Everyone knows that moderation is the key to a happy, healthy life. Don’t eat too much or drink too much, or you will suffer consequences. Eat just the right amount, however, and you will thrive. These are simple rules that everyone knows, so why aren’t they being applied to youth hockey?
Sadly, for many, moderation goes out the window when it comes to youth hockey. Young players are often forced or at least “strongly encouraged” to play hockey all year long, even during the off-season, and to basically eat, breathe, and live hockey, all by parents who think this will turn their kids into pro hockey players. The fact of the matter is, though, that over saturating kids with hockey is unhealthy, counterproductive, and often leads to complete and total burnout.
Kids don’t need to play hockey all year long. They need to spend some time just being kids, and they also need to spend time playing other sports and pursuing other interests. Not doing so can not only make them come to hate hockey, but it can also breed bad, resentful relationships with parents and a host of other problems.
If you’re a hockey parent, remember the “moderation rule” when it comes to hockey. Allow your kids to take a breather during the off-season- that’s what it’s there for after all. You might just be surprised at how effective this break can be. Often, kids are super excited when the new season starts and, as a result of their break, they approach the new season ready to give it all they’ve got.
The bottom line is that you can have too much of a good thing, and that includes hockey. So, let your kids take the lead and choose their involvement level with the sport. The results might just surprise you and are sure to make everyone happier and healthier.