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, February 21, 2011

Build an athlete, not a one sport pony.

In Hockey crazed Canada, an alarming trend has been emerging. Sports specialization in kids, earlier and earlier.

What can happen to these kids? Burnout and over-training.
Does this happen to all the kids? Nope, some kids can't get enough.
Should kids pick a sport to concentrate on when they are 8? 10? 16? Not in my opinion, and I have some pretty good examples of why.

Here is a list of multple sport athletes who played at the major league level.

  • Bo Jackson - Baseball and Hockey (football, just making sure you are reading)
  • Danny Aigne - Baseball (Blue Jays) and Basketball (NBA)
  • Todd Helton - Baseball (Astros) and Football (he was the starting quarterback who got injured and allowed Peyton Manning to start in NCAA football, Peyton as a 3rd stringer - go figure).
  • Tom Glavine (was also drafted by LA kings) went on to a pretty good ball career.
  • Randy Moss - Pretty good football player, but did you know he was the best player on his high school basketball team which featured NBA player Jason Williams.
  • Dave Winfield - Drafted in Baseball, Football and Basketball, nuff said.
  • Jon Elway - Second round pick of the Yankees
  • Dan Marino - Foirth Round pick of the KC Royals.

The list is pretty impressive and there are a lot more examples of great athletes to play professional sports. You usually hear of players getting drafted and also being stars in other sports too.

The point is that we ge so caught up in developing kids in one sport that we fail to see the benefits of being a multiple-sport athlete.

Here are the benefits:

1) less chance of burnout
- if they are not doing the same sport day after day there is less chance they will not burn out and time away is always good for recharging mentally and fueling desire and passion for the sport (absence make the heart grow fonder!)

2) less chance of injury
- repetitive strain injuries are getting more and more common in kids due to the early specialization of kids in sport. 10 year olds with knee problems is the last thing any parent or coach wants to to be the cause of. Other sports require similar muscles but with different movements and can strengthened the supporting joints and muscles that are essential for injury prevention but may not be trained in hockey.

3) cross -sport similarities
- this should be obvious with hand eye coordination leading the way. Also think of how basketball and soccer play development is similar to hockey. Quick first step in track and baseball ......the list goes on and on.

4) being a well rounded person
- hockey is a sport that has its own culture, as do other sports. Nobody likes one dimensional people. I should know, I work in the computer/it field

In conclusion, be an athlete first then a hockey player later. 10,000 hours to developing world class skill is a lot easier when you have variety the contributes to multiple sports rather than only one is the way to go. Sidney Crosby and Steve Stamkos are pretty good baseball players, so don't think they did only hockey every waking hour because they did not. They are humans, not robots and should he trained and treated accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. Minor quibble, Helton is and has always been a Rockie not an Astro.

    In total agreement on the multi-sport athlete though.