|The best way to learn to play hockey is at
a hockey camp. You'll learn basic skills
in a systematic fashion, the pace of lessons
will be geared to your abilities, you won't
be "in over your head" and thus
discouraged as you would if tried to learn
by joining games with more experienced and
skillful players, and you'll learn numerous
drills that you can practice on your own.
Most hockey camps are held during the summer.
While some camps offer adult classes, younger
players on school vacation are the bulk of
the target market. Moreover, the instructors
tend to be coaches and players (both pro
and amateur) who are available for camps
only during their "off season."
Key things to consider in choosing
- Making sure that it is appropriate for your
level of hockey skills (or lack thereof),
degree of physical fitness, and amount of
- The length of time that it lasts, to fit
your schedule and level of interest.
- Its intensity, in accordance with your degree
- The amount of ice time you'll get each day.
- The amount of time devoted to off-ice drills
or blackboard sessions. While ice time should
predominate, these can be very valuable.
- Who the instructors are. If they are famous
coaches or players, determine how much time
they'll really spend with you. Sometimes,
pro coaches and players just make cameo appearances,
and leave the day-to-day coaching to lesser
lights. On the other hand, if you are a beginner,
some of the best (and most patient) camp
instructors often are relative unknowns.
Ask other players and do some research.
- If you're not that intense about hockey,
you may want sufficient free time or time
devoted to non-hockey activities such as
- Understand the situation with accommodations
and meals. For example, will you be sharing
rooms? Communal meals are pretty much a given
and quite appropriate when learning a team
- The location, whether in Canada or the U.S.,
can add or detract from the experience. If
you are not going for an intensive camp,
being in a remote scenic locale, a small
town, or a city may be important to you.
- For women and girls, consider whether a single-sex
or coed camp would be most comfortable for
you. Despite the macho image of hockey, coed
teams and camps are increasingly common and
accepted these days