Jamie Storr, right, works with two 7-year-olds on the “Endless Ice” conveyor belt training device at his El Segundo training facility.
Maybe all that’s missing for at Jamie Storr’s youth hockey training facility in El Segundo is a snow machine creating fake flakes falling outside the window that otherwise could have a view to the ocean if some commercial buildings weren’t in the way.
Following up today’s column on how the former Kings goalie has made training fun for kids (linked here), Storr explains more about his methods and goals:
“The biggest thing today – we’re seeing players who are 250 pounds. That wasn’t so much when I was playing. And they’re still developing at age 28, 30 years old. When I played, whatever you got up to age 18, that seemed to be it. You were in games.
“When we were kids, there were no private lessons, just dads who coached. There weren’t even access to former NHL players. Sports-specific training has changed the game. And hockey is a year-around sport now. Spring and summer leagues. There’s no time off any more.
“The L.A. market may be much smaller for hockey than it is in Canada – that’s just the reality of it. But it can be more efficient and build a solid foundation in the game just as well as anywhere else. That’s half the battle. But as kids see their level of play improve, their potential goes up. Now a kid who’s a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-to-10 can be an 8 or 9. A 4 or 5 kid can get up to 6 or 7. There will always be the 10s who do it well in spite of everything. But paying $400 an hour for ice time just to shoot the puck misses a lot.”
As for how the harness works to help kids gain confidence as they learn to skate better:
“No one likes to fall, and some see falling as failure. But failure is part of learning and it’s mental as much as it is physical. We’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible to learn. I’m a big believer in John Wooden’s philosophy – positive reinforcement, without just telling them how things work.”