During this part of the year, coaches are often approached with the question “what should my child be doing this summer to prepare/improve for next season?”. My advice….Don’t play hockey!
Participation in variety of sport is essential in developing all-around athleticism and healthy lifestyles. Even those children with a deep passion for the game, should avoid specializing in hockey until they are well in to their teens. This will help reduce over-use injuries, reduce burnout, and increase overall athletic development. It’s important we provide our bodies with a wide range of activities and take advantage of these sensitive periods in which children are physically growing, and are more susceptible to mastering key fundamental movement skills.
Too much hockey during these sensitive periods can be detrimental to both our physical development, as well as for our overall love of the game. Multi-sport participation during these sensitive periods helps provide us with increased opportunities to develop agility, balance, coordination, and foot speed, while ultimately helping us to become more physically literate. Experience in other sports also provides us with opportunities to gain new perspectives and understanding of how sport and games are played, providing and advantage over those with a hockey only perspective.
Children need an opportunity to get away from the game a bit and experience new challenges. I know I look forward to seeing players return the following season with a whole new array of athletic abilities, and a renewed passion and excitement to return to the ice.
Director, Player Improvement