With the trend in recent years for younger players to focus on one sport to the exclusion of all others, a wider discussion has ensued that argues for and against early specialization. The opponents typically come from the child development camp and hockey “experts” who point out that some of the top NHL players were multi-sport athletes all the way through high school and that early specialization is harmful to long term development of young players. The proponents are also often hockey “experts” with something to sell to kids and parents. They claim to have “developed” elite level players and promise to do the same for your player. Which side is right?
The common notion in sports equates success with victory. This means scoring more points, runs, or goals than the opponent. Yet, in a youth sport model, the measure of success goes beyond records and standings. Success is a personal thing and is related to one’s own standards and abilities.
Having fun in sports receives almost no research attention, yet when kids are asked why they play sports such as hockey, most say they are on the ice “to have fun.” Parents also say, “I just want my kids to have fun!” What do they mean?
Everyone associated with youth hockey understands that “managing” a youth hockey team, particularly at the start of a new season, is an extremely demanding task. Whether it is working on schedules for practices, games and tournaments or trying to find parents willing to man the penalty box, serve as timers, sell at the concession stand and keep score there are a lot of responsibilities that go with the job.
The following article offers a detailed look at the effectiveness of the Fair Play Points program over the last several years. The results of the program seem to be encouraging as we work together to make hockey safer for our players.
While ominous problems often occur post neurotrauma, it is difficult to appreciate the impact of concussions and hits to the head until one actually lives through these events. Understanding the tragic personal repercussions makes it impossible to be passive regarding the importance of preventing and properly managing concussions and related neurotrauma.
HEP, a successful Hockey Education Program was developed collaboratively by Minnesota Hockey and the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. Why is it successful?
3M and Minnesota Hockey are proud to present the “HEP Coach Recognition Program” to recognize youth hockey coaches at all levels whose behaviors provide for a positive athletic experience allowing players to develop to their greatest potential, have fun and learn to love the game.
HEP materials are available to all hockey associations at no cost. Materials include the HEP manuals, “Sports and Your Child” for parents and “Coaches Who Never Lose” for coaches, parent education materials, coaching manuals and DVD’s.
The first thing is to realize that whether or not your child shows it, he or she is likely to feel disappointed, rejected, and perhaps even humiliated. The youngster needs your support at this very difficult time: Read more