A blog dedicated to the fact you cannot make an NHLer,

Obviously you see the sarcasm in my blog name. This blog is about teaching the love of the game, the skills of the game and hopefully open some eyes to the crazy parents that think they can push their kid into becoming a star only to have the opposite happen or be the limiting factor in their kids hockey development. Remember, if you turn hockey from a game into a job, then all is lost and kids will drop out either physically or mentally.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Avatar = Hockey Inspiration???

I just finished watching Avatar. Amazing movie.
Made me wanna go play hockey, how about you???

OK, maybe I am reaching a bit, but hear me out!!!!!

Here is what I thought as I watched the movie.

"Written and Directed by James Cameron"
My wife says after the movie and this is displayed on the screen "He wrote it too? That guy is one amazing Canadian."

Darn right he is. Is it more amazing that he did it and he is from Canada? Nah, that just a bit of patriotism coming out. I have not read anything about his inspiration for the movie, but none the less he is a normal guy just like the rest of us at the root. What makes him different? Follow through - he sees how he wants things and then does not give up until they are as he sees them. Sounds like an athlete to me. Why him and not me, you may ask yourself? Why Sidney Crosby and not me in the NHL? Same reason it is James Cameron's Avatar and not "insert name here's" Avatar. Dream big, and Go for it. You might fail, but if it is your dream, failing is way better than "What if? Wish I would have!" and dreams are what happiness are made of, so trying to achieve happiness is better than doing nothing.

Heck ,when I put it that way, kinda makes it sound like everyone should be following there dreams and constantly coming up with new ones. Why not?

The Storyline:

The main character is a washed up marine, who gets to go on this journey because he has a twin brother. He cannot walk due to a war injury and we see him thought of as less because of it in the movie. When he is in his Avatar, he is strong and powerful and inspires others.

Kinda like a hockey player? You bet, when a kid gets on the ice, it is a chance to re-invent themselves, get away from all their worries and inspire others. Do 8 year-olds inspire others??? Of course they do, who do you think team mates and and 6 year old hockey players look up to? What about adults who watch them and think "Wow, Billy sure plays like it is the greatest day to be alive. Maybe I could take a page from that book and use it in my life."

Do not, I repeat, do not go tell Billy he needs to inspire others and a civilization depends on him!!!!

Kids don't need pressure, they need someone to believe in them. That's where we come in as coaches and parents. Support there dreams and do your best to help them. Do not decide what their dreams should be, or you will be on a different page as them most of the time and it will be even harder for them to accomplish their dreams.

Moral of this post:
As a coach and parent we need to allow our kids, and ourselves to dream big.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When to start skating!!! What Ed Jovanovski can teach us.

I have been asked lots of times, how old should your kid be to start skating?

The answer is not 1,2,3 or 4. The true answer lies in a number of factors:

1) Does your child have enough leg strength to stand up and stabilize?
2) Does you child have enough balance?
3) Does you child want to skate?

If the answer is No to all three then wait give them time, The idea is to give them a chance for success and enjoyment of skating. If the do not have good experiences at the beginning, the love of the game will harder to accomplish and that should be our goal.

If the answer to 1 and 2 is no, then you have a dilemma. If you want you can take them to the rink, but be warned you will experience lower back pain from having to hold them up and kick thier feet frantically in an attempt to "Go faster, dad/mom!!!" Usually this is a lot of un for the kids, so be prepared to carry them the whole time.

How do you know if they have enough leg strength and balance?

Easiest way is to take them out on the ice. If they can stand and take a step or two, then they should be good to go (remember to teach them airplane arms). Another easy way to check without going on the ice is to see if they can walk on the parking concrete barriers (no, not the 3 feet high ones, the ones that are a couple inches off the ground).

So what is the answer? Depends on each kid, but with teaching anything to kids remember that they need to be ready to learn or you will spend countless hours to make progress that could be made in an hour or two when they are ready. Here are some examples of this:
1) Parents always try to teach counting to their kids from the time they can say Ma ma, da da. Then all of a sudden they seem to know all the numbers and they parents rejoice that their child will now be able to lead a normal life, since Billy down the street that is the same age learnt his numbers months ago. (FYI - Billy probably will not win a nobel prize for math.)
2) My daughter was all gung ho for skating when she was 3, so we took her to skating lessons. She stepped on the ice, fell and decided that she hated skating. That year I took her myself and we went out and had fun and eventually she warmed up to the idea. The next year we got her some hockey equipment so she would not hurt her butt, and within a couple of weeks she had advanced to the top group that was on the ice at the time. Did I do anything special or spend countless hours the year before? Nope we just went once every month or 2 and had some fun and I am not buying my chiropractor a new vehicle with my visits.

  1. Have fun!
  2. Remember: Stand, March, Walk then Glide.
  3. Do not worry if the Johnson's kid could skate at 3, this is not a precursor for great skating.
  4. Do not be scared to take time off, the balance and strength can be developed many ways, such as running, jumping and just being kids.
Moral of the Post: Kids are all different, work on improvement and help them be the best they can be and not better than any other kids. I am sure there were many NHLer's that were not the best 5 year old on the team. Take a look at Ed Jovanovski. He is an elite skater in terms of speed and he did not start playing hockey till he was 11. I can guarantee you he was not in powerksating for 6 years prior to that, in fact his dad was a professional soccer player so I am sure lots of soccer was played and quick feet and acceleration are key components of that, and any sport.