With tryouts around the corner Concussion Canada has compiled a list of 9 useful tips to avoid a concussion this hockey tryout season. The start of checking was moved a few years back to the bantam level from the level of peewee as it was thought to allow for more time for kids to develop other areas of their game. This was intended to better prepare themselves for body contact as they would have had more experience with the basics such as skating and stickhandling.
Body contact and checking has long been an important element of competitive hockey as it is a useful tactic to remove a player from the play. The goal of hitting is not to hurt or intimidate the other player but rather a means to strategically pressure your opponent to create an opportunity for one’s team. Having said that if done properly checking can add a component to the game that makes for a faster more highly competitive sport.
With head injuries and concussions becoming more and more prevalent it is more important than ever to protect oneself. Although there are an endless array of tips and techniques to better protect you when it comes to checking and contact we have created a list of our 9 best suggestions to prepare you this season.
1. Keep your head up. If you want to avoid a concussion you need to keep your head up and see what is in front, beside and behind you.
2. Be a proficient skater. The stronger you are at skating the better you can handle the hit.
3. Avoid the danger zone. The danger zone is the 2-4 feet distance from the boards where you are most vulnerable.
4. Gauge and adjust your speed. If your speed is not equal to or more than that of your opponent, you are more likely to be injured from the contact.
5. Concentrate on the player not the puck during the check.
6. Skate with the check and avoid gliding with it.
7. Have a good solid stance and avoid telegraphing your movements.
8. Avoid head contact and focus on shoulder to shoulder contact.
9. Gain confidence and experience. Checking clinics are a great way to brush up on your skills and better prepare you for contact in a game environment.
As your tryouts begin in the coming weeks remember to stay focussed and make intelligent decisions that will help better protect you on the ice. There are plenty of resources online including Hockey Canada’s 4 step progression guide that you can find on their website –
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