Q: My 10U player had a great hockey season and wants to play again in the fall. What should she do in the offseason to improve as a hockey player and get herself ready?
A: Pack up the hockey equipment and put it away for the summer.
Hopefully this suggestion sounds rational and refreshing to you and your family. At this age, it’s so important to soak up the summer and try different activities with your children.
The best offseason training plan for 10U players is simply to have them master the athletic ABCs, otherwise known as agility, balance, coordination and speed.
We hear a lot about the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete these days – and it’s all true. At this age, exposing your child to different activities will directly improve the cognitive and agility skills your child will need to succeed in hockey. The best thing you can do for their hockey development at 10U is encourage them to play different sports in the offseason. Doing so will enhance their all-around athleticism.
Invasion sports such as basketball, soccer and lacrosse not only train the important physical skills that transfer to hockey, but also the important cognitive skills such as reading and reacting, attacking and defending, and understanding the role of time and space.
Striking sports such as baseball and golf are also good sports to reinforce and refine the hand-eye coordination needed in hockey.
Life sports such as swimming, climbing, gymnastics and parkour teach skills that will last a lifetime and provide confidence to your child about what their body is capable of doing.
Sport sampling classes have recently become popular as well. These classes are great because they provide athletic opportunity during the day and expose your child to many different sports. Some sports may be unfamiliar to your child, but she might discover that she enjoys them.
Finally, I would highly recommend letting your child have a healthy dose of active play. Put away the tablets and screens and get your kid out in the yard or the parks. Climbing trees, playing with neighborhood children, kickball, tag and riding bikes or scooters are all part of building competent athletic bodies and life skills. Hopefully you have many balls of different sizes around your house. Children can make up games with them. Trampolines are also a good tool to build balance and coordination with children.
Encourage your child to sweat, be active, use different muscle groups and maybe even get some bumps and scrapes during the summer. It’s also OK to stop the ice cream truck once in a while and enjoy a sweet treat. By doing all of this, your hockey player will be happy, healthy, excited and ready for the upcoming 10U season – not to mention, you’ll notice her strength, athleticism and skating will be dramatically improved.
The author, Joe Bonnett, has more than 20 years of hockey coaching experience, including 18 seasons at the NCAA Division I level. Before entering the college ranks, he was a 12U and 16U coach in Michigan.
Tag(s): Q&A Articles