Now that we are nearing the summer, and many players will be wrapping up their hockey season, many players and hockey parents may be thinking of what hockey camp to enroll their children in. This seems like the obvious answer to help keep your child’s hockey skills up par, but have you considered other sports instead of hockey?
Some people may not realize that you can really increase some of your hockey skills by not playing hockey at all! Don’t believe me? Just ask some of the pros
Here is a quote I found on the Port Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association site, from Wayne Gretzky, originally posted in the National Post March 2000
Wayne Gretzky – “If sport has a high point of the year, it must be the first week of spring.” “…When I was growing up, I used to love this time of year. It was when I put my hockey equipment away and I was absolutely ecstatic to see the end of the hockey season. One of the worst things to happen to the game, in my opinion, has been year-round hockey and, in particular, summer hockey. “All it does for kids, as far as I can tell, is keep them out of sports they should be doing in warmer weather. I could hardly wait to get my lacrosse stick out and start throwing the ball around. It didn’t matter how cold or rainy it would be, we’d be out firing the ball against walls and working on our moves as we played the lacrosse equivalent to road hockey.” “All the good hockey players seemed to play lacrosse in those days and everyone of them learned something from the game to carry over to the other – things athletes can only learn by mixing up games they play when they are young.”
Here is another quote from Peter Twists Complete Conditioning for Ice Hockey “[What advice would Gretzky have for a young player?] [For young athletes Gretzky recommends, “that they do not focus on one sport. Kids should play all sports. Varied sport participation will help their hand-eye coordination and improve their overall conditioning and athleticism. Team sports, at a young age, also help them learn to be unselfish.”
If that is not enough for you here is another quote from Peter Twists book from a former NHL player and current NHL coach, Pat Quinn “One thing I don’t like about our game today is that one sport takes too much time from the kids. If they’re hockey players when they’re seven, it’s a 12 month job now, with summer camps and a heavy game schedule. This works against overall development of skill and athletic ability. I’d much rather see kids play as many team sports as they can.”
I think I have your attention now, you may be asking what sports will your child enjoy, but also help them come back next season as a better hockey player? I have written several articles that sum up how each sport will help build your child’s overall athleticism, and also help them develop some great skills for hockey. (linked at the bottom of this article)
I think it is a good idea to compete in many sports in order to be a good overall athlete. Many pro athletes also played a number of other sports, and I think that helped them become a complete player. One point to consider is the fact that muscles plateau, muscles will plateau if only worked to a certain point. I think the same goes with muscle memory, as well as building muscle mass, if you only play hockey, you will only be testing the muscles involved in hockey. Playing other sports will test and build your muscles, and muscle paterns in ways that hockey would not. This means that some areas will grow beyond any level you could achieve while playing hockey, helping to make you an elite athlete. If you do not believe me that playing a variety sports will help you in hockey, just ask Wayne Gretzky and Pat Quinn 😉
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