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Youth's Athletic Development

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05-20-2007, 10:24 AM
  #1
sorno
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Youth's Athletic Development

Living in the Twin Cities and being part of a large hockey association, I have concerns on how much hockey young kids are playing and the professionalization of this sport at such a young age. Kids are being recruited out of mites (7-9 years old) with promises to parents that they can maximize the college and pro potential of their kids by enrolling in their programs. They are doing the intense version of AAA hockey(11-12 months a year) while skipping out of most other sports. My research (internet searches) into the subject shows that kids should participate in multiple sports thoughout the year if they want to maximize their potential. This approach is also good since kids may find out they enjoy other activities more, which keeps them involved and active through their teen years.

What makes this extreme hockey so appealing to so many is the number of high draft picks and college players being developed in the area, with people making legitmate claims that they helped develop this talent.

My son is a top ten player in our association for his age (9), but he is the only one not doing the extreme hockey. There is pressure to get him involved, but then he would not be able to play baseball, lacrosse, tennis, football etc. as much as he would like.

What are peoples observation of how kids develop? Do they see the superstars at 9 become average at 12? Does the extreme hockey work, or is the more well rounded approach seem to be the way to go?

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05-20-2007, 01:29 PM
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arcticwinter
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an excellent topic.it has long been said the best athletes in the end are those who play the most different sports because they develop every type of coordination and muscle group.but it's also a fact that the kids that pick a sport and eat,sleep,train at it become very good,very fast.two guys i've known from the time i was a kid became professional players and played every sport you could imagine.on the other hand i coached a player that lived hockey from day one and he also became a professional player.maybe those unique players,that are a freakish combo of skill are made by multisporting.lemieux is a great golfer,bertuzzi a great soccer player,shanahan a great lacrosse player.one thing for sure is that the kid will enjoy his childhood much more multisporting and not 14 years of high level high pressure hockey 11 months a year.

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05-20-2007, 08:29 PM
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MikeD
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It boils down to what your child wants to do. IF he or she is driven to play hockey year round than allow it. If they want to play other sports allow that. I think the most important thing you can do to help those of the youngest age groups is to enroll them in a local rec program for those "other" sports. When a schedule conflict happens, its easy to let the rec coach know that "johnny" will be missing from the game due to a Travel or Prospects game/practice. With the exposure to the other sports they have the experience to make the ultimate choice as to what it is they want to do.

Honestly, these coach's proclaiming their abilities to take a youth to a pro level is a bit exaggerated. The youths desire is the driving force behind the success of these programs. If johnny or jane do not want to be there, the best coach in the world will not take them pro. It has to be in thier hearts. Locally, we have had a few youths go on to pro levels. these players and their coaches have allways expressed the need to participate in other sports. My youngest son, ranked very high in the state, plays travel soccer when Hockey ends. He does go to a one week summer camp for his goaltending but other than that Hockey is pretty much a rec activity during his off season.


Last edited by MikeD: 05-20-2007 at 08:35 PM.
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05-20-2007, 08:40 PM
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Let him play the multi sports, as long as he is still playing hockey he should be fine. Let him do all the sports he wants to so he can get more athletic and i belive that playing other sports help you with the one you are focused on. Take Basketball for example. Steve Nash who was back-to-back MVP's says that he is so good cause he played soccer which helped with his vision of the basketball court, now of course he played basketball mostly but the other sports helped, he also played hockey while growing up. Let him play multi sports.

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05-20-2007, 10:00 PM
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Keep in mind 99 out of 100 will never even play college and 99 colege players out of 100 will never play pro. Let him play all sports and if he excells at one let him play as much as he wants. Keep in mind that at age 7-9 you are teaching them commitment and competition. Wheteher they need to compete at school, sports or the boardroom this is the age they start to learn things. As the parent/coach of an 8 year old travel hockey player, baseball player, and junior sailor keep in mind you will be the one who has to adapt to the schedule of multiple sports. You are the parent, decide with your child and avoid the pressure of outside adults who ruin everything that is pure about kids sports.

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05-20-2007, 10:10 PM
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Keetz
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Don't buy the hype! Look at guy's like Blake Wheeler. And since when did these guys help with ncaa recuitment? The area produces huge numbers of talent because of the huge interest of the area. The kids who exel are the ones who develop a love for the game.

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05-21-2007, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorno View Post
Living in the Twin Cities and being part of a large hockey association, I have concerns on how much hockey young kids are playing and the professionalization of this sport at such a young age. Kids are being recruited out of mites (7-9 years old) with promises to parents that they can maximize the college and pro potential of their kids by enrolling in their programs. They are doing the intense version of AAA hockey(11-12 months a year) while skipping out of most other sports. My research (internet searches) into the subject shows that kids should participate in multiple sports thoughout the year if they want to maximize their potential. This approach is also good since kids may find out they enjoy other activities more, which keeps them involved and active through their teen years.

What makes this extreme hockey so appealing to so many is the number of high draft picks and college players being developed in the area, with people making legitmate claims that they helped develop this talent.

My son is a top ten player in our association for his age (9), but he is the only one not doing the extreme hockey. There is pressure to get him involved, but then he would not be able to play baseball, lacrosse, tennis, football etc. as much as he would like.

What are peoples observation of how kids develop? Do they see the superstars at 9 become average at 12? Does the extreme hockey work, or is the more well rounded approach seem to be the way to go?

Is he begging you for the opportunity? Or are you concerned you might be letting him down somewhat if he misses out on what his peers are doing?

How much icetime/hockey training is he getting currently and how much more would this represent?

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05-21-2007, 08:21 AM
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sorno
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He is not begging to do more, nor would I let him if he was. He plays in his association in the winter, a spring and fall "fun" league, and maybe a camp in the summer. I am trying to do what is best for him-he needs variety and is involved in a lot of different sports. I am more concerned with certain individuals in town building businesses by selling dreams of stardom for parents kids. I also talk to a lot of parents who are feeling the pressure to put their kids through one of these hockey factories, and are looking for advice on what to do.

These people who run these year-round hockey development programs have proven success (multiple NHL draft picks and college players) and are very passionate about the game, however, there is pressure on parents who think the best way for their kid to achieve success is to go through one of these programs. It impacts their quality of life, but more importantly, my fear is now that these programs are expanding, how many kids will burn out and give up sports all together due to the intense training and pressure these kids experience at such a young age. What has made these programs successfull to date is that they were able to cherry pick some of the best athletes in the city (at least those who showed potential at 9), and run a small focussed program. Now they are diluting themselves by getting more and more kids and parents involved, selling dreams to more and more people who may not have the next Eric Johnson, Peter Mueller or Kyle Okposo living with them.

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05-21-2007, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorno View Post
He is not begging to do more, nor would I let him if he was. He plays in his association in the winter, a spring and fall "fun" league, and maybe a camp in the summer. I am trying to do what is best for him-he needs variety and is involved in a lot of different sports. I am more concerned with certain individuals in town building businesses by selling dreams of stardom for parents kids. I also talk to a lot of parents who are feeling the pressure to put their kids through one of these hockey factories, and are looking for advice on what to do.

These people who run these year-round hockey development programs have proven success (multiple NHL draft picks and college players) and are very passionate about the game, however, there is pressure on parents who think the best way for their kid to achieve success is to go through one of these programs. It impacts their quality of life, but more importantly, my fear is now that these programs are expanding, how many kids will burn out and give up sports all together due to the intense training and pressure these kids experience at such a young age. What has made these programs successfull to date is that they were able to cherry pick some of the best athletes in the city (at least those who showed potential at 9), and run a small focussed program. Now they are diluting themselves by getting more and more kids and parents involved, selling dreams to more and more people who may not have the next Eric Johnson, Peter Mueller or Kyle Okposo living with them.

Sounds like you have a good handle on it. I would think from what you are saying he has a good opportunity to enjoy hockey at any level he takes it to and a better opportunity to become a well rounded individual than many of his peers, some of whom may be pursuiting extra hockey for the wrong reasons at that age. Very hard for parents to stay objective about their kids sports and strike a good balance. For some reason for hockey this seems moreso than most.

Whether the extreme hockey works or not is more debatable but I would think a well rounded approach, other sports, not necessarily organized, will avoid burnout and add more overall.


Last edited by Crosbyfan: 05-21-2007 at 09:01 AM.
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Old
05-21-2007, 09:04 AM
  #10
Trepanated
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You may have already come across it in your research, but just in case, check out Dan Bylsma's site -- http://www.danbylsma.com/ He's a former NHL player and currently an assistant coach at the Penguins AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre Scranton.

On the Q&A page, he talks quite a bit about this and other issues related to parenting and youth sports. He has a lot of interesting things to say; I think he's well worth reading for anyone interested in hockey, not just parents of youth players.

Hope it helps.

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05-21-2007, 09:34 AM
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Crosbyfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncarbtpmo View Post
You may have already come across it in your research, but just in case, check out Dan Bylsma's site -- http://www.danbylsma.com/ He's a former NHL player and currently an assistant coach at the Penguins AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre Scranton.

On the Q&A page, he talks quite a bit about this and other issues related to parenting and youth sports. He has a lot of interesting things to say; I think he's well worth reading for anyone interested in hockey, not just parents of youth players.

Hope it helps.
Nice link. Seems like a lot of great advice.

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Old
05-21-2007, 09:44 AM
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This year we're letting our youngest son try competitive spring hockey. He played house league during the winter, and we thought this would give him (and us) a feel for the commitment, the travel and the level of competition before we choose what to do next season. He is doing great, and I have to say that he has learned a lot, but I can see where unless you have a kid who eats, sleeps and breathes hockey, this could burn them out.

I know it's early in this season, but I think we'll skip the spring hockey next year for a couple reasons:
There have already been a couple scheduling conflicts with soccer, which he also really enjoys.
The organizers of the spring hockey league believe that the parents of these kids are grooming them for the NHL - or try to convince them that they can groom their kid into an NHL player if they are dedicated enough (ie. willing to pay to have their kid play in this league).
Some of the parents are trying to groom their kids for the NHL.
It is very expensive. (Cost us more for one kid for two months than it did for two boys for the whole regular season.)
Our spring/summer is so short here, we (our son and us) would all rather be outside in the sunshine than in a cold, dark rink.

But never say never......

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Old
05-21-2007, 10:55 AM
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http://www.usolympicteam.com/coach_spring2004.pdf

I encourage you to read the article called "Development: Training in childhood and adolescence." it specifically addresses the value of multi-sport training and ages of specialization.

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