A few weeks ago Mike Boyle posted a blog and sent out an email about a question he had received regarding summer strength and conditioning for 9 year olds. I liked his response so much that I asked, and he has graciously granted me, permission to repost it below. Mike is one of my favorite people, and one of the brightest minds, in the strength and conditioning world. He is a voice of reason when so many people who work with kids are in it for the money. Please take a moment and check it out.
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
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
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
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
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