Hockey's Most Important Skill
What separates the best from the rest
Earlier today, analyst Mikael Nahabedian published an article on his newsletter about “the hardest skills to develop” in elite hockey players.
Initially, I was surprised to see which skills were the top six most difficult for athletes to execute.
Through my on-ice work with players of all genders and ages, I know that concepts such as slip passing, the use of the hip pocket and the applications of crossovers in creating separation can be learned relatively quickly in a practice setting.
The real challenge, then, is not just to introduce a high-end skill to a player and seeing them execute it successfully on a blank sheet of ice. Indeed, the blockage for most player occurs when they need to transfer that new skill to a game setting, 1v1, then 3v2, then 5v5.
A young player can hit slip passes all day against a familiar hockey training device like a PowerEdge Pro, but executing that exact same play from the same location may prove elusive against five real-life opponents. This difficulty in creating in-game transfer happens to many players on their development journey.
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