7 things that cost nothing.

Getting better at hockey is a marathon not a sprint and we can not always be on the ice learning.  Start slow, build good habits to finish strong.

A lot of money is not needed to become a better or even a professional hockey player.  My brother and I grew up lower, middle class with a dad that could not even skate, my sons grew up middle class.  What matters most is what is inside of your player and their habits and love for the game.

The following things are things Conroy’s (Al & Ryan) did to become Elite players.  All of them cost no money but all help.

To ensure the success of the things below Parents need to take the lead, you create the habits and environment.  Facilitate and lead, don’t push.

Champions are supported by a great set of Parents.  Teach your player to do these things and even better do them with your Player and I guarantee improvements.  Always lead by example.

  1. GET STRONGER. The single easiest means of becoming a significantly better player is to become physically stronger and more fit than those you compete against. Everyone and anyone is capable of this.

Kids today are soft and weak, often surprisingly so.  Rising above this crowd is easy to achieve and once your player does, they will be eternally grateful for your support.  Kids love being strong it is positively addicting.

Not only does exercise makes you better, it further (and more perhaps more importantly) ADDS CONFIDENCE in the Players own abilities and body.

When Ryan became a teenager, we enrolled in martial arts for 3 summers.  This provided additional toughness/courage/confidence/fitness and added a useful skill set.

Being fit starts young, my sons were doing push-ups at age 2 (for fun not as a routine), in games we would play and prior to any “screen time”.

Exercise is easy to add into your life.  Walks/hikes that involve hills and uneven terrain to strengthen core, legs and ankles. We always had races l sprinting up hills!!!  Make a game of this, race, compete, TRY.  And remember win now later you won’t be able to!!!!

Snow shoeing is an excellent skating exercise or you walk they ride their bike or all bike.  Lots of easy family friendly ways to exercise.

  1. Actual exercises help also and need to be age appropriate. Kids under 12 focus on isometrics, 13/14 add plyometrics, 14 add steel to their programs. U 15 AAA players are STRONG!
    1. Here are some links and the websites has recommended programs in the Download section.
  1. Strong hands are important, keep a tennis ball in the car and when you go somewhere have them squeeze it.

A little regular exercise goes a long way and starts to build good habits.  Kids mimic their parents and mentors, please lead your kids.

  1. PLAY/PRACTICE HOCKEY OFF the ICE. You know the story about Syndey Crosby and the dryer, right????? So, your kids can:
    1. Rollerblading is a great skating exercise.
    2. Ride your bike, no e-anything!!!!
    3. Shoots pucks against? Make sure they are practising proper technique with a stick that is 5 cm shorter than their game stick.
    4. Play road hockey. We played 20 hours of road hockey a week as kids.  Our games were great we ran, shot, passed and occasionally threw the mitts 😊.
    5. Stickhandle in the garage or basement with a golf ball and pass, pass, pass the puck/golf ball. Again, focus on your technique from practice.
    6. Play on outdoor rinks. Go have fun, dangle, try new things work hard, push yourself. Make mistakes fall down get up play against bigger kids.  Win, lose it does not matter.
    7. Carry a tennis ball and toss it, squeeze it on the way to and from practice and games.
    8. PLAY, PLAY, PLAY with no supervision just play anything but video games and work hard, sweat!


  1. BE POSITIVE & LOVE PRACTICE. Practice rocks, it is where we get better.  We practice more than we play.  Being pumped about practice is a great way to get ahead and to play better.  Great players love practice.

In practice listen, be positive, support your coaches & your teammates.  Be a great teammate and you will be a great player.

Be thankful and respectful to all!  Hockey players are famous for being polite and great human beings.  Be aware and thankful for all the things that need to happen for you to get to practice.  All Coaches like supportive players.

  1. BECOME TOUGHER. One of my favorite phrases is:

Pains fades

Chicks digs scars

Glory lasts forever.

Physical and mental toughness is everything.  Every great player is tough.  The ability to get up and shake it off, get back on the horse, fight back against bullies, win the battles with bigger kids should be taught at home and is taught at Conroy Hockey.

Becoming tougher is an enormous difference maker. Being tougher will make you a leader amongst your Team and Coaches.  Your player is as tough or weak as you make them or allow them toughness is 95% the Parents department.  I will do my part in this and I rarely have a problem in this area.   Kids enjoy becoming tougher.

  1. BE COMPETITIVE. Learning to be competitive is good.  Participation ribbons are not good after 6.  Learning to win and to lose properly is great.  Almost every kid I have trained knows the score of every scrimmage we have EVER had.   Never discount winning never pretend they didn’t lose, its normal.  Players need to win and lose and to learn what it takes to win!

I teach many battle drills for 3 reasons:

  1. Battle is a big part of the game, a true skill.
  2. Battle teaches toughness, compete levels, winning and losing.
  3. Kids always get back up after a battle to battle yet again.

They should also lose and they need to learn about losing.  Losing is normal our lives are full of losses how we deal with those is the key.

Don’t fancy up losing, they lost, everyone loses, learn about it.  To lose is fine, to not try is unacceptable. Teach your kids to lose with grace and to win with grace.

  1. CONFIDENCE The single biggest difference between my brother and I was the difference in confidence. He had it in truckloads and I didn’t!  Develop real confidence in your player.

I have spent a great deal time learning about how to develop confidence in my players.  I conclude that confidence is earned and Al did more to earn it than I did.  Our father was tough on us and Al responded better to that!  Confidence is everything.  Developing confidence is one of my focuses.

One thing I have learned is that there is nothing better for a child confidence than learning they can make themselves better and that work equal’s reward.  This builds CONFIDENCE and CONFIDENCE is EVERYTHING.





  1. Leadership is another highly desired skill welcomed by all.  Leadership is learned from others.  Be the first to be on the ice and the last one off. Help your Coaches and your Parents.

Take risks; be the hardest working player on the ice.  Be the best listener, ask smart questions, be the most respectful kid on the ice including being respectful to the referees.

Don’t be a follower, don’t be bullied, be a leader!  Do the right thing when no one is watching. My best students do all of these things.

These 7 things were a big part of Al and Ryan persona they made a difference for them and will for your player.  I am here to help I have spent hundreds of hours over the decades working with Parents on this.

Success comes easier when we are both on the same team!



Coach Conroy