Mitchell: My family’s 10,000-puck challenge this summer

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Welcome to MiHockey’s new blog, written by Suburban Hockey Schools managing director Jeff Mitchell. A Wayne, Mich., native, Mitchell was a third-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 NHL Draft. A Detroit Junior Red Wings and Michigan K-Wings alum, Mitchell played professional hockey for nine seasons before returning to his home state.

By Jeff Mitchell –

Shoot 10,000 pucks.

Pretty simple, right?

It may sound like a pretty daunting task, but it’s what my kids are doing this summer.

Now it’s important to state right away that my kids wanted to do this. They asked how they could work on their hockey skills over the summer. Sure, I might need to give them a little encouragement now and again – help them stay focused on the goals that they have set in place – but I’m not pushing them into this.

They wanted to improve, so this is what we’re going with.

With this summer project, I know that my kids will be working on their form and technique while also doing something that they enjoy. Practice makes perfect, of course, and if they’re firing away at a net in the driveway, I know that they’re doing something that is skill-specific, but also something that they have fun doing.

Jeff Mitchell is a managing director for Suburban Hockey Schools. Click the image above for more info on Suburban Hockey Schools’ latest offerings for players of all ages.

It’s fun to watch them get creative through their quest to reach the 10,000 plateau, as well. They play ‘PIG’ or they make each other call their shot. Finding ways to have fun while working on your accuracy and precision – what parent or coach wouldn’t want that?

Don’t get me wrong – it’s important for players to have a bit of a break during the summer months. We spend time at the lake – the kids are big on wakeboarding – but we also keep focused on our hockey goals, even if they change throughout the season. Now’s the time to focus on things like improving your shot, not on something like wins or losses.

Plus, I’m a big fan of finding whatever I can to get my kids off the couch and off their phones and tablets and computers. Outside working up a sweat while you shoot? Fantastic.

However, I’m not hovering over them while they work. If they want a tip or two, then sure, let’s talk it over. If I notice something that they clearly shouldn’t be doing, I’ll stop them and suggest some adjustments. But I also know that it’s crucial for them to figure things out on their own sometimes – both on how to be a better shooter, and how to accomplish the goals you put in place.

So my children will take part in a few hockey camps this summer, and my oldest will be on the ice a bit more – things change when you’re 17 and pursuing a spot on a junior team. Yet they’re all going to be working on their puck skills while they’re shooting away in the driveway having fun with their siblings.

What fun things are you doing with the hockey player in your life this summer?