Chances are if your child plays hockey, he also likes watching hockey. In fact, many kids develop their interest in the sport after watching a game. However, once a child goes from a “hockey hopeful” to a real hockey player, watching games shouldn’t just be about fun anymore. No, instead, watching a game should be viewed as a learning experience- the perfect chance for your child to learn from what he sees. The key is just showing him what to watch for and what to take away from it.
Look Away from the Puck
When kids (or anybody really) watch hockey, they tend to focus on the puck. However, if the goal is to learn something from watching the game, the puck should not be the focal point.
The puck is only moving because of what the players are doing to it, which is why they- not the puck- should be the main focus. Encourage your child to watch these players, to see what actions and movements lead to success and what actions and movements lead to failure.
Pick a Player
For some kids, trying to pay attention to what each player is doing is just too much. For these kids, the best option is to have them pick a player that they will follow throughout an entire game.
Instruct your young athlete to keep his eyes glued to a particular player and maybe even to take notes on a few things the player did well and a few things he could improve upon. You can even make a group game of this by having each participant pick a player.
Afterwards, whether it’s just you and your kid or the entire team, share insights from watching the game and encourage young athletes to put them into practice the next time they step on the ice.
Remember, a game doesn’t have to be just a game. It can and should be a learning experience, so whether you’re watching at home or in person, treat every game as a learning opportunity!