USA Hockey Magazine

September 2015

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48 ILLUSTRATIONS BY Mike Curti JUNE/JULY.2015 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM If You Have A Question For Stix Handle, Send It To: Ask Stix, USA Hockey Magazine, 1775 Bob Johnson Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906 YOUR BEST BET TO SURVIVE CHECKING IN BANTAMS IS TO EITHER BE INVISIBLE OR TOO FAST TO CATCH AND HIT. SO, IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN INVISIBILITY CLOAK LIKE HARRY POTTER OR THE SPEED OF THE FLASH, YOU'RE PROBABLY GOING TO GET HIT. SERIOUSLY, WHAT YOU LACK IN SIZE, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE UP FOR IN BRAINS. IF YOU'RE SMART ABOUT IT YOU'LL BE ABLE TO COMPETE AND DEAL WITH THE PHYSICAL SIDE OF THE GAME LIKE WAYNE GRETZKY. DO THE RESEARCH WATCH PLAYERS THAT ARE CONSIDERED SMALL IN THEIR LEAGUES.THREE PRO PLAYERS COME TO MIND, ALL MEASURE IN AT 5 FOOT 9 INCHES. JOHNNY GAUDREAU AND TYLER JOHNSON MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN A BIG MAN'S GAME, EVEN WHEN THEY GET HIT. WATCH JORDIN TOOTOO DISH OUT CHECKS LIKE BIGGER MEN. THESE PLAY- ERS OBVIOUSLY MAKE A BIG IMPACT AS A SMALL PLAYER IN THE GAME. THEY ARE SKILLED, SMART HOCKEY PLAYERS, DEFINITELY PLAYERS YOU MAY WANT TO STYLE YOUR GAME AFTER. UNDERSTAND THE GAME THIS IS HOCKEY, YOU'RE GOING TO GET HIT. ALWAYS BE ON GUARD ALL OVER THE ICE. BUT BY USING YOUR BRAIN YOU WILL KNOW THE AREAS OF THE RINK YOU WILL MOST LIKELY TAKE HITS. WHEN IN THOSE SPOTS YOU CAN PREPARE YOUR- SELF FOR CONTACT OR THINK OF CREATIVE WAYS TO AVOID THE HARD HITS. HOWEVER, BEING CREATIVE IN AVOIDING CHECKS DOES NOT MEAN DUCKING OR TURNING YOUR BACK TO A CHECKER NEAR THE BOARDS. SOMETIMES, THE SMARTEST OPTION IS TO TAKE THE HIT. MUSCLE MEMORY BECOMING A SKILLED PLAYER WILL HELP YOU TAKE, DELIVER OR AVOID HITS. BEING A SKILLED PLAYER STARTS WITH THE BRAIN. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. A SKILLED SKATER CAN MOVE OUT OF TROUBLE. THE MORE CONFIDENT YOU ARE WITH YOUR BALANCE AND EDGES, THE MORE SOLID YOU WILL BE ON YOUR SKATES AND YOU WILL ABSORB A HIT BETTER. IF YOU ARE A SKILLED PUCK HANDLER, YOU CAN PLAY WITH YOUR HEAD UP. THIS WAY YOU CAN SEE THREATS COMING, WHERE TO MOVE OR WHERE TO DISH THE PUCK PRIOR TO CONTACT. WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS A HIGH IMPACT AREA OF THE RINK? MAKE A PLAN INSTEAD OF SITTING AROUND WORRYING, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. THE BEST PLAN IS TO GO OUT AND GET HIT. CALL UP A FEW TEAMMATES, PUT ON YOUR SNEAKERS AND GEAR UP. YUP. YOU CAN PRACTICE TAKING AND DELIVERING HITS OFF THE ICE. SOON YOU WILL START TO GET CONFIDENT AND COMFORTABLE WITH CONTACT . I KNOW 13 AND 14 YEAR OLD BOYS AND YOU OFTENTIMES GET CARRIED AWAY. DO ANY HITTING DRILLS SAFELY. USE YOUR BRAIN!!! CHECKING IS FOR SEPARATING THE PLAYER FROM THE PUCK, NOT THE PLAYER'S HEAD FROM HIS BODY!!! ASK QUESTIONS THE BRAIN LIKES ANSWERS, SO ASK QUESTIONS. ASK YOUR ASSOCIATION IF THEY HAVE PRE-TRYOUT PRACTICES. ASK IF THEY WILL COVER CHECKING DURING THOSE PRACTICES. ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITIES AN ASSOCIATION AND IT'S COACHES HAVE IS TO PREPARE THEIR PEEWEE PLAYERS FOR THE CONTACT THEY WILL EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY JUMP TO BANTAMS. AT THESE PRE-TRYOUT PRACTICES, COACHES SHOULD DEMONSTRATE THE PROPER AND SAFE WAY TO DELIVER AND TAKE HITS. I'M STARTING BANTAMS THIS YEAR AND I'M VERY NERVOUS ABOUT THE CHECKING. I'M ONE OF THE SMALLEST KIDS ON THE TEAM. WHAT CAN I DO THAT WILL MAKE ME LESS NERVOUS GOING INTO TRYOUTS? JOE HARDING BUFFALO, N.Y.

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