As the nights spent on fields and diamonds start to dwindle out, players are getting prepared to exchange the cleats for skates as the 2017-18 GTHL season approaches. With just over two weeks until puck drop, now is the time that parents and kids alike should start their planning for the season ahead. Here are a few things to take into consideration before hitting the ice.
“The first thing players should do is ensure that their equipment fits properly,” emphasized Craig Swistun, Head Coach of the Toronto Shamrocks Minor Midget “A” team, and a ten-year coaching veteran. “Proper equipment is the key and young players can and do grow during the off-season.”
Players should try on each piece of equipment, including skates and helmet, well before their first practice or game in order to step on the ice safely. If parents are unsure about proper fitting, they should consult with experts at their local sporting goods store, or their team trainer.
Scheduling and Organization
The start of hockey season also means the start of a new routine. Balancing hockey, homework, and school can be easily done with proper planning.
“Everyone has a busy schedule but if you develop a routine on game and practice days it will make life easier,” said Patrick Manza, Manager of the Atom “AAA” Mississauga Senators. “It may involve enlisting the help of others on the team for car-pooling, etcetera.”
In addition to getting everything organized, Vaughan Rangers Atom “AA” Head Coach Carlo Aletto stresses the importance of making the players take charge when it comes to preparation.
“I tell the parents to make the players take responsibility for hockey activities like packing their bag, taping stick and filling water bottle even at a young age,” said Aletto. “These are skills that will help them not only now, but in their future outside of hockey.”
Setting personal goals as well as learning the team objectives will allow give players a clearer picture of how they want their season to pan out.
“Coaches will generally reinforce these principles during a training camp or preseason,” explains Manza. “Understanding what expectations are in place for the season as well as the coaching plan will help alleviate stress and mentally prepare players to ease back into training and competing.”
Click here for a list of important dates for the 2017-18 GTHL season.