How Should 9 Year Olds Train For Hockey?

hockey training for kidsEvery year I get a lot of email about off-season training for hockey players.  Players looking to train at Revolution Conditioning, players looking for a program and some parents just looking for advice.

I had an email from one of you who I have known for quite a while asking for some advice about how to help motivate his young son in practice.  He mentioned that often times the coach will have to get on his son to work harder during practice.  His son is only 8 years old.

I love it when parents ask questions like this because it tells me that they are actually interested in what is going to be the best for their child’s long term development.  Below is my response…

I think the desire has to come from the kid.  Jon Elkin did a blog post on this topic which I really agree with – http://www.elkingoaltending.com/blog/a-parent-s-role.html – give it a read.

I actually wish my parents had pushed me a little harder in my sports.  I remember asking my Mom to make sure I was up at 6am to go running or roller skiing (I was a nordic skier) when I was about 15/16 years old and she refused saying that I had to be the one to do it.

Please keep in mind your child’s age.  The number one priority should be having fun – honestly, even his coach should know that.  His coach should measure the success of his practices not by how hard the kids work, but by how big a smile they can have on their faces at the end of practice.  That is what will develop a great player.

If I could tell you how many kids I have trained over the years who were pushed from the time they were 8  and ended up hating hockey and finally quitting when they were 16-17 years old (just when things were getting exciting).  And some of these were good players – but they hated the game by then.

Make sure he is playing a different sport in the summer – here is another article by Mike Boyle (I might have sent it to you before) – http://strengthcoachblog.com/2012/07/16/summer-training-for-nine-year-olds-repost/

So that is my very best advice – keep it fun.  Because he does not try hard as an 8-year-old, that does not mean that he will not work very hard as a 14-15-16-17 year old.  There is no direct correlation between long term success and discipline in practice as an 8-year old.  Keep him loving it.

I wrote a post for In Goal Mag a few year ago where I included a few little workout routines that I feel are okay for kids under the age of 14 – you can find that article here – The Best Way To Get Your Young Goalie To The Next Level

I am sure there are others who have different opinions and that is fine, you are completely entitled to have them.  I think working on ‘skill’ development is fine with younger players – skating, stick handling, passing and shooting – within reason of course.

Have a great day.
Cheers,
Maria

PS – just checked and there are still 14 copies of the Ultimate Goalie Training VIP left.  Whether they go or not, I will take the link down at the end of Monday, April 8th.  Pick up one of the last copies HERE.