Archive for Youth Sports

So You Want to Play in the NHL

Posted in Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , , on October 15, 2013 by mboyle1959

The above headline is actually a book title. It is also a must read if you have a child that plays hockey, male or female. The book is not about making the NHL but rather about developing a well rounded child while enjoying the experience. Written by Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Dan Byslma and his father Jay, this is great bed time reading for both you and your child. Pick up a copy, you’ll either write in to thank me or, thank me next time we meet.

So You Want To Play in the NHL?



Another Vote Against Year Round Hockey

Posted in Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on March 6, 2013 by mboyle1959

High school season is over and my daughter is signed up for town soccer. Are you looking at spring and summer teams? Read this:

For summer think 1-2 weeks of camp and 1-2 tournaments, that’s it. And that is only if you have a kid like mine who is begging to play every week. This is more of a compromise than I want to make but, I can live with it.

PS-Thanks to Jim Setters of the German National Federation for forwarding this.

Small Sided Games are Great Practice

Posted in Strength Coach Podcast, Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , , on December 18, 2012 by mboyle1959

I tweeted this two days ago

“playing lots of games without practicing is like taking lots of tests without studying.”

This led to a Facebook discussion about practice quality. As adults we think that practice must be boring and repetitive and at times it must, but for kids, small sided games ( think 3 on 3) may be the best practice ever. Check out these stats.

Dr Rick Fernoglio, a lecturer in Exercise Science at Manchester Metropolitan University, compared the experience of young soccer players during eight-a-side games and SSGs (4v4).

He found that the players in 4v4:

  • Made 135% more passes.
  • Took 260% more shots.
  • Scored 500% more goals.
  • Experienced 225% more 1v1s.
  • Did 280% more tricks, turns, and moves.

(published in Success in Soccer, March 2004)

Remember these numbers the next time you’re tempted to allow a “mass scrimmage” at the end of one of your coaching sessions.

Here’s more support for small games. Many of you reading need to think hockey when you watch. I can’t believe we are still debating cross ice Buzzer hockey. It was the best thing my son has ever done. Parents should have no input. They have no idea what they are talking about when they want 7-8 year olds playing fullice.

Every Hockey Parent Should Read This

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , on September 21, 2012 by mboyle1959

If you haven’t done at least five of these I’ll eat my hat. My daughter told one of her friends at a U-12 game a few years ago that she has to play harder if the games are far away because she doesn’t want to listen to me on long rides home.

Lessons from Inside Out Coaching

Posted in MBSC News, Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , , , , on August 27, 2012 by mboyle1959

If you coach athletes, you absolutely have to read Inside Out Coaching. We just spent over $300 on twenty copies for our entire staff and I’ll tell you it will be worth it. The insight we gain as a staff will pay that money back many times over.  Author Joe Ehrmann is an ex-NFL player who teaches and preaches what he calls Transformational Coaching. The book is filled with great lines like “sports don’t build character unless a coach possesses character and intentionally teaches it“. That was on page 13. Over the next week we’ll explore more gems from Inside Out Coaching.

A Thought Provoking Video About Youth Sports

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , , on March 21, 2012 by mboyle1959

I just got this video in my email. Take a minute and watch it.

More Evidence Against Early Specialization

Posted in Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , , on March 20, 2012 by mboyle1959

If you regularly read this blog you know how I feel kids specializing in one sport too early. I continue to search out the best athletes and find their stories. I can tell you that it is rare that I find a professional athlete who says “my parents pushed me to choose one sport and that is why I am here today”. This is a great read on Jacoby Ellsbury and is more evidence that great athletes are mutli-sport athletes first.

The Genius in All of Us

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Youth Training with tags , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by mboyle1959

David Schenk’s The Genius in All of Us may be the best of the “success” books. I have spent parts of the last 12 months reading Outliers , Talent Code, Talent is Overrated   and finally Genius in All of Us.

The interesting thing about my year-long study of success is that all roads have led to the same place. The conclusion of all of these works points to one word. Passion. All of these books debunk the myth of giftedness and genetic talent. The evidence is clear that as Geoff Colvin wrote talent is overrated. I must admit to being skeptical but after approximately one thousand pages I now understand.

I have read so much on the topic that I might accidentally plagiarize.  I will try not to. Passion is the special sauce the makes the succeeder. Succeeder is not even a word but it defines the successful person.

The message of all these authors is nearly identical in the final analysis. You can’t create passion but, you may ignite in it in your child by creating the correct environment.  From a parental standpoint passion can be nurtured but not forced. Passion is almost fleeting, ephemeral. Some have it, some don’t. Maybe it exists on a bell shaped curve, I do not know for sure. I only know that it is the common theme of all these books, the thread that ties all these success tomes together.

The other theme that arises in all books in one way or another is Anders Ericson’s concept of deliberate practice. Not just practice but, deliberate practice. The passionate seem to be able to perform deliberate practice or as it is alternately referred to deep practice.  Schenk describes deliberate practice as “not inherently enjoyable’ and as “not the repetition of already attained skills but repeated attempts to reach beyond ones current level”. Schenk goes on to note that these attempts are “associated with frequent failure”. (P 55)

The other concept that appears in all of these works is the ten thousand hour concept. The idea is that mastery of an area will take ten thousand hours of this previously-mentioned deliberate practice. Schenk makes a point to note that “surfing the net is not deliberate practice”. It is important to state that ten thousand hours is equal to three hours a day for more than ten years. The concept might explain why so many of us seem to arrive on the strength and conditioning scene in our forties. The reality is that ten thousand hours may take twenty years to accumulate. Even more significant is that ten thousand hours is not a guarantee of success, only a common thread. (P57)

Shenk also goes on to say that ‘finding ones true natural limit in any field takes many years and many thousands of hours of intense pursuit”. (P 58) He makes us realize how few of us have explored our true limits as coaches or as athletes. In fact, many athletic careers may not last long enough for mastery.

The lesson is sports, particularly for youth sport parents is go to practice. Practice, at least good practice, has the capacity to make change. Games on the other hand allow for too little exposure to the vital skills needed to succeed.

All page references above are from Genius in All of Us.


Finally a Legal Precedent- Crazy Parents Beware

Posted in Guest Authors, Media, Random Thoughts, Training, Youth Training with tags on March 18, 2010 by mboyle1959

One of my readers Laura McNally supplied this. Hopefully some father who has kids playing in tournaments every weekend in Canada will be next.

Children’s ‘Exhausting’ Schedule Leads to Loss of Father’s Custody Rights
Vesselin Mitev

New York Law Journal
March 17, 2010

The father of two Long Island junior tennis prospects has been stripped of custody by a New York state judge who found their rigorous training schedule to be “overly burdensome, exhausting and completely unacceptable.”

The Cavallero brothers — Giancarlo, 10, and Jordy, 5 — were required to leave school early to spend six hours a day at tennis practice and play tournaments on the weekends. Giancarlo, with five junior tournament wins before turning 10, was likened to a young Andre Agassi in a 2007Daily News article.

But in a ruling last week, Acting Supreme Court Justice Norman St. George of Nassau County found the “grueling” training regimen had left the children “constantly tired, regularly late to school … and their tennis appears to be negatively impacted.”

After a four-day custody trial, the judge awarded sole custody to the children’s mother, Maria Pena, and ordered the father, George Cavallero, to undergo anger management counseling.

The case is Cavallaro v. Pena (pdf), V-00390-09.