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Getting my 6 year old son into Hockey/skating

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02-04-2013, 09:48 PM
  #1
RASHEED FLYER FAN
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Getting my 6 year old son into Hockey/skating

Just a few questions I had, I'm a newbie to Hockey, never played and only recently began watching. As a kid I always wanted to play but my parents never had the money for skates/equipment so I just never had the opportunity to do so. Now, since my 6 year old son has declared an interest in playing what is the best way to go about it? He has not skated yet so I signed him up for lessons and I'm intending to get him on the ice as much as possible this year. How long should I have him skate before I sign him up for hockey? How many hours a week skating is a good amount for a 6 year old beginner to master the basic skills?

Also, last question, is 6 kinda late to get kids skating? I figure in Canada and hotbeds like Minnesota kids are skating as soon as they can walk, should I have taken him on the ice at three or something? Will he be behind the other kids? FWIW I live in California.

Thanks very much in advance for your responses.

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02-04-2013, 10:24 PM
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ean
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Back it up a little. Take him to public skate and see what happens from there. Put him on the ice as much as he enjoys and no more.

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02-05-2013, 01:09 AM
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Back it up a little. Take him to public skate and see what happens from there. Put him on the ice as much as he enjoys and no more.
Point taken, I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself here.

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02-05-2013, 01:52 AM
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6 wouldn't be late, it would be the norm, but the norm don't account for the crosby's of the world.

dont rush him into hockey until he get's skating, and i would say there's not any amout of how much they can handle at that age, you are not going to get a kid to burnout with trying a sport for the first time.

also don't get discouraged if he doesn't like skating lesson's i hated them, but they gave me the basic skills. i went back to powerskating classes around ages 9-12 and that's where i developed my above average skating techniques.

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02-05-2013, 06:53 AM
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I think 6 years old is the proper age, not so early to get hurt and not so late to learn it.

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02-05-2013, 06:54 AM
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I see a lot of parents who rush the kids through the skating lessons to get to hockey. It shows up in their game. Don't worry about hockey right now, just try to make sure he has as much fun in skating lessons, and going to public skates with you, or his friends as you can.
The more he has the fundamentals down before he picks up a stick, the easier he'll learn the other parts of hockey

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02-05-2013, 02:46 PM
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I'd agree with what the others said. My son is 8 and really just learned to skate last year on the pond behind our house. He wanted to play hockey desperately this year so we signed him up and tried to get him out as much as we could before the season started. He HATED the first few practices because he couldn't do even the basic drills without falling ( to the point where he'd be crying at the end of practice) but he loved playing the games. By the end of the first 2 months he'd caught up and skatied better than some of the other kids who could skate at the beginning of the season! point is just be supportive and positive and if your kid likes it, they like it. (some leagues have equipement swaps to help with the gear costs!)

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02-05-2013, 03:19 PM
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Well I'd shift the definition of "the right time" as whenever. Like, literally, through adult hood. It's a potentially very fun and rewarding game and social activity.

I can tell you my kid at nearly four isn't that close to skating and playing hockey, really just pushing around a chair on the ice. Six is still plenty early.

I can also tell you that if you're excited about hockey and skating, he's probably going to be as well. My parents just signed me up for all these sports but never watched them at home, just expected me to like playing them, I hated it. Now my kid sees me play and watch hockey and literally that's all he wants to do.

Do you skate or play? Getting him a pair of skates, or even just renting skates and doing a public skate would be a a big first step. If he likes that, skating lessons, or a beginners/learn to play and skate program?

Also, check the equipment guide up top for when he starts playing! And the skate guide too. And the stick guide. Although he probably won't need anything more than a $20 wood stick at first (and for as long as you can hold out!)

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02-06-2013, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RASHEED FLYER FAM View Post
Just a few questions I had, I'm a newbie to Hockey, never played and only recently began watching. As a kid I always wanted to play but my parents never had the money for skates/equipment so I just never had the opportunity to do so. Now, since my 6 year old son has declared an interest in playing what is the best way to go about it? He has not skated yet so I signed him up for lessons and I'm intending to get him on the ice as much as possible this year. How long should I have him skate before I sign him up for hockey? How many hours a week skating is a good amount for a 6 year old beginner to master the basic skills?

Also, last question, is 6 kinda late to get kids skating? I figure in Canada and hotbeds like Minnesota kids are skating as soon as they can walk, should I have taken him on the ice at three or something? Will he be behind the other kids? FWIW I live in California.

Thanks very much in advance for your responses.
im am going to give you advise opposite of what everyone is posting and forgive me if things are a bit different where you live. I have a 6 yearold who started playing last season. I coached the team and we have 4 kids who had never been on skates before on our team. It literally took me and the other coaches 4-6 weeks to have them skating at decent level. Part of the issue with skating lessons is that they are typically 30mins once a week. hockey here (Western canada) is 2-2.5 hours a week. in 2 practices the kids get the same ice time they would in 5 weeks of lessons. Another thing i found as i did have my oldest go through skating lessons is that they are doing very basic steps etc and the teachers were always figure skaters. AS soon as he was with boys/kids his age and they had a hockey stick in hand where they could lean on it a bit to get their footing familar they flourished. our season started in october and by christmas we had no weak skaters.

I also found my kid felt safer with all the hockey equip on so he wasnt afraid to try skating on his own.

youth hockey coaches (again where i live) are well taught on how to teach skating. it is an emphasis from age 5-15, always working on skating. if you add up the ice time of 2 months we talking 20 hours of ice time. thats approx 40 lessons through a skating lesson program.

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02-06-2013, 09:14 AM
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they are definitely more adventurous with hockey gear on. Plus, hockey gear is cool, they want to wear it.

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02-06-2013, 10:29 AM
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My kid wears his helmet just for S'n'G around the house.

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02-06-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CornKicker View Post
im am going to give you advise opposite of what everyone is posting and forgive me if things are a bit different where you live. I have a 6 yearold who started playing last season. I coached the team and we have 4 kids who had never been on skates before on our team. It literally took me and the other coaches 4-6 weeks to have them skating at decent level. Part of the issue with skating lessons is that they are typically 30mins once a week. hockey here (Western canada) is 2-2.5 hours a week. in 2 practices the kids get the same ice time they would in 5 weeks of lessons. Another thing i found as i did have my oldest go through skating lessons is that they are doing very basic steps etc and the teachers were always figure skaters. AS soon as he was with boys/kids his age and they had a hockey stick in hand where they could lean on it a bit to get their footing familar they flourished. our season started in october and by christmas we had no weak skaters.

I also found my kid felt safer with all the hockey equip on so he wasnt afraid to try skating on his own.

youth hockey coaches (again where i live) are well taught on how to teach skating. it is an emphasis from age 5-15, always working on skating. if you add up the ice time of 2 months we talking 20 hours of ice time. thats approx 40 lessons through a skating lesson program.
I agree. They make different levels of hockey for a reason. If you sign him up in hockey right away he's not going to be playing with superstars.

I'm not sure how it works in California, but in Canada he would be starting Novice next year (7-8 years old), which is the first level of organized games and seasons. He would do fine showing up and not knowing how to skate. That's what the coaches are there for.

I've been coaching for a while now and I've had kids as old as the Peewee level (11-12 years old) show up to the opening camp not knowing how to skate.

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02-06-2013, 01:50 PM
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Make sure the lessons are hockey based - while they may not be learning the game, dont discourage the kid by putting him out there with figure skaters. Learn the basics from these lessons..

Check with local rinks. They'll offer different program for beginner skaters.

Once he gets some of the basics down, and can mostly move around without the aid of a cone/chair, bring him to some public open skates. Do this as much as possible. The more time you spend on the ice, the more comfortable he will be, and the quicker he will improve. Our rink even has a little 'mentor' program where some of the high school kids actually 'teach' skating to the youngsters. This could even be done during the open skates and costs very little, depending on the program.

Make sure he understands, that while in skating classes, he will be playing hockey. I started at 3 years old, and was kept in beginner skates for almost 2 years. I did not enjoy it much at all... until my older sister 'graduated' and was put onto a team. She got a jersey and I didnt. Once I was told I had to skate, I did, and quickly got put on a team.

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02-07-2013, 12:41 AM
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Thanks for all the responses guys, the advice is invaluable to someone like me who doesn't come from a Hockey background. Also, I appreciate that no two peoples experiences will be alike so its great to get differing outlooks and answers to the same question.

FWIW based on all the information on this thread I think we'll try and get him on the ice 3 times a week (at least) for 6 months then look to enroll him in Hockey sometime later this year regardless of whether he has mastered skating or not as per the recommendations of CornKicker and Malreg. He turns 7 in the Fall so maybe that will be the appropriate time to do so.

Again thanks very much.

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02-07-2013, 06:30 AM
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My daughter started playing in August. She started with hockey 1 which covered basic skating. Hockey 2, they started to learn to skate with a stick but never used a puck. After that, initiation class where they actually start to learn how to play.

It only took her a few weeks to figure out the basic skating stuff, now she can go forwards and backwards pretty well and can do some really ugly crossovers. She can stop OK too. She was very shaky the first 1-2 times on the ice but she learned really quickly. Having the gear on made her unafraid to fall or push herself. She's 8, which is a little late to start but kids pick things up pretty quickly. Plus, there isn't that 'work really hard and you'll play in the NHL' pressure on her!

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02-11-2013, 11:43 PM
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My 6 year old is just finishing up his first year of mite (ADM) 6 and under. He did figure skating lessons at 4, "learn to play" hockey sessions at 5, and then mite 6u this season. He is by far the weakest player on his team, but this is mostly due to being a very small, scrawny, uncoordinated kid. He also has some exceptionally talented teammates. However, he either doesn't know or doesn't care about his comparative ability yet. He just goes out there and has fun playing. He loves doing drills, going to different rinks for games, and eating pizza afterwards.

He has physically developed considerably since the start of the season, and revels in his growing physique. The wife and I are more than thrilled to pay for, and attend all his practices and games just for this reason. The fact that he enjoys it so much makes hockey a no brainer for us.

I would say it is OK to gently push your kid, but make sure "fun" is the focus. Best of luck to you!

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02-12-2013, 07:49 AM
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fun is definitely the most important part. At those ages, if it isn't fun, it won't last very long.

My sons coach asked him to start doing 300 shots a week at home. He was not thrilled with the idea, but I go in the basement with him, and we make a whole game out of it. I put a goal light down there, and do his favorite goal calls when he gets a good one in. In a week he went from barely making it to the middle of the net, to clanking them in off the crossbar fairly regularly. I also got him to stop aiming at the dead center of the net

Now he does 200 a night, at his insistence. It's fun, and he sees progress, which fuels more progress. The important part for me is that he learns the lesson that practice equals results, and the important part for him is he laughs his butt off while doing it. Everybody wins

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02-14-2013, 10:24 AM
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I am in the same boat as our Flyers friend here. I have seen all your posts on proper equipment and whatnot. My son likes to watch the Hawks as much as i do and loves doing things with me. I started buying gear for him so when he is ready we can hop on the ice. Im deployed right now but im getting home in a few weeks, if i take him to the rink to work on skating, what do you suggest to keep him interested, or motivated? My wife asked him the other day if he wanted to try it and he said no. Then other days he says yes.

Whoops, that question was directed more so for Jarick. Although all advice is welcome, thanks!


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02-14-2013, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RASHEED FLYER FAN View Post
Thanks for all the responses guys, the advice is invaluable to someone like me who doesn't come from a Hockey background. Also, I appreciate that no two peoples experiences will be alike so its great to get differing outlooks and answers to the same question.

FWIW based on all the information on this thread I think we'll try and get him on the ice 3 times a week (at least) for 6 months then look to enroll him in Hockey sometime later this year regardless of whether he has mastered skating or not as per the recommendations of CornKicker and Malreg. He turns 7 in the Fall so maybe that will be the appropriate time to do so.

Again thanks very much.
This is the approach I took with my daughter and skating. When she expressed interest in going, between school and other things we had her enrolled in at the time, I wanted her to want to go.

We went to public skating for a good six months just to have fun. I'd remind her the day before skating to tell me tomorrow if she wanted to go, as I didn't want it to seem like me forcing it upon her. I wanted to make it fun and not seem like a requirement. To this day it seemed like the right choice with my eldest, granted kids are not all the same but the pushiness of parents is something I never understood.

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