Summer Training for Nine Year Olds- Repost

I originally posted this last spring but wanted to re-post it as we move into the summer. With the new Facebook and Twitter feeds I think it will get a lot more views.

Q- I need to put together a summer plan for my 9 yr old hockey team. Obviously I don’t want to look like a crazy person, but it would be something that I think could be good for my own kids as well. Is it too young?

My first reaction was to say “are you crazy”? Instead, slightly  tongue-in-cheek I developed the plan below.

Step 1- play another sport. Lacrosse is highly recommended as it has similar skills to hockey although baseball is fine. This does not mean another sport in addition to hockey. Summer is the off season.

Step 2- Cancel all hockey camp registrations except 1 week. Pick your favorite that has the largest number of your friends attending and go to that one. Ideally look for a camp that only has you on the ice once a day. No need to get blisters. You won’t get better in a week anyway.

Step 3- Cancel any summer hockey leagues you are scheduled for. The best players in the world never play summer hockey and, they never have. The only conceivable exception would be a weekly skill session lasting one hour. Another exception would be “play”. If ice is available and the kids can play, let them. Please remember play means NO COACHES or COACHING.

Step 4- Reread steps 1-3. Acknowledge that the key problem in youth sports is applying adult values to children’s activities.

Step 5- Go to the nearest bike shop. Get nice bikes for everyone in the family

Step 6- Ride the bikes, not in a race. For fun. Maybe put a few hockey cards in the spokes to make noise.

Step 7- Head to Walmart and buy fishing rods.

Step 8- Take the fishing rods to the nearest lake and fish.

Now That is an off-season plan for any nine year old.

Step 9- repeat steps 5-8 while continually rereading steps 1-3


10 Responses to “Summer Training for Nine Year Olds- Repost”

  1. mboyle1959 Says:

    Sounds like we should agree to disagree. Let me know how it turns out.

  2. excited about life Says:

    Im not sure I agree totally with your assesment. Yes a break and other sports are needed and I totally agree that an hour or two a week feels right to work on skill development. I also agree with less competition over the summer. Where you lose me is when no practice or training to become an overall better athlete and a lifelong fitness and hard work habit should be formed as early as possible. I cannot speak for everyone but I believe heavily that ATHLETE CREATION is not just sport specific. We rock climb all year to train. We do plyo, punching bags, agility soccer type drills and play catch which is great fun for both of us. I tell my son we have fun but we do what we do with purpose and focus. Persistance and determination trump are omnipotent. Genius talent and education alone are not enough to be successful in life and in hockey. Training must occur early to develop habits. 5 min a day is required to play ps3 at our house. And the more involved dad or mom is the better your relationship can be. Its not a demand just activities we enjoy. Fishing will not make anyone a better athlete. Although we mildy differ I appreciated your comments and opinions. Opportunities only come to those prepared to succeed in life and we never know when those may come about. So training to train is as important skill to learn as anything else. If it were so easy everyone would do it, thats what makes you special.

  3. […] Make sure he is playing a different sport in the summer – here is another article by Mike Boyle (I might have sent it to you before) – […]

  4. […] Mike Boyle is one of the few coaches that really seems to appreciate the holistic approach to coaching has a retort to anyone trying to make a kid a specialist in a single sport. Hint: It won’t work. Summer Training for Nine Year Olds. […]

  5. […] om ni vill att era unga spelare skall utvecklas maximalt under sommaren. Läs och börja träna: Share this:TwitterFacebookGillaGillaBe the first to like this. Det här inlägget postades i […]

  6. Step 6 is the best.

  7. John lane Says:

    Mike….loved this as this is just the way we grew up as a kid at that age! There is so much pressure put on kids today to play all year round and only one sport. Most of the best athletes in sports played 2-3 different sports that when they achieved a high level at the high school level there was on a select few who even make it to play one of those sports on scholarship at collegiate level. Love your blogs!

  8. You sure did come up with great strategies on this one Michael. I like how you came up with sound solutions that best fit a 9 year old kid to do. Thanks for sharing this article.

    I always look forward to reading your blogs.

    Rick Kaselj
    Exercises For Injuries

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