Whether your kid has been playing hockey for plenty of years or they’re just starting their journey, it’s a good idea to gauge how well they’re doing. When they’re doing good, they’ll be able to enjoy the experience and build on their skills. If you’re wondering how well your child is doing, you’re in the right place.
You can tell if your kid is good at hockey if they are good at puck handling, sharp turns, acceleration, and hand-eye coordination. Another invaluable trait is teamwork; Your kid should work well with teammates since hockey is all about passing and assistance. These are the fundamentals to look out for.
Throughout this article, you’ll learn the following information about how you can tell if your kid is good at hockey:
- Different signs to look for and how they can make improvements
- Skills, enjoyment, and other traits to follow
- How you can help your kid overcome common beginner mistakes
Are you worried about your kid making the high school team when they’re older? Maybe you’re just trying to make sure that they’re having a good time. Either way, their ability to play well is dictated by a variety of factors. If you’re looking for signs that your kid is good at playing hockey, then you’ll enjoy what’s in-store today.
Here are five things to keep an eye out for:
- How fast can they accelerate and keep up with the pace of the game? It’s no secret that hockey has a fast pace. Professionals can cruise quickly enough to make it across the rink in a matter of seconds. If your kid can keep up, they can shoot, score, pass and keep the game in their favour.
- Are they able to handle the puck while skating? Puck handling is undeniably one of the most valuable skills of the sport. If your kid isn’t able to move the puck, they’ll have serious problems down the road.
- Can they shoot on all holes of the goalie’s net? There are five holes on each goalie net; Your kid needs to learn where they are and how to target them. There are plenty of ways for them to practice, but an inability to shoot at all five holes will make it difficult for them to score in a game.
- Do they have a strong, accurate passing game? Passing is obviously very important. Everyone wants to be the one that scores, but it’s unrealistic to assume that your kid will always be in a scoring position. If they’re able to make quick passes, they can assist their team in scoring a goal.
- Do they communicate with their teammates often? Communication on and off the rink is essential. In the pros, lack of chemistry is a major downfall for any team. Your kid needs to be able to talk to their teammates to figure out when to pass, make hand signals, and other skills.
These traits are incredibly valuable to hockey players of all ages. Even if your kid is just beginning, they need to be able to master these skills to have a chance to make the team. As they get older, they’ll learn that hockey depends more on these traits.
Don’t be stressed if they’re not performing up to your expectations, though. MA Hockey points out that a lot of kids don’t show their potential until they’re in their teens.
If you want to learn how you can help them get better, follow the suggestions in the next section.
Now that you know where your kid needs to get better to make the team, it’s time to find out what improvements they can make. While it’s up to their coach to make improvements on the ice, you can help them with at-home drills and tutorials. There’s plenty that you can do to elevate their skills to the next level.
Follow these suggestions to improve your kid’s play style on the ice:
- Have them run an agility race through cones. Set up cones around the ice for them to skate between. The closer the cones are, the harder it’ll be for your kid to make it through. If you don’t have access to the rink when they’re not at practice, consider buying them a pair of rollerblades.
- Practice passing while moving, even if it’s on grass or asphalt. Passing is a massive part of hockey, so it’s crucial that your kid knows how to master their timing and speed. You can use a tennis ball and a hockey stick on asphalt if you’re not able to use the ice rink as often.
- Hang targets on all five holes of the goalie net. Every net has five holes that your kid should know how to shoot. As the goalie moves around, different holes are going to open up. Once your kid masters the ability to shoot at all of them, they’ll find more opportunities in every game.
- Have them practice one-on-one matches. Whether it’s against you or a teammate, one-on-one games will improve your kid’s ability to play against opponents. It’s easy to practice all of the skills mentioned earlier, but if they’re not able to perform in an in-game scenario, these sessions will prove to be helpful.
These simple tips will allow your kid to get better at playing hockey. There are also countless drills that they can try to get better at agility, passing, shooting, and more. Remember that they can’t spread themselves trying to learn a million skills at once. Try one of the suggestions and move onto the next when they feel comfortable.
Although it’s easy to get lost in the idea of your kid being the best player on the team, it’s vital that they’re having a good time. Their skills won’t improve if they’re bored or uninterested, so you should watch how they interact with their teammates. Consider the following to know if your kid is meant for hockey:
Minnesota Hockey explains that your kid should have a fun time if you want them to play well. Their performance will significantly improve if you’re able to show them how to have a good time. Note that hockey isn’t for everyone, so you should keep an eye out to see if they’re going to enjoy what they’re doing.
Some kids are good at the sport, but they’re not coachable. It’s essential to make sure that your kid is willing to learn from their mistakes, which includes listening to their coach and making the necessary corrections. Try showing them what they’re supposed to do while they’re at home so you can enforce the coach’s authority on and off the ice.
Unfortunately, anyone who plays sports will eventually have to deal with a loss. Hockey players know that it’s part of the game, but that doesn’t mean that everyone handles it correctly. Nobody likes a sore loser, so make sure they’re not throwing tantrums or blaming their teammates. Building chemistry requires taking the loss.
As you can see, there’s far more to the sport than skills. Enjoyment and entertainment are essential if you want your kid to get better. If they’re not having a good time or they’re not able to receive constructive criticism, then those issues should be tackled.
Have you been searching to find out what position your kid should play? Everyone has unique skills, so in the next section, we’ll break down how you can know where they belong on the ice.
If your kid is having trouble on the ice, it might not be because they’re bad at hockey. Instead, they could be meant for another position. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to find out which position your kid will excel at.
There are countless variations of hockey positions, but three primary positions include:
The job of a goalie is to stand in front of the net and prevent the opponents from scoring a goal. Goalies need to be flexible, quick-acting, and tough under pressure. If your kid meets these requirements, then they might be a good goalie. It’s one of the most challenging positions in sports, so make sure they’re ready to handle the workload.
A forward is an aggressor that pushes toward the goalie and the net. If your kid is good at passing and shooting quickly, then they might be a good forward. Note that a forward also needs to be able to skate quickly, which means that they have one of the most exhausting jobs at the rink.
Finally, the defenceman can be seen as an extension of the goalie. They move around in the back of the ice, ensuring that they can intercept the puck and get it to their forward. Your kid might not score as many goals as a forward, but they can have a massive influence on the outcome of the game.
Are you concerned about their performance? Is your kid not getting any better at playing hockey? If you’re noticing any of these issues, then you shouldn’t worry; It can take many years for a hockey player to reach their full potential. Just because they’re not doing too good right now doesn’t mean they can’t be exceptional in the future.
It usually takes at least a few months for anyone to understand the basics of playing hockey. Unlike most sports that are played on a smooth surface, hockey is a bit too slippery for people to get comfortable right away.
If you’re wondering how long they’ll take to become experts, then you’ll have to stay patient for a few years. Puck handling and passing are the beginning of it all, and those take months or years to master. However, they don’t need to be experts to make it on a high school team or have a good time.
A lot of professional players weren’t considered decent until late into their high school hockey career. If your kid isn’t performing like an all-star, they probably just need a few more months of practice. Try to keep hockey as a fun sport, not a test or chore that has to be completed. If you’re looking for ways to make hockey more fun, read on.
Hockey should be a fun sport that evolves into something more, not a tedious, forced activity. However, there’s no doubt that you can make hockey more exciting for your kid. With the tips and tricks found below, your kid will look forward to every practice and get even more ready for every game.
- Compliment and reward them for good plays. Kids love attention, especially when it comes from their parents. Make sure you show appreciation for every play made, even when it’s at practice.
- Create a community with the team. Everyone should be friends, including the parents. This change will make your kid excited to get to practice. On top of that, it’ll improve their chemistry with the team and make them work better together.
- Practice with them when you’re both at home. This suggestion will make them feel comfortable when they’re on the ice. They won’t think of hockey as an intimidating task as much as a fun game that they play at their house. Try some of the previously mentioned improvement exercises to keep them on their toes.
Learning how to play hockey comes with a plethora of possible mistakes. Let your kid know that it’s more than likely that they’ll come across problems on the way. As long as they’re prepared to make mistakes, they’ll be able to relax and focus on making the needed improvements.
Here’s a list of mistakes that can be fixed:
- When their skates click, it causes them to trip. Clicking skates simply refers to the front or back of the blades of your skates clicking together. When they touch each other, they’ll fall over. This mistake is common among beginners, but it can be avoided by keeping their skates moving in and out as they move.
- Shooting or passing too hard can be an issue. When they shoot hard left and right, it’ll be too difficult for their teammates to catch the puck. Slap shooting can also be a problem if they’re missing too often. Hard passing typically reduces their accuracy, so try to have them slowly pass before they get too crazy.
- While this mistake isn’t their fault, it’s up to you to make sure that they’re comfortable in their gear. Getting the wrong skates, pads, helmet, or stick can result in weaker playing ability. Check if they’re comfortable moving around without the equipment being too loose or tight. They should have optimal mobility for turning and acceleration.
- ‘Tunnel vision’ happens in all sports. It’s the moment when the person with the puck doesn’t see anything other than the goal. They want to score to help their team, but they don’t think about looking around for opposing players. Unfortunately, having tunnel vision usually results in a failed play.
- On the other hand, some kids pass too much. They either don’t want the responsibility of scoring, or they’re not confident enough to take a shot. If you notice that your kid always passes the puck right before they’re at the net, then they might be a bit too timid. Thankfully, you can teach them to shoot when there’s an opening.
Overcoming minor mistakes will allow your kid to improve their learning capabilities and become a better hockey player.
Everyone gets better at their own rate. Your kid might need time and practice to reach their full potential, or they might already be excellent. It’s up to you to help them find out whether or not hockey is meant for them. By using the strategies found on this page, you’ll be able to tell if your kid is good at hockey.
Here’s a quick recap of the post:
- Do your best to help your kid learn what position they’re good at.
- Practice various drills, tutorials, and apps to allow your kid to improve their skills.
- Keep an eye out for their puck handling, stick adjustments, passing, shooting, and teamwork.
- Aside from their skills, your kid needs to be able to work well with a coach and their team.
- Your child should enjoy playing the game.
- Minnesota Hockey: Is Your Kid Talented?
- Active for Life: Parent expectations in hockey: How to tell if your child is having fun and learning skills
- The Hockey News: Want your kids to get better at hockey? Have them play less, experts say
- MA Hockey: What is My Child’s True Potential