Power skating, weight lifting, dryland training, and proper nutrition are all critical factors in a hockey player’s development. Today’s athletes spend hours on physical training in addition to technical and tactical training, both on and off the ice. But, the mental game – aka hockey sense – is just as important as the physical. Until the Hockey IntelliGym was created, the only way for coaches to hone in on hockey sense was to watch videos and dissect the players’ decisions; there was no direct skill building involved. We now know the valuable difference cognitive training can make in the improvement of hockey IQ skills.
Anticipation, situational awareness, divided attention, working memory, and other core cognitive skills can be trained using the Hockey IntelliGym sports intelligence training program. And today, we’re going to tell you about how USA Hockey helped develop the program, along with the incredible results that the training has brought to the US National Team Development Program (NTDP) since integrating the training with their U17 and U18 teams in 2009.
But first, let’s talk about what hockey sense is and why it’s so important.