Newbie Night Success

by barbaragarn

What a blast to watch the all-newbie group play. They were tentative at first, but by the end of the session, it looked a lot like a Level 1 game.

At Level 1 and even Level 2, so much of the game is about SKATING. And at Level 1, I think it’s even more basic than that: it’s about BALANCE. When you’re brand-new to hockey, there’s so much to learn. What to focus on to provide the best “return” on time invested? 

You could spend hours on your mighty slapshot, it’s certainly a razzle-dazzle move. But if you can’t get to the puck first, or if you fall over after you fire it, then it’s useless. You can memorize positions (someday I will write about the guy in our beginner school who tried to make us do the Neutral Zone Trap… I am not making this up) but they won’t work since everyone is still so slow.

Focusing on skating is the best way to accelerate your hockey learning curve. And the best way to get your feet and your body to do what you want on the ice is to spend more time on the ice. I tell people it’s a very simple equation: improvement = time in skates on ice.

Even skating circles at your local rink’s Open Skate will help your feet learn what to do on the ice, what it feels like, how you react. Playing games at JMS with other newbies at the slower newbie pace will help you start thinking about how best to get where you want to go in a game situation. Soon, it’s intrinsic. And that’s how you get better.

The happy faces after All Newbie Night were such a joy to see. I’m glad those 20 people took the chance and signed up, had the courage to try something new and strange and intimidating. Everyone did great and I hope they all come back to play more hockey!