Kick It to the Stick

I find that the longer I'm away from this blog, the harder it is to get back to writing, probably because it's difficult to know where to pick up again. It's like scrapbooking: the further behind you get, the less likely you are to resume. Rather than fretting about it for much longer, I decided to just post some observations and hope that these kick-start some more regular posting over here, since now's a good time for me to write—I'm in the process of finding a new job, and in the meantime I have more time to write about (and play) hockey.

This past Freeze season was a bit of an off (I originally said odd, and that would probably apply too) one for us, especially after winning the championship last year; as I mentioned in earlier posts, we lost several players at the top end and and gained a few from the D team, so it was really a rebuilding year.

I was disappointed to finish the season with NO GOALS (arrgh!), but I did make some progress skillwise. My shot got harder and higher, for one thing—although knowing that I have a decent shot now just made the no goals thing all the more frustrating.

I think Billy knew it, and noticed that the shot I have in practice (which is usually executed at full speed or nearly so) is not the shot I get a chance to use in games. In games I'm usually camped out down low, staying 1-5 feet outside the crease until the puck is definitely over the blue line. (I'm still not fast, exactly, but I can clear the zone quickly when necessary, and I feel like it's a good idea to stay in front of the net until I'm forced to leave it.)

Staying down low until the last second gotten me lots of chances, but most of them went right into the goalie's pads or glove. Billy had a solution though: He said that since I was down low so often, I needed to master a kind of snap shot that goes high, fast, so I'm shooting over a goalie who's dropped to cover the crease.

It took a bit of practice, but I can now execute it pretty reliably both on and off the ice. I actually miss *over* the net more often than not now; I've lost a few pucks over the glass, and two over the chain link fence I shoot against behind my house. (I have no idea what the neighbors did with them.) I'm looking forward to trying the shot in actual games now, since I only learned it with a couple games to go at the end of the season.

The other big thing I learned this season (and to many it will seem like a little thing, but to me it's a milestone) is how to kick the puck onto my stick and keep going. I can't do it every time, but to my shock, I can do it fairly regularly. It makes a huge difference in my puck handling in that I'm able to recover from bad passes or my own mistakes.

Oh, and can I just say that it was nice to be the good example a few times this season (as in "next time, do what Lori did and cut across the ice to shorten the pass") instead of the bad one ("STAY AT YOUR POINT!")? Yay me! Looking forward to mixed-level, refereed pickup this summer, and especially to the regular Freeze season in the fall!

Posted by Lori in Freeze ~ Fall/Winter 2008 | June 3, 2009·12:19 PM