16 Apr Tyke to Novice
So your son is making the jump from Tyke to Novice… these are the last of the “fun” years so you better enjoy them. They go by pretty quick too! As a parent you gotta make sure that they continue to have fun too, which is why we took the time to pick 5 things we feel will be the difference between success and failure as a player transitions from tyke to novice!
When going from tyke to novice hockey, every parent must be aware that:
1) Imperfect practice makes perfect: Falling down and being covered in snow at the end of practice is nothing to be embarrassed about. It is not a sign of genetic weakness at all! It means your son or daughter is pushing their bodies to try new things that the body is not equipped to do. In return the body will respond by creating new physiological and neurological pathways to support the new movements being suggested by
the brain. Making good mistakes should be the focus of every practice and parents and players should be aware of the importance of them in improving. They say milk does a body good… so do mistakes!
2) Content is more important than frequency: A parent of a selectplayer once told me “Hockey is a disease”; he wasn’t far off. Like a disease, parents can easily lose not only control, but also their focus on making good decisions. When the thought pattern goes from what has been working, to keeping up with the Jonses, you know you are heading in the right direction. The key is not running around to every power skater your neighbor says is the greatest (remember, a lot of these people are sub-contracting to recruit players in order for their child to skate for free). What is good for your neighbors kid, might not be good for yours. Find yourself a coach that your son or daughter responds to and start out slow within your budget and go from there! Focus on Technique, and have the coach emphasize the importance of heads up hockey skills for safety down the road. More is not always better… content, content, content!
3) Body language is everything: how a player carries themselves always goes further than how many goals they have. Missing a net will never reflect your parenting, but dropping swear words in the change room, or talking back to a coach will! I have been in so many dressing rooms and seen young players snap back at parents, use profanities and pout/whine when things don’r go their way. Parents need to realize that word gets around and sometimes the reputations that develop last from Tyke to Midget! Parents spend so much time and money on skill development and skating around pylons… spend more time on behavior and manners.
4) Backwards Skating proficiency is the biggest try-out tie breaker– Parents spend a lot of money in pre-tryout camp in a last minute attempt to try to ramp up their chances of getting to the next level! These camps are full of well choreographed pylon drills that really get the heart rate up! What most Tyke to Novice parents don’t realize is all they need to do is spend a few quality hours working on backward skating to really stand out from the crowd. In a tyke or novice tryout, backward crossovers pretty much guarantee you a spot on most teams and that’s a fact!
5) A player that drives wide with the puck is rare– Most players carrying the puck as they transition from tyke to novice seem magnetized by the defenseman. No matter where they are, they carry it right at the defenseman as if there is some genetic hard-wired need to toe-drag! A player that drives hard wide and is an expert at getting behind the D is a shoe in on my roster for sure! It’s one of those things “you just can’t teach!”