Become a Better Hockey Player… Play More Soccer?
Hockey is not just a sport in Canada; it is a part of our culture. Many young Canadian children aspire to be the next “great one” of the sport and many parents support this dream by enrolling their child(ren) in their local community hockey program and then often supplement with more hockey in the spring and summer months to ensure they are getting the best chance to become an excellent hockey player. What if I told you that playing less hockey and participating in other activities and sports can actually have a greater effect on performance in hockey than… more hockey?
The truth is that although there are some sports (i.e. gymnastics) that require early specialization, most sports don’t. Before the age of 12, children should still be participating in a variety of different activities and sports. This helps them develop a large range of Fundamental Movement Skills that will help them to be competent and confident movers, which can translate to lifelong physical activity participation. Most of today’s elite athletes did not specialize in their sports until after the age of 12! The reality is that only a very small percentage of children will reach elite status within a sport so exposing them to a variety of sports and activities will increase their chances of them finding some activities that they enjoy doing and that they can continue to enjoy throughout their lives.
Visit www.canadiansportforlife.ca to learn about the Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development Model.
Tara Chisholm is the Wellness Programmer for the Medicine Hat College Be Fit For Life Centre