Burnout and Other Concerns for Young Hockey Players

Here is an excerpt from an August 26, 2008 Globe and Mail article by Tralee Pearce where she discusses the burnout factor in sports.

Until last week, Oakville, Ont. hockey player Stefan Legein was a poster boy for youth hockey. After star turns with the Canadian junior team and a stint with the Ontario Hockey League, he was drafted in the second round by the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets last year.

But last week, when the 19-year-old decided to call it quits on the eve of training camp, many observers wondered if youth hockey’s gruelling expectations might be to blame.

“Not getting a break from that high-pressure environment can lead to burnout,” says Scott Oakman, the executive director of the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

Coaches and sports administrators admit that the relentless pace exacts a price. “There’s been a big shift in philosophy. There’s much more year-round hockey taking place,” Mr. Oakman says. “That certainly lends itself to kids dropping out of the game earlier than historically they would have. They might be getting a lifetime’s worth of hockey in a shorter period of time.”

There’s no research to suggest that young kids who love their sport will risk burnout, says Joe Baker, an associate professor of kinesiology and sports health at York University. But with so much at stake, it’s no wonder some kids don’t speak up about not enjoying it…

Beyond the mental strain, there are also growing reports of injuries due to intense training in single sports in the past five years, according to Tony Reynolds of the U.S. International Youth Conditioning Association, which provides youth-specific training programs to coaches.

In sports such as hockey in which players are dominant on their left or right side, lower back and shoulder injuries are cropping up at younger ages. “It’s going to get worse,” he says. (Mr. Legein suffered a separated shoulder in a Christmas World Junior game last year.)…

In his 20-year experience, youth hockey coach Ron Sticklee says he has observed that it’s more often the parents with NHL stars in their eyes.

But even if a child is mentally and physically prepared for a hectic sports schedule, new research suggests throwing a kid’s sports eggs in one basket can make him a worse, not better, player. York’s Prof. Baker has been collecting data on athletes considered the “best of the best.”

“Some of the data we have shows they spent a lot more time playing at their sport in an unorganized way,” he says. Fewer rules and drills appears to promote a flexibility in the way kids think about problems on the court or rink.

From my experience more players that make it to the pro level truly have fun playing and competing. And, their parents understanding the importance of fun for the athlete. Rarely did the parent or athlete have an NHL-or-bust attitude.

Click on Article below to get the full story from The Globe and Mail.

Coaching Hockey For Dummies

Coaching Hockey For Dummies (For Dummies (Sports & Hobbies))

Let me be honest about one of the reasons I like this book so much. I am one of the authors. My co-author, and the brains behind the book, is Gail Reynolds. We are very proud of how Coaching Hockey For Dummies turned out. It is a user friendly and fun way for coaches, players, parents, and fans to learn more about coaching hockey, and learn more about the game of ice hockey in general.

Here are some of the reasons why you will like this book.

Coaches will be able to get information on all the topics they will encounter over the course of a season. There will be tips on big picture areas like yearly planning and goal setting, along with daily concerns like practice planning and designing drills for skill development.

Players will be able to gain insight on team play and how to improve individual skills. Now you can be sure, as a player, to be on the same page as your coaching staff.

Parents can browse through Coaching Hockey For Dummies to better understand what the coach is trying to accomplish during practice sessions and games. And, parents may possibly see skills, and areas of the game, that little Johnny or Janie need to work on.

Fans have the ability to gain a more complete understanding of the game by reading Coaching Hockey For Dummies. Areas like the power play and penalty killing strategies are addressed in the book. Now, as a fan, you can better enjoy the game after reading about how these special teams work. Click on the link above on this page for your copy of Coaching Hockey for Dummies, and start enjoying hockey, and hockey coaching, at a whole new level.

Here is the Contents at a Glance:

Introduction 1
Part I: The Puck Drops Here: Coaching Hockey 101 7
Chapter 1: Jumping in with Both Skates 9

Chapter 2: Knowing the Basics of the Game 19

Chapter 3: Getting Organized: Your Keys to Success 47

Chapter 4: Running Great Practices 69

Chapter 5: Game On! 81

Part II: Coaching Beginners 93

Chapter 6: Teaching Fundamental Skills 95

Chapter 7: Drills for Beginners 123

Chapter 8: Basic Coaching Strategies 139

Part III: Coaching Intermediate Players 145

Chapter 9: Teaching the Finer Skills 147

Chapter 10: Coaching Offense to Intermediate Players 167

Chapter 11: Coaching Defense to Intermediate Players 175

Chapter 12: Teaching Goaltending Basics 185

Chapter 13: Drills for Intermediate Players 199

Chapter 14: Refining Your Coaching Strategies 225

Part IV: Coaching Advanced Players 233

Chapter 15: Teaching Advanced Skills 235

Chapter 16: Coaching Offense to Advanced Players 245

Chapter 17: Coaching Defense to Advanced Players 255

Chapter 18: Special Teams 263

Chapter 19: Drills for Advanced players 275

Chapter 20: Further Refining Your Coaching Strategies 297

Part V: Common Coaching Conundrums 307

Chapter 21: Keeping Your Team Healthy and Injury Free 309

Chapter 22: Coping With Challenges 319

Part VI: The Part of Tens 329

Chapter 23: Ten Parts of a Great Practice 331

Chapter 24: Ten Things to Ask Yourself Midway Through the Season 335

Chapter 25: Ten Things You Want Kids to Say About Their Hockey Experience 339

Index 343