By now, we have all heard the old adage "practice makes perfect". As young kids playing sports, it gets hammered home in our heads by our parents and coaches.
Some of us thought they were saying this just to get us to go to practice, because let's be honest - we always looked forward to our games way more, and getting out of bed at 7:00AM on a Saturday morning to go through drills at the rink was tough at times.
We may have never noticed how much of a difference practice was making on our game either, but the saying really is true. Practice is an opportunity to target specific skills and scenarios of the sport, and put as much time into them as you need.
Yes we're also getting good "practice" while we're playing our games, but you can't plan for what aspects of your game are getting worked on. If the biggest weakness of your game is your play along the boards, you can ask your coach to spend a full practice working on that, and fix your biggest weakness in one session. You may go several full games without getting the chance to work along the boards.
We know some of you are hesitant to practice because what's the point anymore, right? You're getting older and think that you've reached the peak of your game. Plus - you're just playing hockey for the fun now anyways. But practice can be fun, too. Book some ice for you and some friends, and go mess around for a couple hours. Instead of typical drills, use the ice time to run some competition-based drills - a circuit involving many aspects of the game, for example. You won't even realize that you're improving because you'll just be laughing with friends. Plus with practice, you're more likely to bring home the league championship.
Many of our CARHA Hockey members also have kids now and putting more time into your own game sets a fine example for your kids. They'll want to follow in your footsteps and practice every chance they get.
All the benefits are there! As Allen Iverson once said, "We're talking about practice?" Well yes Allen, we are, because there's no reason to avoid it.