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.

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.

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