Flipping the Switch at Age 10!?

The article Faced with Player Burnout, Youth Hockey Eases Up has been making it way around the New England hockey circles.  The article is a nice story about a town getting back to the basics of introducing competitive sport to kids and reminds us of the keys to creating a foundation for life-long passion in the sport.  This is clearly a sensible way to starting all kids in sport, the next question for communities to consider is, “What type of athletic culture is created after this introduction?”

My experience of the past few years shows that the 10-11yr old age range poses the greatest challenge to a sensible approach to hockey.  It seems like all common sense is lost by both coaches and parents at this time.  In one year’s time, kids go from enjoying play to fearing for ice-time.  It’s like a switch is flipped changing a playful rink into a a culture that scares the heck out of kids by telling them that hockey is “serious” business.

Player development is a gradual process, no seriousness-switch must be flipped at any age to motivate or educate athletes. To the contrary, elite sport is all about passion and play – a “serious” approach too often alienates athletes and inhibits learning.


1 Response to “Flipping the Switch at Age 10!?”

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