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10U: Nontraditional Training & Staying Active at Home

04/18/2020, 11:15am MDT
By Michael Rand

Helping kids burn off energy and stay active while options seem limited

If the lives of youth hockey players and parents used to be all about “go, go, go” and figuring out how to pump the brakes from time to time, the current situation is the complete opposite.

With the majority of states issuing stay-at-home directives in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of families suddenly have a lot more time – but also a lot more challenges when it comes to helping kids burn off energy and stay active while options seem limited.

So this month, I surveyed several USA Hockey American Development Model regional managers for recommendations on everything from stay-at-home activities to dealing with the mental and emotional challenges of suddenly being temporarily without hockey or any other organized sports.

If you’re the parent of a 10U player, here are some specific things to consider and try:

‘Training’ Comes in Many Forms

Team sports tend to be organized and training for them has a certain amount of structure built around it.

With options more limited, that structure might go out the window – and that’s fine.

“You don’t have to train in the traditional sense of the word,” said ADM regional manager Bob Mancini. “Have fun stickhandling a tennis ball, golf ball or lacrosse ball. Dribble a soccer ball with your feet and a golf ball with your stick.”

All of those things will work on hand-eye coordination, balance and agility.

ADM manager Joe Bonnett adds some other good social-distancing activities: “Play outside. Ride bikes, a ball and a wall, climb trees … even yardwork,” he said.

Let Kids Decompress and Have Space

Perhaps more importantly, recognize that different people are going to process this sudden change in different ways. The mental and emotional impact of our new temporary reality might not be known for a while, but for now Bonnett advises parents to give kids space to figure it out.

His advice has applications for all ages – even adults! – but could be particularly important for 10U players at a critical age of social and brain development.

“I also think it is okay to rest a bit. Truly take some time off, grow and maybe take up some new hobbies such as painting, reading, drawing, sculpting, casting a fishing pole, martial arts or boxing in the garage,” said Bonnett, noting there is a lot of pressure on social media during this crisis. “Chill out. Stay healthy, regroup and come back to an active lifestyle when ready. Let the kids figure some things out.”

More Resources

If you have the space and your 10U player wants to spend this time refining his or her game, there are some great options out there.

Here’s USA Hockey’s guide to weekly 10U off-ice training plans.

Here’s a good off-ice stickhandling and shooting drill for 10U players, one of many stickhandling drill videos available from USA Hockey. 

USA Hockey also puts out recommendations for off-ice drills by age group, and you can find good resources for 10U players here.

The Ladder Slalom works agility and balance. Row the Boat focuses on core and back. Start a competition with Telephone Wall Sits.

Whatever you do – or don’t do – should be accomplished with balance and grace in mind. You don’t have to be perfect (or even good) all the time. Staying active can take on many forms, your kids will let you know what’s appropriate.



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Tag(s): ADM Features