field enough, but a fair amount of problems involve disagreements with coaching style or competitive level of play. Playtime is by far the top complaint. Parents want to see their child play as much as possible. Unfortunately for you as a coach, you have a team full of kids whose parents would love to see their child playing a good portion of the game. You also have to do your best to ensure a win or your coaching style will be called into question. Some days it would seem that you just can’t win (and with some people, you just can’t. Try not to dwell on that).

TREAT PLAYERS WITH RESPECT
This rule needs to be the basis of all interactions. This will go very far in helping your cause when there is an issue. If your players feel respected, they will respect you. Hot tempers are often the result of feeling disrespected. Respect also needs to be paid to the parents, even the angry ones. The way you treat people will more often than not alleviate much of the frustration that caused the parent to confront you in the first place. Respect is easy to spot and don’t think for one second that these parents aren’t watching your interactions.

DON’T FORGET THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CONFIDENCE
As with respect, learning how to coach self-confidence into your players will dispel much of the impending conflict. More than anything else, parents want their child to play their best. They want them to exhibit confidence in who they are and their ability even if their child is not the best player on the team. You don’t want your players to feel belittled or unworthy.

Being a coach is an awesome responsibility. You have self-esteem in your hands and it can grow under your care or it can be shot down very quickly. You should be reinforcing the idea that, while everyone wants to win, the important thing is that everyone do their best.

THIS IS YOUR TEAM… ESTABLISH THE RULES AHEAD OF TIME:
Now that we have coaching style dealt with, let’s discuss the importance of setting rules and boundaries. This should be done before the season starts. If possible, call a meeting before the first practice (definitely before the first game) and explain what you expect from parents and what they can expect from you. Remember that many of these parents and players have worked with other coaches and they may come into the season with pre-conceived expections. Parents and players will come into the season with pre-conceived expectations. If you, as the coach, do not articulate what the expectations should be for your team, the parents will use their uninformed expectations as the standard by which you are measured. You want to emphasize that your rules are non-negotiable, but that you are willing to keep the door open for discussion.

Be sure to open the discussion to hear their concerns as well. By getting everyone’s expectations out up front, you can understand their position and assure them that you will do your best to make sure that everyone has a good time. Let them know what type of behavior and attitude is expected and accepted.
Describe your goals for the team, your coaching style, and how your style will help the team attain the goals. Explain to both the players and parents how you will determine play time and how much emphasis will be placed on winning games. Set these expectations early, but don’t stop there. Include parents in a little pre-game pep talk in which you go over the team’s goals and expectations. Keep this short and be sure you’re not singling anyone out.

Even when you set player and parent expectations up front, there inevitably will be times when conflict arises and it is important to have a conflict resolution policy in place to reduce the emotional impact and maintain the team’s positive attitude.

USE TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP PARENTS UPDATED
These days, it’s so easy to keep the lines of communication open. Set up a Facebook (and.or Twitter) page for your team and post updates as needed. Not only will this cut out many of the calls you get about schedules and events, it also becomes a place where parents can express concerns in a neutral setting. If you are having a recurring issue that isn’t a hotbed topic, bring it to the forum and get input from the parents.

RESOLVE CONFLICT WITH CIVILITY
As a coach, making yourself available for discussion with the player and parent (an open door policy if you will) goes a long way to keeping anger at bay. Be sure that parents feel comfortable approaching you, but not so comfortable that they begin to invade. The open door policy allows you to resolve issues as they come up without them boiling over and exploding later on.

Many coaches prefer a player managed policy in which parents don’t get involved in issues, but rather allow the player and coach to hash things out on their own. Obviously, this type of conflict resolution is reserved for middle school, high school and college when children are able to make thought out decisions on their own. With this style, it is the player’s responsibility to voice their grievance. Coaches that successfully use this policy listen to the player’s concern to understand the underlying issue but also know the best communication method to reach each player.

Every coach, regardless of how effective their communication style is or how passionate they are about coaching, will have player and parent conflicts. If you are prepared for it, the whole process will go much smoother and any disagreements can be worked through in an effective manner. To keep any misunderstandings down to a minimum, set the expectations early in the season, let both the player and parent know how and when they can approach you to voice their concern, and then listen to them and agree to a resolution path. Calm heads and open communication will lead to a successful season for all involved.

Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen

 

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Hockey: Staying Fit in the Off-Season

A good off-season workout routine is crucial to hone your skills and prepare you for in-season play and performance. Proper form, consistency and attention to detail will keep you in optimum shape to help you endure long games when the season finally rolls back around.

On average players are performing for 15-20 minutes of a 60-minute game, so a hockey training program should meet the demands of this physically challenging sport. Be sure that your workout program incorporates the following activities: cardiovascular training, strength and flexibility training as well as endurance exercises. Remember that simply playing hockey to keep your body fit is not enough. Off-season and in-season body training will help you to maintain speed and strength as well as the physical and mental readiness for each upcoming season.

Hockey players are faced with 30-80 second intervals with a 4-5 minute rest between shifts and usually consist of short, intense bouts of high speed skating and aggressive body contact. The intermittent nature of the game means that endurance becomes of the utmost importance. Add to all this the fact that players are skating, holding a stick and controlling a puck and you’ll see that hockey is in fact very physically challenging.

Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular fitness helps players cope with these demands and can help speed recover from an injury. Establishing a good cardiovascular “base” is very important before focusing on more specific exercises. Start with a 4-day workout program, concentrating on the lower body for two days; upper body for a day. Begin every session by focusing on strong aerobic exercises by cycling on an exercise bike or treadmill for 20 minutes. Include sprints, starting with 400-meter exercises and then working up to shorter and faster exercises. Running for distance is probably your best option to get your heart rate up and help with endurance.

Strength and Flexibility Training
Strength and flexibility training in the off-season promote a balanced body, improves muscular endurance and power and helps stabilize joints. However, be sure that your weight training is targeted and specific. Increased lean mass is not the only goal of strength training. Gains in maximal strength are only useful on the rink if they are converted into explosive power and power endurance. This takes a more refined approach than a typical bodybuilding routine.

Flexibility exercises stretch tight muscles and improve joints’ range of motion. Incorporating strength and flexibility training into your off-season workout routine also helps prevent injury. Start by lifting weights three to four times per week, taking a day off between workouts to allow your body to rest and recover. Be sure that you are stretching after each workout to keep your body flexible and strong. Children should use strength training (not weight training), using his/her body weight to provide the resistance. This will ensure that you are not piling on more than your child can lift. Weight lifting injuries are common among children, but they should be able to lift their own body weight with little trouble after time.

Some other good exercises to build into your routine include squat exercises, jumping rope, sprinting and stair climbing. These are all great for upper body strengthening. Also try fast push-ups and power abdominal crunches.

Endurance Training
Training for endurance involves intensity and duration. This type of training is typical of a long distance runner’s routine and will help you increase oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle and increased utilization as fat for fuel (which spares muscle glycogen). Endurance training is about getting yourself to the point that you can endure intense physical activity for longer periods of time without being too winded afterward. It also means that your muscles can continue after such strenuous exercise. In essence, there are three forms of endurance training that you’ll need to incorporate into your routine; aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance and speed endurance.

  • AEROBIC ENDURANCE: Aerobic simply means “with oxygen”. During an aerobic workout, your body is working at a level that the demands for oxygen and fuel can be meet by the body’s intake. Aerobic endurance is developed using continuous and interval running to improve maximum oxygen intake and to improve the heart’s function as a muscular pump.

    Aerobic endurance can be sub-divided into short, medium and long aerobic endurance. You’ll want to get proficient in each of these areas:
    Short aerobic – 2 minutes to 8 minutes (lactic/aerobic)
    Medium aerobic – 8 minutes to 30 minutes (mainly aerobic)
    Long aerobic – 30 minutes + (aerobic)

  • ANAEROBIC ENDURANCE: Anaerobic simply means “without oxygen”. During anaerobic workout, your body is working so hard that the demands for oxygen and fuel exceed the rate of supply and your muscles have to rely on the stored reserves of fuel. The oxygen-starved muscles take the body into an oxygen debt of sorts and lactic starts to accumulate in the muscles. Unless the oxygen debt is repaid, your activity will not be resumed. Anaerobic endurance can be developed by using repetition methods of high intensity work with limited recovery.

    Anaerobic endurance can be sub-divided into short, medium and long aerobic endurance. You’ll want to get proficient in each of these areas:
    Short anaerobic – less than 25 seconds (mainly alactic)
    Medium anaerobic – 25 seconds to 60 seconds (mainly lactic)
    Long anaerobic – 60 seconds to 120 seconds (lactic +aerobic)

  • SPEED ENDURANCE: Speed endurance is used to develop the co-ordination of muscle contraction. This type of training should form the later part of pre-season training and in-season training. It is important to develop a solid fitness base beforehand, which includes strength and endurance conditioning. Because speed endurance training can be so demanding, keep session duration to 20-30 minutes maximum. Rest intervals should consist of active recovery exercises such as walking or jogging slowly on the spot.

    Sprints are great for speed endurance. Try changing this training up a bit with some high intensity shuttle runs. You’ll need 7 cones in total. Pace out 30 meters on grass or a running track. Place a cone at the start and at 5 meter intervals. Sprint from the starting cone to the 5 meter cone and back. Turn and sprint to the 10 meter cone and back to start. Sprint to the 15 meter cone and back to start and so on until you sprint the full 30 meters and back. Rest for 90 seconds and repeat. Complete a total of 6 sets keeping rest periods to 90 seconds.

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    Hockey: Suiting Up For The First Time

    New players to the game of hockey inevitably face the task of putting on all their gear for the first time. While getting dressed in all that gear seems like a daunting task, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. New players may want to practice a few times at home until they feel comfortable.

    Remember that all your gear is adjustable. If it doesn’t fit quite right the first time, try adjusting them until you find the right fit.

    Here is a step by step guide to putting on hockey equipment:
    1. Put on your undergarments. These can be compression shorts or jock shorts. Jock Shorts have a pocket for a cup and velcro tabs on the front and back of each leg to attach your hockey socks to. Jock shorts can be worn over compression pants. Some compression shorts also have a cup pocket with the velcro tabs.

    2. Step into your athletic cup by putting both feet through the elastic waistband. Secure the garter belt around your waist, making sure that it fits snugly and comfortably around the groin area but is not too tight.

    3. Put on your Hockey Pants/Girdle. Tighten your pants with the belt so that the pants fit comfortably but provide for adequate flexibility. If they are still too loose, you can use a pair of suspenders to keep them up.

    4. Put on your shin guards (these will go under your hockey socks). Make sure that you leave enough space near your ankles for your skates. Some shin-guards have straps that can be tightened. Others need to be secured with hockey socks.

    5. Hockey Socks are long cotton socks that are open on the top and the bottom. Your hockey socks go over your shin pads and attach to your garter belt.

    6. Put on your skates and tie them very tight without cutting off circulation to your feet. The bottom of your knee pad should come just to the tongue of your skate. Tape everything in place.

    7. Shoulder Pads go over the compression shirt or t-shirt. Slip your head through the middle hole and put your arms through the arm bands underneath the shoulder plate. Tighten the straps until the shoulder pads are secure but allow adequate range of motion.

    8. Elbow Pads go over your long sleeve compression shirt. The joint of your elbow should rest squarely in the cup of the elbow pads. Adjust the staps so the pads fit tight but are still be comfortable.

    9. Neck Guard fits around the neck to protect against sharp skate blades. Most models fasten in the back with an adjustable closure.

    10. Finally, put on your jersey, helmet, and gloves. Put the mouth guard in and you are ready to play!

    After practice or games, be sure to remove the gear in the opposite order you put things on. Everything will then go back in the bag in the order you need them next time.

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    Sports Nutrition:
    Fueling Your Little Athlete

    All too often, we complain about how inactive this generation has become. With all the technological options keeping so many occupied, it’s refreshing to still see so many kids at the local baseball field, hockey rink, gymnasium or swimming pool. These parents have done a great thing by keeping their kids active!

    Right after sign ups, parents scramble around for the proper equipment… which, of course is necessary to keep them safe. So, we’ve addressed the outside… let’s work to get the inside healthy! It’s a well known fact that athletes require a special diet to fuel their activity. Much like a car, our bodies cannot run without the proper fuel. What your athlete eats is probably the single most import factor on their performance.

    So while you may not want to go to the extreme of hiring a nutritionist like professional athletes do, we have some tips to keep players fueled up and ready to go!

    Please note: Endurance training (multiple daily workouts) may mean that you will require slightly more servings of certain foods than is generally recommended.

    So what exactly SHOULD their diet be?
    1. Carbohydrates
    Carbs have taken quite the hit lately with numberous dieticians warning of their weight gaining potential. But in the world of sports, carbohydrates are essential for maintaining a high energy level. Carbohydrates are the first energy source the body uses to exercise. When carbohydrate intake gets too low, your muscles run out of fuel and our body starts to use fat and protein.

    Since most sports feature short bursts of intense effort followe by rest, it is imperative that you keep your body fueled up. Pasta, rice, whole grains (as in breads and cereals), fruit and vegetables and even milk products are all great sources of carbohydrates. During a busy and rigorous training schedule, you should keep carbohydrates to snack on before, during and after exercise.

    a. Before exercise, your meal/snack should be a combination of high carbohydrate and low glycemic index (half a lightly buttered bagel, fruit smoothie, yogurt with oatmeal). Carbs give you a nice energy boost and delay fatigue.
    b. During your workout, carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar to fuel your muscles. Be sure to choose snacks that consist mostly of carbohydrates, some protein and little fat. This combination is commonly found in energy bars, dried fruit or a peanut butter sandwich (jelly’s fine to add). You will want to replenish your carbohydrates about every 90 minutes or so to maintain energy levels.
    c. Carbohydrates aid in the repair of tissue will make all the difference for ending an active day on a healthy, positive note. Your recovery snack options can include trail mix, sports bars, and yogurt. Just be sure that the amount of carbs in your snack are higher than normal.

    2. Protein
    Protein is probably the most highly sought out dietary supplement. With protein powders and shakes, the protein intake from and athlete’s regular and supplemented diet is quite elevated from the average person. In general, your normal intake should be sufficient to meet your needs and you want to be careful to ensure that protein isn’t replacing carbohydrates in your diet since carbs are more helpful than protein in boosting your energy.

    3. Hydration
    Even slight dehydration can affect how well you perform. Athletes in particular need to be drinking at least 5 ounces of water or sports drinks every 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind that children are at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated than adults. And most importantly, if you are thirsty, you’re already severly dehydrated! Athletes should be drinking before, during and after a game or workout.

    While water is the best thirst quencher and cure for dehydration, kids tend to resist drinking the flavorless liquid. If your child shies away from drinking water, you need to be sure that you have plenty of sports drinks handy. Either way, it’s important that you avoid dehydration. The damage is more than just being thirsty.

    4. Food Choices
    Competitions and tournaments, primarily those you travel to, often result in quick meals at restaurants… primarily fast food. If the right choices are made, this is generally not a problem.

    Attending competitions and tournaments often means that you are eating out in restaurants… primarily fast food. But even fast food restaurants can a good part of an athlete’s nutrition… if the right choices are made. Here are a few tips when eating out:
    a. Avoid breading and deep-fried foods. Pizza is ok in moderation, but fatty meat toppings should be avoided.
    b. Be careful of what is on top: Dressings and condiments (especially mayonnaise and “special” sauces) are usually what make your meal an unhealthy choice. These sauces add calories and fat without any health benefit whatsoever.
    c. Some smart choices: Baked potatoes instead of french fries, vegetable pizza over meat lover’s, broth-based soups (like chicken noodle) instead of cream or cheese based soups.
    d. Snacks should also be high in carbohydrates, but low in fat. Pretzels, trail mix, rice cakes, cereal bars, fruit and yogurt are a few good choices.

    Whether your child is participating in a championship hockey, baseball or lacrosse game, a big swim meet or pick up game of soccer at the local park, good nutrition can make a difference. Children in general need the right fuel for their growth and development, but an athlete needs to take extra care to keep them healthy and to help them to be the best they can be in their chosen sport. What an athlete eats and drinks can have a huge effect on his or her performance. Encourage your child to be active and to eat like an athlete.

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    Which Type of Coach Are You?

    Coaching a junior league team is a special type of journey that few actually get the pleasure of experiencing. The role involves incredible responsibility and will have a far-reaching impact on the lives of your players. Your approach can help the kids develop a passion for the game or can stifle their desire to ever play the game again.

    Which Type of Coach Are You?

    The Leader
    The Leader is the type of coach that the kids respond to because they command trust and respect. This type of coach sets the example from the beginning and continues to set the pace and tone of games and practices in a positive and upbeat manner. The Leader Coach uses a sound knowledge of the game and skillful persuasion to help the players master the game and have fun at the same time. The Leader never passes up an opportunity to reinforce learning with real-game experience and always adheres to the same rules he/she expects of the players.

    The Motivator
    The Motivator knows more than just the rules of the game… This type of coach also knows how to communicate with players in a way that gets results. The goal of the Motivator is to guide, inspire and empower the young player to realize and develop his/her full potential. A successful motivator shows a positive attitude and enthusiasm for the game and the players.

    Getting the kids to believe in themselves is much easier for some coaches than others. Motivation may mean keeping the practice fun, fresh and challenging. When motivating a player, stress performance goals… not outcome goals. The Motivator stresses that while you can’t control what your opponent does or the outcome of every match, the purpose is to play their best and have fun doing it. Like the Leader, this type of coach shows respect and encourages players to remain positive regardless of the outcome.

    The Dictator
    The Dictator is a dangerous type of coach. The kids respond, but it’s usually out of fear. This type of coach may very well have a sound knowledge of the game, but there is no persuasion and no room for opinions. Even the best coach can’t control the actions of all players in the game, but the Dictator sure does give it a try.

    The Confrontationalist
    The Confrontationalist is rare (luckily). This type of coach goes beyond the polite disagreements that are typical in any sporting event. With little to no regard for the example being set, the Confrontationalist will argue, bully and scream his way into the spotlight and onto the bad side of most who are unlucky enough to witness his/her tirades. A general lack of communication skills and anger management pit the Confrontationalist against the umpire/ref, the other coaches and at times, even the children trying to play the game.

    Pick your style and have fun
    A great coach is not easy to find and requires a very unique set of talents and skills. Organized sports are great for boosting self-esteem, developing teamwork skills, establishing rules and roles, and (of course) providing fun and entertainment. Most coaches are fantastic and the experience is memorable in a good way. Remember that the players are learning and your role is to guide them to victory… not necessarily on the scoreboard, but most definitely in experience.

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    Hockey: Finding the Right Hockey Stick Flex For You

    So what is a hockey stick flex anyway?
    A flex is a measure of how flexible or how stiff a hockey stick is when force is applied to it. Since the flex rating indicates how many pounds of force it takes to flex the stick one inch, you should know that some sticks are significantly easier to bend than others. Finding the right flex is somewhat of a preference based on skill level. The appropriate flex varies among players, so you’ll want to try out different options.

    The higher the flex, the stiffer the stick. The stiffer the stick, the more power you will have behind your shot. Keep in mind that if a stick is so stiff that you cannot flex it properly with your shooting motion, then your effectiveness will be limited.

    How does flex impact play?
    Essentially, when a player takes a shot, the stick bends a bit to turn the hockey stick into a spring of sorts. When the stick unbends, the “spring” is released and the energy accelerates the puck. You want a stick that offers resistance while still allowing you to flex the stick easily.

    What flex is right for me?
    Ideally, the flex should be approximately one half of your body weight. Players over 150 pounds should use a stick with at least 75 flex. Obviously, this is just a guideline and your own comfort and ability to use the stick effectively should dictate the flex you use. Players with above average strength for their size should consider a stiffer stick while new players may want to go down a level. An average flex is 85.

    If you are able to test the stick in a Pro Shop, use your normal hand position on the stick and hold the stick with the blade on the floor. Hold your top hand stationary and push down and forward with your lower hand. You should be able to flex the stick about an inch without using all your effort. If you are unable to flex the stick this much, then the flex is too high.

    Women and smaller players tend to benefit from an intermediate stick. Intermediate sticks are similar in size to senior sticks but have a lighter flex.

    The most common stick flexes are:
    Youth: 40 flex
    Junior: 50 flex
    Intermediate: 60-75 flex
    Regular: 85 flex
    Stiff: 100 flex
    Extra stiff: 110 flex

    Remember that finding the right stick is a personal choice. Guidelines are just that… guidelines. Be sure to try different styles until you find one that fits your playing style and level of play.

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    Hockey: Icing Rule Explained

    Hockey is a game of tremendous speed and constant contact. It’s also a game of strategies and techniques that can give a team an advantage. But these strategies are not always without consequence. The three major NHL rules that limit the movement of the puck are icing, off-side, and out-of-play. For now, we’ll concentrate on icing.

      What exactly is icing?

    Basically, icing is a tactic whereby a player on his own side of the red line dumps the puck to the end of the ice from behind the center ice red line. If the puck crosses the opposing goal line untouched, and is then retrieved by an opposing player, icing is called. Considered a delaying tactic, it results in a stoppage in play and a face-off in the offending team’s defensive zone. The purpose of the icing rule is to encourage continuous action.

    When the conditions of “icing the puck” have occurred, the referee will blow his whistle and raise his non-whistle hand over his head. Play stops and a face-off is held in the defensive zone of the team that iced the puck. The back official will then move to the face-off spot and give the icing signal.

      Why is icing a problem?

    The icing rule was introduced by the NHL to prevent teams from wasting time when they were ahead late in the game, especially if the score was still close. The rule was designed to prevent a team from “dumping” the puck into their opponent’s zone in order to use up the clock or to avoid playing defense.

    Before the rule, teams that were stuck in their own defensive end for too long would ice the puck just to be able to make a line change and switch out tired players. In 2005, the NHL modified the icing rule to state that the five players on the ice for the offending team must remain on the ice for the subsequent face-off. The modification resulted in fewer icing incidents since the severity of the penalty outweighed the benefit.

    Please Note: The icing rule for non-pro hockey varies by league. Most leagues enforce a “no-touch” icing, in which icing is called and play is stopped as soon as the puck crosses the goal line, regardless of whether or not an opponent touches it.

      Exceptions to the rule…

    One exception to the icing rule occurs when a team is shorthanded. During power play situations, the shorthanded team is allowed to dump the puck without an icing penalty being called. Icing can also be waved off if the referee determines that an opposing player could have touched the puck before it crossed the goal line.

    In the NHL and AHL, a player on the opposing team other than the goaltender must touch the puck to cause the stoppage of play. If the puck is first touched by the goaltender or a player on the team that iced the puck, icing is waved off (cancelled) and play continues.

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    Hockey: Required Hockey Equipment

    Ice Hockey is a pretty rough sport that consists of twelve players fighting over a little 3″ puck that can be launched like a missile. Add skates and big sticks and you have the potential for injury. Playing over ice also increases the risk as ice can cause both shock and serious internal injuries.

    The following specialized ice hockey equipment pieces are required for this game.

    1. Ice Skates: The first thing that you must understand is that there are 2 different types of skates – those for figure skating and those for ice hockey. Player’s skates have a smooth edge from the front of the blade to the rear. Goalie skates are nearer to ground for better balance and are designed for the side to side movement. Be sure to check for ankle stability. Choose a skate that has extra features to support your ankles.

    2. Helmet with Cage and Mouth-guard: One of the most important equipment purchases you will make is the helmet. Most helmets function the same but look very different. The biggest difference is the type of face mask it includes. Whether plastic or wire, most masks do not block your vision during play. Find what works best for you. There is no right or wrong type of cage.

    3. Hockey Stick: Originally made of wood (ash, birch and willow), sticks are now primarily made of carbon fibers and graphite. These materials provide added flexibility and durability. When you’re standing in shoes, your stick should come at least to your nose. Always be ready with two sticks as hockey sticks sometimes break.

    4. Ice Hockey Pants: These specially designed pants provide cushioning for the thighs and legs and include stiff plastic inserts for impact protection. Most models also provide kidney protection and are somewhat loose fitting for freedom of movement.

    5. Hockey Gloves: These provide protection to the outer part of the hands. The palm area is thin for better grip on the stick. Goalie gloves are different and are not interchangeable.

    6. Shoulder Pads: For protecting upper torso, chest, shoulder blade, collar bones and rib cage. Be sure to check for the right combination of padding and range of motion.

    7. Elbow Pads: Equipped with adjustable Velcro straps, these pads cover the forearm, elbows and triceps and help avoid injury from falls and pucks. As with most protective equipment, elbow pads are required in most every league. Available in Junior, Intermediate and Adult sizes.

    8. Shin Guard: Knees are the most vulnerable since the risk of falls are great. Protecting your knee caps and frontal bones with the shin guard is absolutely essential. To fit shin guards, bend your knee at a 90-degree angle so the blade of the skate is flat on the floor. Start measuring at the center of the kneecap, all the way down to the top of the skate boot. The measurement in inches should match the length measurement of the shin guard.

    9. Neck Guard: Serious neck injury can be prevented with a Neck Guard. An errant flying puck or opponent’s skates and sticks can result in season-ending injuries.

    10. Jockstrap (men) or Pelvic protector (women): This piece of protective equipment is quite self-explanatory. Let’s keep ourselves properly protected.

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    Customized Team Uniforms & Jerseys From MonkeyTeamSports.com!!!

    Did you know that MonkeyTeamSports.com™ can customize your team uniforms and jerseys?

    Need Heat Pressing, Sublimation, ScreenPrinting, Embroidery, Tackle Twill… Custom Logos?
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    “The Office” TV Show (Feb 10, 2011 Episode)
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    What is Embroidery?

    Embroidery is the art of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. The basic techniques or stitches of the earliest work—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.

    Machine embroidery mimics hand embroidery, especially in the use of chain stitches, but the “satin stitch” and hemming stitches of machine work rely on the use of multiple threads and resemble hand work in their appearance, not their construction.

    Advantages of Embroidery:
    Embroidered designs are a great way to add excellence and creativity to your uniform or jersey. Embroidery generally has a longer lead time than other types of customization, but the effect is quite nice.

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