The On-Ice Program moves from the technique stage to applying this technique at top speed while shooting, passing, stickhandling and checking in game simulated drills. Good skating technique is useless to hockey players unless they can apply it in game situations.
Even when players have ingrained the proper skating technique into their skating style, sometimes they will still not perform in game situations with the increased raw speed that they now possess. Usually, the problem revolves around the fact that players have not been trained to use their speed, to think, and to read the ice, all at the same time.
Another problem is often players' lack of focus and slow reaction time. In other words, players now have the "jump" to get to the puck first but they aren't doing it because their response time is too slow when there is a turnover or a transition in the play. We have developed specific drills and training methods to help correct these deficiencies so that the transfer of their newly improved skating technique can be applied in game situations at high speed. A simple example is not using a whistle when we start our drills. In a game, players react to what they see not to what they hear. In a game, the only time a whistle is used is to stop the play. Wherever practical, we start the drills with the movement of the puck so players are constantly having to focus on the loose puck, i.e., what they see not what they hear.
The approach on the ice is very structured, very disciplined, but fun even at the pro camps. We do not "bag skate" players because this does three things. It develops poor skating technique. It trains players to skate slowly, and, psychologically, it conditions players to "hate" skating or think of it only in terms of hard work. Our system teaches players to love skating and to love skating fast. The players will skate faster than they have ever skated before, well past their comfort zone. Our cordless mic system is interconnected with an extensive sound system so that we can "crank" the tunes up during the drills but shut it off or override the sound from any position on the ice when instruction takes place. Once players are conditioned to skating at an extremely high tempo while performing other hockey skills, that is the speed at which they will feel comfortable when they move to game situations.
During the ice sessions we also teach players when not to use their speed in order to delay or create open ice.