Friday, September 23, 2016

Keeping Up Your Team's Confidence

Coaching kids within the 16-20 year old age group can have it's skyward highs and also it's difficult lows.  Some seasons can feel like they breeze by with incredible ease, while others grind through with constant obstacles, struggles and hurdles to overcome.  Maintaining a positive mindset and keeping your confidence up, is a critical ingredient to success both for the player and for the team.

Male Players at the Junior Hockey Level, the level with which I coach, are asked to leave their home and be independently mature... to adjust and make rational, adult decisions.   This is far from easy. According to

Researchers at Dartmouth College scanned the brains of nineteen 18-year-old students who had moved more than 100 miles to attend school.
"During the first year of college, students have many new experiences," said psychologist Abigail Baird, the study's principal investigator. "They are faced with new cognitive, social, and emotional challenges."  A group of 17 older students, ranging in age from 25 to 35, served as a control group for comparison. The results showed that the freshmen students' brains underwent significant changes and were very different from that of the older adults.
The changes were localized to the cingulate, caudate and insula regions of the brain. These areas are believed to be where emotions and thoughts are integrated.
The researchers believe the changes represent an increased awareness of the students' inner feelings and an improved ability to organize and integrate incoming sensory information; this synthesis helps shape the kinds of emotional and behavioral responses they have to new experiences.
The results are consistent with other research suggesting that the human brain continues to grow and mature right up to the point when we become adults and even beyond. In another study, researchers found that humans don't really develop the ability to handle multiple pieces of information at once until about the ages of 16 or 17.

Understanding these challenges has forced me to alter how I coach these young men.  Through personal reflection, it has made me ask critical questions of myself and my own growth process.  It has taken a great deal of attention away from just the hockey component, and focus more on the personal development of these players, and in the process it has helped me become a better coach and better person.  Here are 3 critical ingredients I have integrated into my program to help keep the confidence of these young men up, and create a positive emotional growth period for my players and my teams:

1) Use an outside voice-  I had to learn that the more I talk, does not guarantee the more these players will listen.  In the 2014-15 season I made the decision to bring in a Life Coach to our program after a difficult stretch of games.  At the time I had no idea that it would completely change the course of our season, and the direction of our program.

Emily Clement  ( is a Life Coach in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and she began meeting weekly with our team to help them establish goals, overcome obstacles, and gain a greater understanding of the "Big Picture".  The results were both immediate and far reaching.  For example, the week before she arrive we lost a game 11-2.  After her arrival, that same season, we saw our team go from last place in our division to 2nd best, make the playoffs, and establish the highest win total by a Laconia, NH based Junior Hockey team in a decade.  Here is a video that describes the experience-

2) Show lots of Love- The days of Bear Bryant and the Junction Boys are long gone.  Recognizing that these young athletes are different, and those days are over is a necessary component to achieving team success in our current world.  Players need for you to communicate with them on an individual and personal basis, for them to "buy in" to what you are selling.

Some of the ways I have tried to show that I care include:
+ Team Dinners
+ Monday morning breakfast & coffee with small groups of players
+ Periodic, Individual Player Meetings
+ Providing them Job Opportunities with Scoring Concepts
+ Doing extra workouts and extra training sessions right along with them
+ Volunteering Activities
+ Team Movie Night
+ Community & Service Projects
+ Fun Team Building Activities
+ Bringing former Players back as Alumni/ staying involved

Each kid needs to know they have a role and they serve as a critical cog on the team wheel.  They all need to feel important.  If you can be an active participant in helping them feel a part of your team, then you will get a more cohesive, dynamic group.

3)  Use Language they understand & Communicate on their level-  The old coaching saying of, "Never ask your players to do anything that you, yourself would not do", applies in a broad sense to all aspects of your team.

I rarely talk about my own playing experiences with my team or my players, because frankly they do not care.  I am 36 years old... soon to be 37.  These players want to know what their current role models do to be successful.  They want to know how Alex Ovechkin prepares, what Nathan McKinnon does in the off-season, and how Sidney Crosby recovers.  My heroes and my experiences are not only different mentally from theirs, but also mine as well be dinosaurs. 

We exist in an instant gratification culture, and where I had to load a VHS to watch highlights, these kids have more advanced technology readily available in the palm of their hands.  Use this technology and these resources to provide them with the necessary feedback that they are looking for.  If a kid is feeling down about a certain aspect in their life or their game, use google or youtube to find out an applicable clip or article that they can relate to.  Share it them and help them through the struggle.  Be present.

Additionally, many of these kids have never spoken on a phone before, just like I have never ridden in a horse and buggy.  I find even email is outdated for them.  Communicate how they communicate, don't force them to adjust to your world.  Use not only language they will understand but also methods of communication that makes them feel comfortable.  This will allow your message to come across more clearly and have better chances to be retained by them.  If you know they are going through a goal scoring drought and it is affecting them mentally, text them a youtube clip of Steven Stamkos highlights.  This concept can be applied to school, relationships, family and much more. 

Believe it or not, on-ice ability is far from the most important ingredient in your team's success.  Off-Ice training, strength/conditioning/recovery, and systems play are all critical components.  Yet, oftentimes, the mental toughness of your individuals and your group will play the largest role in determining your teams success.

Andrew Trimble

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas

Here are some Holiday Gift Ideas for the Hockey Enthusiast in your Life!

1) Hockey Books-  Some of my favorites include:
* GRETZKY- by Rick Reilly
* Hockey Tough- by Saul Miller
* Laura Stamm's Powerskating System
* Made in America, the Chris Chelios Story- Chris Chelios with Kevin Allen

2) Hockey Shot Extreme Radar-  I have been using this at Skill Sessions and my clinics and the kids love it!

3) Bosu Balls-  These balance and strength training aids are great for hockey players and can be used for a variety of exercises to increase balance, coordination and explosiveness.

4) Hockey Trading Cards-  Like most kids from the 1980's I collected sports cards as a kid, and hockey cards make a great stocking stuffer.  Kids learn about their favorite players, look at stats, and become more engaged in the pro game.  Upper Deck and Fleer still make cards, and these can be purchase at most WalMarts.

5) EBAY...  search ebay and find great deals on used jerseys.  It's amazing what people sell, and you can get jerseys from all over the world!

6) Home School Hockey DVD by Championship Productions.  I developed this last summer (2013) and am very proud of the information and production quality.  Get details on how to improve your game with just the materials available to you in your own backyard.
* Driveway Drills
* Cardio Conditioning
* Strength Training
* Synthetic Ice Drills
* Video Analysis


Monday, October 20, 2014

Holiday Mentor Camp Set

For the 4th year running, we will be hosting our "Mentor" Camp at Laconia Ice Arena on Dec. 28.  The all- day camp features 3 hours of on-ice instruction, video skating analysis, pizza lunch, dryland skills, and even a complimentary t-shirt.  Guest instructors include current JR and college players.

For more info, go to -

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New England Wolves MJHL Training Camp

New England Wolves Training Camp ideas...

1st Day (Thursday the 28th)
Conditioning Standards tested in order to determine locker selection in team locker room.  AHI Code of Conduct meeting.  Finished off with a Hike up Lockes Hill in Gilford, NH.
2nd Day (Friday the 29th)

Circuit Training Workout at LIA, followed by a playbook meeting covering Defensive Zone Coverage and Defensive Zone Face- Off.  Finished the afternoon session off with team runs on the WOW Trail, starting near the "O" in Lakeport.

3rd Day (Saturday the 30th)
Crossfit Competition at LIA at 10am.  Guest instructors Josh & Becca Bedard of Gilford, NH.  Team and Individual workout focused.
5pm Team Pizza Party and Movie (ESPN's 30 for 30 "Four Nights in October), followed by Player Bio project by the firepit.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Great Food Choices for Athletes


Oatmeal has a high soluble fiber content, is high in complex carbohydrates, is a good source of protein and has a low glycemic index, which provides a sustained release of energy into the bloodstream—imperative for runners. Oatmeal offers your body a regular dose of Vitamin B and is rich in minerals and antioxidants. It's credited for maintaining the good level of cholesterol in the body and is known as one of the most nourishing foods for the body, especially for athletes.


Kale is a member of the cabbage family and contains high levels of vitamins: A, K, B6, calcium and iron. It's an antioxidant-rich vegetable that helps regulate the body's inflammatory process. Kale also contains carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress, as well as a high fiber content that helps lower cholesterol.


With all the different types of milk out there today, soy, almond, rice and even hemp, it seems that good old fashioned milk is still number one when it comes to athletes. Milk is loaded with carbohydrates and protein, which makes it an ideal post exercise muscle recovery beverage for endurance athletes. When carbohydrates and proteins are consumed together, muscle tissues are repaired at a faster rate than if consumed separately.


Bananas are one of the best pre- and post- workout snacks. Loaded with potassium and vitamin B6, bananas help maintain low blood sugar, regulate digestion and re-stock your body with lost electrolytes after any sort of physical exertion. Vitamin B6 in bananas acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that helps ward of cardiovascular disease.


Walnuts are a plant-based protein, rich in fiber, B-vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamin E. They contain the most Omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut and the anti-inflammatory nutrients are great for bone health.  Walnuts have also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, are beneficial for a healthy heart and make a great healthy and energizing snack on-the-go.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable, rich in vitamins A and C, which are both powerful antioxidants that work in removing free radicals from your body. They help lower blood pressure and are a powerful food for athletes because of its high vitamin and mineral content. The potassium, iron, manganese and copper are all minerals that many athletes lack; manganese and copper being crucial in healthy muscle function.

Wild Salmon

Salmon is one of the most nutrient dense proteins, full of essential Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins B12 and B6. Salmon can help reduce inflammation in our bodies through it's high content of Omega-3's, which is valuable for athletes. Salmon is known to be the king of fish because of it's high quality protein. A weekly consumption of this power food has been shown to decrease the risk of numerous cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. The antioxidant in salmon, selenium, has been shown to be beneficial in cardiovascular protection.



*It isn't always possible to eat perfectly so here are some tricks to still enjoy some favorites but to be a little healthier about it.

·        When getting sandwiches and subs, get mustard, light mayo instead of options like ranch, regular mayo or other creamy dressings.

·        Water down soda and juice.  Still tastes good but a lot less sugar.

·        Have frozen yogurt over ice cream.

·        Whole wheat, Multigrain breads instead of white.

·        Cut down on cheese, if you're going to get a burger go for a hamburger instead of cheeseburger.  Get a sandwich without cheese every so often.

·        Have smoothies.. easy way to have fruits and even some vegetables like spinach.

·        Have healthy snacks, instead of grabbing a bag of chips.. grab some almonds, fruit or veggies and hummus or yogurt dressings/dips.

·        Try yogurt dressings, like ranch and Caesar.

·        If you're getting pizza try to get veggie toppings instead of doing a meatlovers. (Ham over pepperoni)

·         Dark chocolate over regular chocolate.

·         Pretzels over chips

·         Get tomato sauces instead of alfredo or other cheese/cream sauces.

·         After workouts it is important to get healthy fats in as well as protein.  Examples of healthy fats are avocados, plant oils (olive oil), fish, nuts and seeds.

·         Try as best as you can to stay away from fast foods like Mcdonalds and Wendy's and instead go to places like Chipotle, Subway.  If you go to Mcdonalds or Wendy's get chicken breast options instead of burgers.

  •  Water and fruit after training is better then sports drinks. They are ok if you are in a rush but fruits natural sugars are much healthier.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hockey Shot Challenges!

Summer is a great time to work on your shot off the ice.  Its warm and sunny, and kids have plenty of free time to get out in their driveway or back yard and hone the shots they will be using over the winter.

Over the last several years, I've heard of youth hockey organizations, teams, hockey companies/ websites and other entities sponsor "Shot Challenges"... taking the idea of small steps leading into big leaps.  

Here are some groups that sponsor great ones with prizes available?

Hockey Share 10,000 Puck Challenge
SUMMER CONTEST - every summer we offer a contest for participants from across the world to compete against each other for some great prize packages provided by

West Fargo Challenge

Chelios Hockey

Champions Edge
The premise is simple: try and take 10,000 shots between June 2nd 2014 - August 10th 2014


Shot Challenge are an easy, fun and nearly free way to develop your skills off the ice.  These challenges teach players about setting same quantifiable goals in order to reach larger ones.  Discipline, commitment and dedication are paramount...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Hockey as Exercise

Sports Illustrated recently published an article on the NHL playoffs detailing some of the extreme measures and risks players have put their bodies through to compete for the Stanley Cup.

Here is some "food for thought" on Hockey as a form of exercise:

Caloric Consumption:
A regulation hockey game is one hour long. According to fitness resource website HealthStatus, a 160-lb. person playing one hour of hockey burns 586 calories. A 200-lb. person playing for the same amount of time would burn 732 calories.

Exercising in the Cold:
"But even when the temperatures start to plunge, there are plenty of reasons why exercising outside in the cold is better for you than working out in the warm.
In the cold, you burn more calories because the body uses more energy to generate heat. And because you sweat so much less than you would on a hot, humid day, you are much less likely to become dehydrated.
Plus, you can work out much harder in chilly temperatures than in hot ones — heat taxes the body so much more and the dangers of working out in excessive heat outweigh the benefits."

Hockey is a team sport. Practicing and playing with other people can increase your motivation to keep exercising, increasing your successes with weight loss. To lose one pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 calories. You can burn anywhere from 50 to 500 or more calories per hour depending upon the activity you are performing, but it usually takes a combination of reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity to create a significant enough caloric deficit to lose weight. Competitive sports can play an important role in your fitness routine.