There’s a rising trend in the youth hockey world known as “spring hockey,” whereby young players continue playing hockey in what should be the off-season.
And, while many parents believe that spring hockey is effective and helpful for their kids, there are many reasons why it may not be the best idea. To start off with, it costs a lot of money, which can be a real difficulty for parents who already have drained bank accounts from long hockey seasons.
Furthermore, continuing to play hockey in the off season isn’t guaranteed to improve skills or strength or speed and may actually worsen these things by not giving the body a chance to rest and recuperate.
One also has to consider the mental and emotional exhaustion that young players feel after a long season of hockey. If they just keep playing more hockey, they are not likely to get the mental rest they need, and this could lead to burnout, excess stress, and a host of other problems.
None of this is to say that young players should totally give up on the sport in the spring season. That would be just as counterproductive as playing hockey full-out during the spring season. Instead, they should focus on working on some specific skills and on keeping their bodies strong and healthy while not playing and practicing regularly.
Some good things to work on in the spring months include:
· Flexibility and mobility
· On-ice training no more than once or twice per week
· Massages, chiropractor visits, and other methods to improve tissue quality
· Resistance training a few times per week
· Re-corrective exercises if any imbalances have been found
If players work on these things in the spring months, they should be emotionally, mentally, and physically ready to tackle hockey when the season starts up again…all without playing a whole other season of hockey in between!