Hockey is a fast-paced, multi-dimensional game that requires a wide range of athletic abilities. Players must be fast, agile, strong, have a great sense of balance, and be aware of everything going on around them — all while performing on two thin pieces of metal!
The best hockey players generally started playing at a young age. Because a player must be able to skate before he or she can do much else, the learning curve to play hockey is quite large. Players in younger age groups generally work on hockey drills that focus mostly on individual skills such as skating, passing, shooting and puck-handling.
Knowledge and skills are often shared from player to player in the form of hockey tips, tricks, and moves. This empirical style of learning means that geographic location can have a significant effect on what skills a player learns in his or her formative years. As expected, places with large hockey populations generally tend to have more high quality players.
As players get older, the hockey development focus shifts more toward team play and positional strategies. Players who haven't developed that strong foundation of individual skills are often left behind as the game intensifies and becomes more complex at the older age groups.