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What would you do?

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08-22-2011, 06:08 PM
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What would you do?

Hi all,

Our hockey teams are getting ready for the season and tryouts are going to take place pretty soon. We are having a lot of kids that have a year left in mites signing up to tryout to try to make a squirt team. Very few of these kids have the talent to make one of these teams. I was approached by a squirt coach about my son and was told he should tryout. I think his skating is there however his shooting and passing skills are not. I told the coach I would think about it, but my gut is telling me to leave him at the mite level. Let him work on his shooting and passing and let him be with most of his friends.

So my question is what would you do?

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08-22-2011, 06:14 PM
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I'd ask the kid what he wants. It's his life to dictate not yours. The sooner you let him make responsible decisions the sooner he will learn to be responsible. He may make the counter-intuitive decision and your efforts to convince him otherwise may fail, but let him see how it works for him self. Better to learn responsibility at a young age before you have to make responsible decisions that will actually make an impact on your life. But what do I know? I'm just a 20 year old college hockey player. Take this with a grain of salt... it's your family. Your decision.

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08-22-2011, 06:29 PM
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Kids don't know how to make a responsible decision. Unless he's saying he really doesn't want to play hockey anymore, moving him up to better competition would help him develop. But then again there are so many factors to consider.

You are the parent, you make the decisions. Not us younger guys (gotta agree with Chris there) who know nothing about parenting yet.

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08-22-2011, 06:35 PM
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I'd be inclined to leave him in mites, but I would ask him. And find out what level his best buddies are playing at, if he can be with his friends, all the better. Where would he have the most fun? Some kids have more fun when they can dominate a little, some get frustrated if they're not challenged. It really depends on the kid.

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08-22-2011, 07:48 PM
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If you can, I think he should try out for the squirt team, but then ultimately leave him in mites even if he makes the team.

This way, he gets a taste of what it will be like at the next level and he can spend the next season working on the areas he'll see that he needs to improve at, but without having to be at that level just yet.

If he moves up now, odds are he'll just be the worst of the lot. He may get some good competition against older, better kids, but he may also find the work level much harder and much less rewarding (i.e. far less ice time, far less success in games, far less success in practice, etc.). Instead of being one of the better players in mites where he'll have fun, he'll be one of the kids struggling to make accurate passes in practice on a squirt team.

Let him stay down another year, have fun, let his body and skills develop as they should, and then he'll be all the more ready next year.

But at the same time, let him go to the tryout and get a taste of that higher level. Then, when he attends those same tryouts next year, he'll feel a lot more comfortable about it.

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08-22-2011, 07:53 PM
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Hey there. Before you make this decision analyse your situation further. How well does he play in the mite level? Does he score often/get a decent amount of assists? How physically mature is he? ONLY move him up to squirt if he dominates or is already a very good player on his mite team. If he has the skills to play in the squirt level and he has the physical maturity you should move him up because that will only help him develop advanced hockey senses for his age. However moving him up to squirt without him being good enough will not develop his skills as fast as being an average/good player in mite. You have NOTHING to learn from dominating in fact it can make you worse as you might develop a slower hockey sense. Also he's a kid! He'll make friends on whatever team he plays on.
In summary:
Step 1: Determine his physical maturity compared to the squirts.
Step 2: Determine his skills in comparison to the other mites/squirts not just him individually.
After those steps decide on which level is more suited for him.

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08-23-2011, 06:14 PM
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If it were me, I'd leave him in mite to develop his passing/shooting, but it's the kid's decision, let him make it.

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08-23-2011, 06:18 PM
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First of all, how old are mites and squirts? I'm assuming 7/8?

Ask you kid first. If he's unsure, try to clarify the differences and if he still isn't sure then you'll have to either be able to tell what he's alluding to or make the decision.

I would say let him tryout. It's a good experience and if he doesn't make it, back down to mite. If he does then you know he's above average for his age and you have a tough decision whether to send him to squirt or back to mite.

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08-24-2011, 06:55 AM
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Look at where your kid will benefit the most. Compare coaching, playing time, and the overall fun factor for your son before you make a move and then hope that you made the right choice. Make the move for him not you.

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08-24-2011, 10:24 AM
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Hi there,
I can share my experience I had with my boy. I'm sure this does not apply to all kids, but it works for some of them.

He's 12 now. Plays hockey since 4. He has always played as high as coaches would allow. He played against 10y/o when he was 5, against 12y/o when he was 8, 14 when he was 11.
We always trusted the coach's decision, but asked my boy what he wanted.
He always liked the challenge against stronger opponents, was always well accepted by the elder kids and had a lot of fun. It made him skate faster, pass faster and keep his head up. It's kind of cool being the youngest on a team, even if you get less ice-time.

Passing, shooting, deking was learned during practices and playing pick-up hockey.

I personally believe game playing time is really not that important at this age. How much game ice-time do you get per week being a top player? How much will your son get? Compare these numbers to total practice time and the difference becomes much less important.

So if the coach says to try and your kid wants to play at a higher level, go for it. He will learn shooting and passing during practices, not during games. The better competition will probably help his development.

Make sure he has fun and is well integrated, ask the coach to have an eye on him at the beginning.

Good luck and let us know how it worked out.


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