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After your season…find a sport that gets you off the ice and on to a field like Lax. If your a nut and need your kid on the ice, I suggest just once a week (skating). Once the Spring season is over than no more than 2 on ice sessions a week until mid July. Than back to the game! Kid won’t miss a beat and will not be behind his birth year. If you sprinkle tournaments to this approach, keep it to the minimum. No more than 3 for the off-season, but 2 is the right number. You can thank me later fool’s!!
What age group are you worried about falling behind in the youth hockey rant! Really
If your kid is hunting you down in the middle of the night after the season to skate more or play tournaments, then let him. If he is stick handling in the garage without you asking(telling) him to. It a sign that more hockey is ok. If he is running hills and watching hockey training videos on his own in the summer, then ok more hockey. If you think he should be playing more tournaments and he is not leading the charge.... then step back bc you are acting ridiculous!!
Its ok for an 8-15 year old kid to act ridiculous. That is the age. If they have the heart and drive then let them pursue. It is your job to keep them safe and healthy. If you think they are skating too much take them to the ocean to play in the waves and tell them it will help with their balance on ice and in contact. Let them join a gym that focusses on agility for their age group. Both will help minimize the instance of possible injury.
remember this.... at this age and through maybe 18. Injuries happen. They just do sometimes. Its not due to overuse or too much time skating. The kids don't have enough ice time for that!! The kids whose parents tell you that there Bender got injured from too much time on the ice are lying to you. Their kid was forced to skate or train hockey too much by the parent and the kid wants to quit and is looking for a way out.
Off season is for Baseball, Football, god help us all the terrible sport of Lacrosse, teaching hockey players bad habits since its inception, terrible sport!
Off season is for a tournament or two for fun, for a great hockey camp, or other sport camp, or camp with a campfire.
Nothing you do now (under the age of 13) will prepare your kid for hitting, and then the whole game changes. Tons of injuries come into play. So does luck and skill and size and strength. 3 out of 4 can be achieved in ages 13-15 through commitment to improving their skill, size and strength. So they can still become a pretty good hockey player at 16.
Remember if you 14 year old is on the Varsity team. The team is pretty bad. And your Bender is going to get targeted by the 18 year old goons and he is going to get injured. Maybe badly. So develop, but don't rush them, let them have fun and love the game!