USA Hockey Magazine

November 2013

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IntelliGym Helps You Make Sense Of Hockey Sense By ALEX CLARK H ockey sense is a pretty common phrase around the rink. But what does it mean? "In simple terms, hockey sense is a player's awareness well ahead of situations happening on the ice," said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of Hockey Operations. "That includes positioning yourself in an area that will lead to a very high probability of success or a positive play." There is no question that stickhandling, shooting and, of course, skating are key components in the makeup of any good player. But all of the physical attributes in the world may not be enough to cover up for poor hockey sense. And, conversely, a player with supreme hockey IQ may be able to cover up for some deficiencies as he or she develops physically. "A player with good hockey sense tends to be in the right place ahead of the play, or creates situations where his team can outnumber opponents, which leads to success," noted Johannson. "For example, by anticipating positioning, a player can gain a distinct advantage by cutting down the distance to a loose puck." As players progress and their skills improve, it becomes even more important for them to hone hockey sense to take full advantage of their physical gifts. Strong hockey sense will increase the likelihood that coaches will put a player on the ice in key situations. "Hockey sense is also having the awareness of game situations," Johannson said. "Players can either physically or verbally communicate with teammates to recognize game situations as they unfold 16 NOVEMBER. 2013 and then prepare for that scenario ahead of time." Knowing that top players must continue to work on their hockey sense just like any other physical exercise, USA Hockey helped develop The Hockey IntelliGym, a software-based cognitive trainer designed to help enhance players' hockey IQ. Since 2009, the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 T eams, along with members of the U.S. Women's National Team, have used the IntelliGym as part of their training regimen. Additionally, collegiate programs such as Northeastern University and top tier Junior hockey programs such as the Canadian Hockey League's Ottawa 67's have adopted the program. "For our National T eam Development Program, the IntelliGym has both a To learn more about The good physical and mental preparation Hockey IntelliGym, visit for TheHockeyIntelliGym.com. performance," said Johannson. "It is also a program that allows each player to USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM 'develop' on their own learning curve. So, similar to the fundamentals of the game, players are able to develop their mental and awareness skills." The IntelliGym is not just effective for "elite" athletes, however. Players as young as 10 years old can benefit from the tool, and many of USA Hockey's model associations have provided the cognitive trainer for their Peewee teams. For more information on the science and research behind The Hockey IntelliGym and how you can train and develop hockey sense throughout the season, visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com. N Alex Clark is a manager of marketing for USA Hockey. ONLINE To learn more about The Hockey IntelliGym, visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com.

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