A lot of parents want their children to be serious about youth hockey. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. After all, hockey can ultimately lead to scholarships and to great future opportunities.
With that said, however, the big mistake that many parents make is choosing to have their kids focus ONLY on hockey. Some parents won’t allow their children to try or play any other sports, thinking that the more their children focus on hockey, the better they will get.
Is this way of thinking accurate? The answer may just surprise you.
A World of Skills
One of the first things to know and understand is that hockey requires all kinds of skills in order to be successful. These include skills like balance, strength, and overall power and stamina.
Hockey practice and training teaches a lot of these skills. However, it can’t teach all of them, nor can it teach them as fully as certain other sports and exercises do.
Thus, when you deprive your kids of participating in other sports, you actually deprive them of the opportunity to build skills that could be useful to them in hockey. Think of the coordination that baseball teaches or even the balance of something like ballet.
Basically, if your child has a sport he or she is interested in other than hockey, go ahead and let your child participate. Chances are it will only improve performance on the ice.
The Possibility of Burnout
Burnout is a very real problem among many of today’s young athletes. Kids, as you probably know, have short attention spans, so it makes sense that they would quickly grow bored and disinterested if you make them practice the same sport day after day.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to prevent burnout, and that’s by allowing your child to do other things. If those “other things” include sports, that’s great. As mentioned, participation in other physical activities will only help their hockey game.
Even if your child is interested in totally unrelated pursuits, however, such as taking an art class or just spending time with friends, allowing these types of activities can prevent your child from growing bored with hockey and ultimately refusing to have anything to do with it.
Finally, keep in mind that if a person- especially a young and growing person- does the same activities over and over again, he or she is very likely to develop related injuries due to stress and overuse of certain muscle groups.
Injuries can be serious and even lifelong. Fortunately, if you allow your child to take breaks and switch up sports, you can reduce the possibility of these types of injures.
The bottom line in all of this is that, while it may seem counterintuitive to allow your child to focus on sports other than hockey, doing so can actually help him or her to ultimately have great success in the sport, as well as a longer, more fulfilling career in it.