I wonder if there’s anyone within our circles of hockey friends who hasn’t yet seen a video featuring those young Russian hockey players- the ones who are buzzing all over the ice and showing off their skating and puckhandling skills. Yes, they’re billed as 7- and 8-year olds from Russia, and their on-ice antics have been plastered all over social media (and probably at least a dozen time into my inbox).
— Dennis Chighisola
Those Young Russian Hockey Players
Ya, those young Russian hockey players… Even I’m amused at watching those little guys darting every which way, twisting and turning and seldom losing the puck.
Anyway, in the event you’re the only person on our planet to not see those young Russian hockey players, let me show you an edited version of that video…
Okay, my members had to know that I didn’t post that video here just for fun, or just to give it some extra visibility. Naw, that’s surely not me.
Of course, I think long time members would believe that my former players have done every single one of the movements featured in that video — most of those stunts can even be seen in the videos I’ve placed here going back a decade or more.
One reason I wanted to show this video, though, is because it’s typical of the guy who posted the copy I saw earlier today on YouTube.com…
Yup, typical, because he frequently shows things (like those young Russian hockey players flying all over), and then adds absolutely nothing else to the post.
Really, that’s been my main complaint with YouTube.com for a lot of years now — at least when it comes to hockey instruction. In other words, we get to see a ton of demonstrations showing awesome skills, but then no one seems to take the time to show viewers how to bring players to that higher level.
That’s also been the basis of my “WHAT + HOW = Real RESULTS!” motto… I mean, as I note elsewhere in this site, “… I’m suggesting that it’s easy to find the WHAT of a given skill or tactic elsewhere — just search the Net and you’ll find all sorts of free ideas on “what” a great skating stride looks like, or scan a site like YouTube to see “what” a great drill or fancy tactic looks like. What most of those don’t show you is the HOW of getting yourself, your youngster or your team to execute like the players in those videos. And that brought me to the realization that it’s knowing both the What plus the How that ultimately gets you the Real RESULTS.”
Okay, I hate wasting time beating on anyone, but I occasionally feel the need, if only so instruction might improve over coming times.
With that, here are a number of things that either came to my mind or were seemingly raised by other observers in reference to that video…
First, a high level coach suggested something to the effect that, “the obstacles in that video are not as game related as ones that would move. Hmmmm…
I joked something like, “In a perfect world, we could have life-like robots playing defense against our practicing attackers.”
Short of that, let me suggest something that might really help member coaches… I liken attacking drills (like those young Russian hockey players are doing) much the same as a computer game that’s based on differing levels of speed. In other words, a very slow speed is a good one to learn at, while increased speed becomes a greater challenge. I actually train young attackers in that way, using rather slow speeds to teach a given skill, and then asking the players to challenge themselves further by going faster and faster (and even faster).
Staying on that last idea for a sec… If you can watch a segment of that video again, notice that the kids are really challenging themselves. I mean, they are really flying, which makes those obstacles come at them at a pretty quick pace.
Now, I hate to get back on the YouTube.com kick again but, secondly…
Although the producers of that video got to edit out any footage that made the skaters look bad, I’ll suggest that most of those young Russian hockey players are at a fairly high level (for 7- and 8-year olds). Oh, I noticed a few kids around the fringe who probably weren’t up to the best of the group. Still, again, all the kids are very good for their age.
With that, most observers are stuck just saying, “Wow!” And that, to me, does little more than suggest where a youngster might eventually want to be in a given skill.
If anyone wants to make points with me, he or she might go into those players’ backgrounds, and show me: 1) what those kids looked like at 5- or 6-years old; and 2) what the coach or coaches did to bring those young Russian hockey players to where they are in that video.
In wrapping this up, let me turn to one more positive suggestion… Personally, I know the nature of most YouTube.com videos, and maybe now the reader does, too. With that, I use most “highlight-type” videos to just study on my own. I mean, I might run a clip of Ovechkin or Crosby a hundred times, until I understand exactly what’s going on (aaaaaah, the benefits of video). You might do the same, with the above video or any other. Ya, trust yourself, or compare your thoughts to what you can find in these pages.
If there’s another negative to this, it’s that a lot of folks who post “how to” hockey videos on YouTube.com only guess at what’s going on. I’ve seen it suggested that a player should or shouldn’t shoot off one skate or the other, I’ve seen the wrong kind of advice given when it comes to gripping a stick, and I’ve seen the mechanics of the Boston turn described wrongly. I don’t know what else I can say about this, except that my members might check within these pages before considering anything as gospel.
PS: Because this entry has mostly been about basic skills, I think it’s a good time for me to recommend that my members and other visitors grab a spot in the free “Hockey Drills Only Group” over on Facebook. I’ve done a video each Thursday there, and many of them include the debunking of popular training myths.