Archive for March 12, 2009

Should Kids Practice or Play- Look at the Evidence

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Uncategorized, Youth Training on March 12, 2009 by mboyle1959

I know one thing for sure, parents love watching games.  I’m a parent and I love to watch my daughter play. As a result one of the great challenges in youth sports is getting parents to understand the value of practice. This is not going to be a “practice-practice-practice” post. Instead, this is part of what I am calling The Evidence Based Approach. Check out this hockey example. The following stats were taken from I believe the 2002 World Cup and compares the ice time and possession time of three of the top players in the game. 

Name               Ice Time    Possession Time

Joe Sakic              15:25            1:19

Mike Modan0     19:47              :58

Tony Amonte      12:51              :46

The key stat is the possession time in bold. The best players in the world, in a sixty minute game, had possession of the puck for an average of under one minute. Now take this and equate it to a youth hockey game of 36 minutes instead of sixty. Possession time now drops down to thirty six seconds a game for the games best players. Over 50 games that comes out to only thirty minutes of puck possession.  Think your child can improve with thirty minutes of stickhandling per season. This can be easily obtained in three well designed practices. Next time your local youth hockey board asks you to vote on number of games, vote intelligently, not like a fan. If you want your child to improve, they need to have the puck on their stick.

If you are not a hockey parent, this still applies to you. These stats are going to be relatively similar in baseball, soccer and basketball. In any youth game there can only be one puck or one ball. In practice, you can have as many as you want.