Are you sitting on the couch playing X-box & waiting for Spring (or Winter) hockey to begin?
If your child wants to play hockey well & maybe would like to try for AA or AAA sometime then I cannot stress enough the importance of additional physical and sport related conditioning and training. It is no real secret that the faster and better conditioned player can out perform one who is not.
When you go to a tryout (and this goes beyond Spring hockey); who do you think gets noticed first, the slower player with average performance or the faster player who is ripping up the ice?
For many, hockey is the natural sporting pastime for the winter months. It is as Canadian as Tim Horton’s coffee. While always highly competitive, the young hockey player now has to dedicate him or herself even more to succeed in moving up to play at a higher level.
If you want to be successful in competitive hockey you must develop your body and related skills off the ice as well as on it. Having fun is the most important part of any youth sport absolutely; but should a child want to play on a higher tiered Spring team or reach the AA, AAA levels (in Winter) then he or she definitely must spend serious off ice time working their body to develop the strength and agility needed.
I recently returned from the Western Prospects Bantam Showcase in Regina Saskatchewan. These kids are all entering their draft year and are trying to move in that direction. While they are still 14 year old kids making fart noises, playing Pokemon Go & asking their parents when they are going to go eat; their physical strength/conditioning clearly separates them from their average middle school classmates.
These ‘kids’ are athletes in every sense. They work their body & technique on/off the ice almost daily.
If you want to develop your snap shot, do you simply practice a few during the two allotted ice times a week? What happens in the Summer when the ice is out? No instead when you want to work on your shot you pull the net out in the driveway and fire off several hundred likely before you even realize how many pucks you went through. I guarantee those that have a wicked wrist shot did not just pick it up at hockey practice but rather it developed out of hours and hours in the garage!
The same goes for speed and physical strength. To develop your core do you rattle off 10 sit ups or a 20 second plank all call it good? Certainly not! Physical development is just as important (if not more so) than working on your shooting, yet many players who have a real desire to go further in Spring (or minor) hockey simply could not keep up at AAA tryouts that can last over two weeks!
Fortunately in Canada you do not have to travel far for serious, productive training, there are numerous facilities that can handle hockey player development.
When budgets allow there are always private/group training programs around. Have a look at the updated development section to this site: http://www.hockeyinfo.ca/development.
You can click on the tab for your province. As always should you come across a facility that is not listed please send me a comment so I can add it to the database (at no charge).
If you are looking to work at home in your backyard or basement, you can try using the methods and drills found in the book “Dryland: Next Level Hockey Training” by David Pollitt; an absolutely fantastic manual.
There are also countless video you can use on YouTube, simply enter the terms ‘hockey, dryland’ in the search box and away you go.
There are many options to help your child become a stronger and more agile player on the ice; the real point here is to help them take the steps necessary. No one wants to have the conversation with their child on the way home from being cut from a Spring (or Winter) team. The one where they explain that some kids are bigger stronger & faster because they trained harder while your child wasn’t working out.
Nothing is free & everyone starts at the bottom having to claw their way up the ladder of success. Why not assist your child by holding the ladder?
Have a great day!