Most hockey players grow up shooting pucks and stickhandling in their driveways or basements. It's the easiest way to hone your skills, given that ice time is limited and expensive.
But it's often a haphazard practice where you're just messing around and not developing specific skills. No doubt it can improve your game, but you would get more out of it if you had instruction or a plan.
That's where CCM comes in.
The famous hockey equipment company recently launched the CCM Skills App for your smartphone.
"Our mission is to help hockey players of all ages be the best player they can be, no matter what level they play at," said Sean Williams, CCM Hockey's Vice President, Global Marketing and North American Sales. "The idea of building an app like this is right on that mission."
The app features 150 instructional videos featuring Lance Pitlick, former NHL player turned skills coach. The 20- to 25-second videos include technique instruction and demonstrations to help hockey players master every skill they need to succeed on the ice without needing to head to the rink or hire a skills coach.
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The app includes a timer with each video so you can track how long you spend practicing each technique. There's no set practice schedule or requirements, so it's on you to put the time in.
Every person starts with the most basic skills, such as the In-Front Dribble. This might seem elementary for some, but the idea is to take you through the fundamentals and correct any flaws you may have and build a solid base for more advanced moves.
"It's designed purposely to bring a progression for the players. We want to make sure people progress at the right time and at the right levels," added Williams.
The drills get more complex until you eventually develop advanced moves and trick shots that will help you embarrass opponents. As you progress, you receive words of encouragement from NHL stars Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and John Tavares.
The app is easy to navigate with videos grouped into different sections. You must complete each video to unlock the next level. After completing each level, you have access to the full video library so you can get additional practice or a refresher on the coaching points for a specific technique.
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