In order for your child to one day grow up and become a professional hockey player…or just for him to be a skilled youth player, positional versatility is incredibly important. This term- positional versatility- is simply a fancy way of saying that a player is willing and able to play any position, or at least a wide range of them.
Hockey player Dave Christian is a perfect example of the importance of positional versatility. Though the player spent his childhood playing forward and defense, he had focused his attention mainly on forward during his college years. What surprised him, however, was that when he made the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team, it was as defense, not the position he’d tried out for, but one that was needed and that, fortunately, he’d also learned to play in his youth.
Countless other hockey players, many of whom have gone on to great success, thank positional versatility for advancing their careers. Obviously, it is important for players to be positionally versatile, and Bob Mancini of USA Hockey, along with many other industry experts, urges parents to understand that this skill is best developed when players are young.
The benefits these children experience are great. To begin with, children who play lots of different positions get a better overall understanding of how hockey works because they view the game from a wide range of different spots. This makes them better players overall and gives them a better understanding of what strategies work, and which ones don’t, when it comes to playing hockey. These young players will also have the benefit of developing wide-ranging skills and abilities early on and then having years and years to let those skills grow and improve.
If you want your child to grow into a well-rounded athlete with real potential for becoming pro, encourage him or her to try different positions, and find your child a coach who also believes in the importance of positional versatility.