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08-19-2009, 03:35 PM
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You both bring up good points.

The OP seems to be leaning towards increasing the interest level of youngsters in hockey already, while the second poster is leaning more towards bringing new players into the game.

To the OP: I thought Timbits hockey was supposed to be the "free form, fun hockey" that you're describing. It's just a bunch of kids holding sticks and chasing the puck, isn't it?

I agree that those mini-games are a lot of fun. I went to a few of my cousin's learn to skate classes (dropped him off and watched) and they would always do a free skate to start, instruction in the middle, a big game at the end (tag, red-light green-light, etc etc) before another free skate.

The real problem comes with trying to push the kid into something too soon. A kid will not be interested in learning to play hockey until he or she actually enjoys the sport. Even then, you can quickly diminish a child's interest in learning the game by throwing too much at them at once. First, they should develop an interest in hockey. After that they should learn some skating fundamentals (forward stride, snowplow + hockey stops, backwards skating, and crossovers) before picking up a hockey stick and getting involved in the game.

Trying to teach a kid how to skate and play hockey concurrently (which many do) is a great way to overload the player while having them develop poor technique (IE not skating with proper knee bend). You have to teach skills in isolation before combining them. A lot of hockey parents don't understand this. On the same note, you have to keep it fun for the kids. For some, that could just mean spending time with mom and dad at the public skates, and for others it means playing fun games on the ice with the other kids.

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