It’s easy to see the appeal of sports supplements for young athletes. Pro athletes and body builders endorse them. And they’re marketed as being able to improve athletic performance. But should kids and teens take them? No, says Dr. Shane Miller, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at Children’s Medical Center.
Just a few quick thoughts on the mindset of youth hockey. I have heard at least 10 parents, players and coaches claim that a 14-year-old kid is the best player in the world—or at least North America. Pretty ridiculous. Everyone in youth hockey is so concerned and preoccupied with the best player at his or her age group: Who has the most points, who is going to play junior early, who is being scouted.
The best hockey seasons, win or lose, happen when everyone on a team gets along. When every player is supportive and friendly, practice and games—and the locker room—are fun. Nothing, even losing, causes more misery to parents and players than cliques and bullying in the locker room and on the ice. Plus, results on the ice indicate that closer-knit teams do perform better. So it’s no wonder that many coaches devote so much energy to ensuring that players not only improve their stickhandling skills but also their friendships.
On a sunny September Sunday, Coach Albertin Montoya watched his Gold Pride players, including the magnificent Brazilian Marta and U.S. world champion Tiffeny Milbrett, celebrate the WPS championship after a 4-0 win over Philadelphia.
Success in sports, as in any other achievement arena, depends on both skill and motivation. Skill and motivation are intimately related to one another. Athletes who are not motivated to develop their skills will probably not achieve their potential, and inadequate skills will not allow athletes to achieve their goals.
When you or your kids play hockey, you spend so much time in ice hockey rinks that you start to feel at home. You feel perfectly comfortable standing around the lobby or snack bar, analyzing the team, players, practice, coaches, refs and game. But guess what? You’re not at home, you’re not in your car—you’re out in public with other parents, players and their entourages around. And chances are, someone’s listening.
Goal setting is one of many psychological strategies that can help athletes achieve peak performances. The process of setting goals not only influences athletes’ performances, but it is linked to positive changes in a variety of psychological states such as motivation and confidence. Additionally, goal setting is a tool that can be beneficial in all areas of life, including school. Because of this, parents should teach goal-setting techniques to their young athletes.
Add hockey practices and games to an already busy life and you’ll find that you spend way more time at one place: the drive-thru window. One way to get a handle on this is to make sure your refrigerator and pantry are stocked with healthy, easy-to-prepare foods that—and this is key—that kids will eat.
In our effort to keep you out of the drive-thru lane—thereby saving your time, money and arteries—Grow the Game’s nutritionist put together a handy shopping list for you. This list focuses on healthy foods that need little to no preparation and kids are sure (well, likely) to like. You just may reach that holy grail of a take-out free week of hockey.
When my son was in grade school, I switched all my volunteer activities to Scouts rather than PTO—because the Scout dads were just glad I showed up while the PTO moms preferred to micromanage and criticize. And nothing can make you more bitter and burned out than being criticized for volunteer work.