This summer has been filled with many things: sun, travels, dogs, sleep, haircuts, and the like. It’s also been FILLED with hockey. As I’ve noted before, I’m playing on two summer teams and am really enjoying that. Two other notable adventures in hockey have been a weekend-long clinic at Dartmouth (Elite Hockey Camp) and a weekend-long power skating clinic at a local rink (Laura Stamm).
The Dartmouth Clinic weekend was such a blast! It was a clinic for adult women who aren’t elite players (despite the name of the camps). There were about 80 of us there, mostly from New England. Highlights of the weekend included:
- two/three on-ice sessions a day, focusing mostly on individual skills, with a good dose of team skills built in
- extensive off-ice drills which we can easily replicate at home
- excellent coaching for my group (Babe Ceglarski, varsity girls’ coach at Governor Dummer Academy, assisted by Maggie Kennedy, a forward at Dartmouth)
My suggestions to them for improvement for next year:
- limit the camp to 60 skaters – the 4 groups of 20 each were too large, especially after…
- the big loser issue. don’t try to do pre-grouping of skaters, since some coach will inevitably say something to the effect of “hey, there are some of you in these two groups who aren’t big loser players, so you might want to move to the other two groups” and then people will want to move out of the big loser groups to the other groups which will then be too large, because no one from the other groups wants to move to the big loser groups, and also the people who stay in the big loser groups might just feel a tad bit demoralized by being told they’re in the big loser groups. or something like that. (my group started with 20 and ended with 12. yup, i’m a big loser! but i got much more individual attention than the non-big-losers, who were all ticked that their groups grew from 20 to 25.)
- teach the assistants to be pushier. they were great, but we really had to seek input from them pro-actively. i don’t know if it was the age difference (we were all older than them) or what, but they often didn’t give as much advice as I’d have liked.
The Laura Stamm Power Skating clinic was this past weekend. We had 2 hours on the ice Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning. The student-to-coach ratio was about 6-to-1. A different Laura was the main instructor for the weekend, and she was absolutely excellent. The clinic itself was a “female players only” clinic, ages 8 and up. About half the group was in the 8-12 range, about another third were 12-15, and the rest of us ranged from 16-60!
- the “old lady line” (each time we had to line up to do full-ice drills, the Black Ice contingent plus one made sure we were in the same line.)
- watching WES’s form improve by leaps and bounds
- feeling like I could skate much stronger than before, while knowing I’ve got so much more work to do
- the instructors and assistants were incredible – with such a low student-to-coach ratio, they could get around to each of us and give us feedback. Over the course of the 3 sessions, I received feedback and instruction from every single staff person at least once, and got lots of feedback from the “old lady line” assistant, Jen.
The only feedback I’m going to give them related to one thing that one instructor said during the course of the weekend, which not many other people picked up. (I did, of course… sigh… it’s a hard life I lead sometimes, being so focused on words and their meanings.)
We did get to meet Laura Stamm herself – she came for the Sunday session. It was interesting to see how the dynamic of the instructor group changed when she showed up; all of a sudden the instructors and assistants were more keyed-up. In talking afterwards with the adults who were at the clinic, we all noted that we all felt a little possessive of “our” Laura (the main instructor) and wanted Laura Stamm to back off on the teaching, as we were all used to “our” Laura’s style.
If you’re a woman and looking for a good hockey learning experience, I’d recommend either or both of these.