There’s a disturbing trend among the parents of today’s young hockey players, and that trend is to rush children through hockey training and put a lot of pressure on them, all in the hopes of one day turning them into professional athletes.
What parents need to understand, however, is that pressuring their kids in this way actually makes them less likely, not more, to stick with the sport for the long haul.
Plus, there’s really no reason to put kids through so much at such a young age, especially when you consider that the average person entering the NHL doesn’t do so until he’s 22 to 23 and doesn’t even reach the height of his career for a few years after that.
In short, there’s plenty of times for kids to reach adult goals, and not a lot of time for them to just be kids, which is exactly what they should be doing. Attempting to rush your child’s development can actually stunt it, and investing in expensive hockey tournaments and hours of special coaching isn’t really investing in anything except a burnt-out little kid.
This isn’t just the opinion of a few coaches or kindhearted parents, either. In fact, USA Hockey recently convened with several big names in the hockey world, and all of the leaders agreed wholeheartedly on the importance of age-appropriate training for youngsters. The focus, these experts maintain, of youth sports should be on long-term development of players as people, not on churning out little pros.
These experts know what so many parents fail to realize: when children associate sports with fun and friendship, not with pressure and stress, they’re more likely to stay involved in the sport long-term and more likely to become pros one day too!
So, basically, if you want your child to become a professional hockey player, don’t act like you do! Encourage your child to try out lots of different sports and activities, emphasize the fun of the game- not winning, and take things slow. Your child is still growing and has a long way before he or she even needs to entertain the idea of being a professional hockey player, let alone working and training like one!