Q: Are winter warriors made in the summer heat?
A: Absolutely, but maybe not in the way you think. NHL, Olympic, and college hockey players take weeks and months away from the rink during the summer. Players of all ages need time to recharge their batteries. Whether it’s for relief of mental fatigue from the hockey season, or to provide respite for certain muscle groups that are overused by playing a specific sport, players of all ages and levels must step away from the rink and participate in other activities to stay at their best.
If you want to become a better hockey player, you need to become a better athlete first. Athletes at the 8U level are in the sampling phase of their player development process. Physically, this means they need to be involved in many different activities. From traditional sports such as tennis, soccer, baseball, and basketball to non-traditional sports such as lacrosse, skateboarding, rock climbing, and swimming, athletes at this age need to learn how to control their bodies in every possible element. Mentally, allowing kids to sample other sports allows them the opportunity to find what they enjoy and have fun playing.
There is nothing wrong with allowing your son or daughter to attend a summer hockey camp, if they are excited about participating or if a group of friends are playing. After the camp, have your player hang up the skates and be a kid, not a professional athlete.
Or actually, in this case, encourage them to be like a professional athlete and get away from the rink. Let them recharge their hockey batteries and hockey muscles. Your son or daughter will be more excited to get back on the ice in the fall and he or she will be a better athlete; one who is more prepared for future success in the game of hockey.