No games on the schedule today here at Girls 15 Player Development Camp, but the players had a day chock full of training activities. Teams participated in mental skills training, off-ice stickhandling drills, weight training and on-ice practices. The teams took a break from the action to post for group pictures.
The netminders ended the day with a goalies-only practice - a very loud, energetic on-ice session focused on fun and games.
Get Your Head in the Game
Mental skills and team building coach Dr. Tiff Jones took each team through a 45-minute psychological challenge session which is designed to help players understand the different mental intensities they can experience as athletes.
Dr. Jones describes the zones that each person experiences by color – green (very relaxed), blue (focused) and red (stressed or anxious). Each player was hooked up to a heart-rate monitor which displayed their current color status when connected to their phones. She then altered showed them how their zones could be controlled through basic techniques such as changing their thoughts and controlling their breathing. One player shared that she was able to access the blue zone by singing the lyrics of Mary Had a Little Lamb in her head.
The goal of this practice was to demonstrate to players that controlling their mental state is an ability that should be practiced just like any other athletic skill.
Strength & Conditioning
Teams were in and out of the weight room here on the St. Cloud State campus throughout the day, where the strength and conditioning staff ran players through a set of weight training exercises while teaching players the proper form and technique. On the upstairs concourse of the arena, players worked with coaches on their stickhandling skills with extra emphasis places on keeping their eyes up.
Sophie Leclerc joins us in St. Cloud, Minnesota this week as a skills coach for the Girls 15 Player Development Camp. 2019 marks her first national-level camp with USA Hockey, where she and her fellow skills coaches are responsible for all of the on-ice practices and some off-ice stick handling, implementing small-area games into the players’ workflows to increase the amount of time spent with the puck and making the most out of the experience.
Leclerc is the newly appointed head coach of Norwich University’s women’s hockey team after working at Colgate as an assistant coach for the past four seasons. “As coaches and scouts, we actively try to emulate what we see at Player Development Camps and work those small-area games into our practice plans at the college level. We want to create an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes and encourage independent decision making both on and off the ice.”
Leclerc hopes that the players take in as much as they possibly can this week, and she hopes the same for herself. “The good, the bad, the scary parts, the fun parts, the exciting moments. It’s an opportunity to learn from these unbelievable players and coaches with different backgrounds and experiences, soak it all in, and grow.”