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What to Look for in a Hockey Camp - Expert Advice for Training - Learn from the Pros that PLAY the Game - Canada, USA, Europe

Hockey Camp Season

What do you look for in a hockey camp???

July & August is hockey camp time.  Hundreds of camps run throughout the US & Canada in hopes of developing players and driving business.

I have been asked countless time to recommend, or vouch for, a camp.  Many factors come into play.  Each player, and family, situation may be different.

After attending and instructing at dozens of different camps, here is a brief list on what I believe a family must consider when selecting a camp.


  • Location - You must first be able to get to a camp in order to attend it.  Narrow your search to places you can physically get to.  In short, if you spend more than 8 hours travelling to a camp, over a week, you are probably wasting time money and energy.


  • Camp Level & Age - There is nothing more frustrating for coaches, players and  parents when the level is too low or too high for a player.  A stronger, more advanced, player is not pushed.  A less experienced player will lose confidence.  Finding a camp at the right level is key.


  • Camp Ideals - Hockey Schools are a business. As with any good company they must have a focused plan and area of expertise.  Camps may vary their approach focus on such areas as Skating, Conditioning, Checking, Game Play and Stick Handling.  Some camps try to balance their program.  You should have noticeable improvements in the camps specialized area after attending.  In general - Any camp that tells you it is “doing it all” for you is lying.  Trust me, there just is never enough time and/or resources to hit all the areas in the game of hockey.


  • Who is Teaching??? Be sure to know who is exactly running the ice sessions and how much they are instructing.  There is nothing more frustrating as a player/parent to go to an ‘NHL-Star’ player camp to have him sign a few autographs, leave and have the camp being taught by in-exeperienced teenagers.  Do your own research and make sure that the camp has consistent quality training from start to finish.  The camp should be professional in organization and delivery.  What you will find is there are camps that are there to make money, and there are camps that are driven to provide a experience.  




  • Costs - Be sure that the costs align with your families budget.  You should not have to go into debt to pay for your players development.  Be sure to account for additional costs such as gas, food and time for each camp. You shoul dget good value for your money.


  • Personal Feedback - The biggest thing I would look for is the attention to detail that each camp gives.  Does the player get feedback?  Not all feedback is created equal.  My biggest pet-peeve is that many schools will bend the truth on a players skills and progress.  The reasons for this is camp directors tend to shy away from confrontation and want to be likeable.  By being likeable it tends to make it easier on return business for the next year and collecting money.  I would STAY AWAY from this trap.  A good instructor will have enough integrity and expertise to be CANDID with the player/family.  Decide for yourself between what you want to hear or NEED to hear.


  • Fun - Yes.  A good Hockey Camp is not only run professionally but is also FUN.  Players should enjoy playing and practicing the game.  Be amongst friends and teammates.  In the long-run, a camp that is not enjoyable and pushes the player away from activity tends to be counter-productive.

All the above factors should be considered when selecting a camp.  Each player should exit the camp better prepared for the challenges ahead in the 12/13 hockey season.

Good Luck,
Get Better Every Day,

Daniel Tkaczuk,
President, iHockeyTrainer LTD


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