Q: My Club is currently taking sign-ups for a summer travel team at 8U. Our schedule conflicts with other sports and family time. Our child enjoys playing other sports as well; do you have any suggestions or recommendations?
A: How about Relax-Reflect-Reset?
Take time to reflect on last season, hopefully it was enjoyable for all. Even an NHL player will take time off from the game. As long as your child is active, has fun and participates in other sports, they are continuing down the right development path. You have to ask yourself, ‘What is the purpose of participating in the first place?’ Hopefully fun is a central part of the answer. And making new friends; learning teamwork and sportsmanship; competition; and living an active healthy lifestyle are other good reasons for playing sports. These are just a few of the characteristics that contribute to “physical literacy” and human development. We can all agree that youth sports can positively contribute to becoming a confident and a resilient person in today’s environment. The American Development Model, which we introduced just more than 10 years ago, promotes multi-sport participation (especially at 8U) and discusses proper periodization and late specialization. Please understand this is a marathon, not a sprint. Although each athlete is an experiment in one, patience in development will pay dividends in the end. Keeping players fresh is another key component to development. When you have the feeling that you are getting too much of something, it may be a great time to take a break. When in doubt, refer to common sense. For more information and understanding on age appropriate long-term athlete development I’d encourage you to visit ADMkids.com.
The author, Guy "Goose" Gosselin, made his NHL debut with Winnipeg in 1988. He is a two-time United States Olympian and was inducted into the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.