October 17, 2009

7 Pre-Game Habits Of Pro Hockey Players by Brett Henning

Do you remember the name Brett Henning?

He was a member of the original Team USA national development team and starred at the 2000 World Junior Hockey Championships. He played junior hockey in Canada and college hockey at the famed University of Notre Dame, earning NHL draft selection by the New York Islanders in 1999.

A serious neck injury forced him out of hockey before he could give the NHL a try, but he's back, sharing what he's learned in hockey with players of all ages in his new book 7 Pre-Game Habits of Pro Hockey Players.

You may be wondering how he's qualified to talk about pro hockey players. His hockey resume is impressive, but he never made the pros. Did I fail to mention his father was Lorne Henning, the New York Islanders great turned NHL head coach? He is currently the assistant general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.

You see, Brett Henning grew up with pro-hockey. He has lived professional hockey right from birth, and with one of the most unique vantage points possible. As a five year old he was on the ice learning the art of saucer passes from Uwe Krupp and even fighting moves from Mick Vukota.

Henning was on his way to his own NHL career, playing junior in Canada and college in the US, before 2 herniated discs in his neck derailed his career. He had to deal with the loss of his passion and his dream, yet in this "lesson in humility" he learned so much, and he wants to share it with hockey players of every level. He wants to help you become the best player on your youth or rec team. He wants to help you get attention from the US college scholarship people, or maybe, just maybe, get you noticed by NHL scouts.

In fact, his principles could be used to some degree in every day life to some degree, making this book interesting for more than just aspiring hockey players and their parents.

Through his seven principles he can teach any player - even NHL players - to be better. He champions visualization, breathing, controlling of emotions, proper stretching, reflex and concentration games, nutrition and routine. Henning explains why each is important as well as giving step by step pointers, particularly with the mental preparation.

This book isn't nearly as dry as I just made it sound. The author shares his own stories and inspirational stories of others - both hockey and other celebrities - in a light hearted, at times humorous and always encouraging fashion. It is an at-times charming read, although it gets quite technical when it comes to the stretching and nutrition sections.

The book is an interesting read, but you have to go into it with an open mind and willing to try new things. The author is convinced these techniques will help, but beyond his voice there is no real reason given why the reader should buy in immediately. With that in mind it would a great idea if the author included some first person accounts from current or past NHL stars who practiced these same techniques.

I really like the book's last chapter, a short and succinct look at the top mistakes amateur hockey players make. Even if this is all you take from the book, these are easy ways to become a better player and enjoy the game more. Enjoy the game, and enjoy the experiences the game gives you, both on and off the ice are great messages from the author.

The book has a Ryan Walter/Tony Robbins feeling to it. That is a good message to get across to people of all ages, as long as it not oversold.

The author told me he wanted to create a reference hockey players of all ages can use to become better players and to make some people laugh along the way. Mission accomplished, Mr. Henning. This is a good book for an open minded reader who is willing to dedicate himself or herself to the suggested techniques. I believe the player will benefit on the ice, and perhaps even more importantly carry it over off the ice.

For now the book is only available at the author's website. You can order the paperback version for $19.99, or immediately download the ebook for $9.99.

For more information, Brett Henning tells us more in the following YouTube video:


Anonymous,  February 8, 2011 at 3:07 AM  

This is a must read book. I had every kid read it on my squirt team and the difference is tangible. I even had my wife's book club read it. I didn't see any difference there.

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