Q: How often should an 8U player be going to the rink during the season?
A: This is a common question I hear when talking with parents and coaches of young athletes. The common theme is that they feel that their child truly loves hockey and wants to be at the rink 5-6 days a week. It's true most young players come prepackaged with a strong passion to play the game. The key is to protect and cocoon that passion so that the fire is still burning strong as they get into their teens. What happens way too often is that we feed that passion at an early age and unfortunately the product is burnout at a critical stage of a players development.
I feel strongly that two practices and one game a week is plenty for the young hockey player. Throw in a quality off ice program before or after one of those two practices a week and then it’s a perfect setup. Being patient with development is one of the hardest things for parents and coaches but you have to be really careful not to do too much too soon because we have seen way too many young players and parents burnout at the critical older ages.
Roger Grillo, has coached for more than 20 years at the high school and college levels. He spent 12 seasons as the head coach at Brown University and was a Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year finalist in 1997-98.
Tag(s): Q&A Articles