Hockey is the fastest team sport on earth which opens the door to a skill set that is matched by no other. No other team sport requires such a variety of physical and mental skills but allows room for creativity. The mastery of these skills takes talent, years of hard work and determination. To become a successful player at the high school level takes a genuine love for the game, the willingness to work and practice, the drive to be the very best and the strong desire to play the game at a higher level.
Youth hockey is all about giving kids the opportunity to enjoy the game and learn the skills necessary in order to climb the ladder of progression. Each level provides a new experience. To master hockey skills at the older levels, players must learn the basic skills in the younger years.
Hockey is a challenging sport for an athlete, with that being said, hockey rewards its athletes with enjoyment. It is also the most fun sport on the face of the earth. This is why most kids start playing in the first place. As kids grow and progress hopefully the fun and love of the game sticks with them.
However, as kids grow in age and move up the ladder, the complexity of the game changes. Hockey becomes more competitive, more physical and much faster. For some players, the new challenges the game has to offer is enough to motivate them to continue their training and their love for the game also continues. However, not everyone adjusts to the games changes. Some players chose not to continue to play. It is important to remember that no one is to blame and this is the normal progression that occurs in athletics.
VAHA wants to attract and retain as many youngsters as possible. It is also important to remember that not everyone that starts playing at the youth level will end up at the high school level. This is common in every sport and in every community.
USA Hockey, the national amateur hockey governing body, recommends sportsmanship, enjoyment, recreation and competition as the major focal points for youth hockey. Hockey skill progressions encourage an environment in which youth players can learn basic skills, master them and have fun while developing life skills, personal wellness and a life long interest in hockey.
Mastering hockey skills will not be done by practicing just a few hours a week. As time passes, the most skilled players are usually those who have put in hours of extra time and effort. This means they skate, practice, and play hard during structured practice and games as well as at the outdoor and back rinks. There is no shortcut to improving hockey skills. Improvement and the mastery of skills is an ongoing process and is dependent upon an athlete's ability, desire, competitive nature and love for the game.
As hockey parents, encourage your child to practice and play hard. Support their effort and praise their hard work and commitment. As hockey parents, get involved with the program however it fits your life.
Provide the opportunity for your child to play but do not force the game on them. While your child is participating in youth hockey, be supportive and constructive. Nothing constructive can be achieved by being negative.
Remember the words of a great coach and a
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
Head Hockey Coach
"Go Blue Devils"