Written by: Todd Drevitch of Hockey Techniques www.hockeytechniques.com or (908)453-2436
for travel hockey are one of the most frustrating and mentally exhausting times
for both parents and players. Most
"AAA" programs will start tryouts right after the Nationals in April.
They will be directly followed by "AA", "A", and
"B" tryouts or these other tryouts may be held in the summer or early
fall. Whatever region you live in,
all the organizations tend to schedule the tryouts at the same time during the
same days of the week. If your
child goes to the wrong tryout and gets cut, the other teams may have picked
their teams already. In addition to
this, if you get chosen for a team the organizations usually want you to put
money down on the spot and decide so that they do not lose you to another team. This just doesn't seem right for youth hockey children and
their parents. Every year, we at
Hockey Techniques get dozens of phone calls and emails about what our advice
would be. The following is an
overview of the tryout experience, and some of our thoughts on the process to
help you make a better decision.
Level should my child tryout at?
thought process for skill development is that the higher the level you practice
and play at, the more you will improve. This
holds true if there is capable coaching and adequate ice time for practices.
Ice time in games is obviously good too, however, it is possible to
improve more by getting less ice time at a higher level than a lot of ice time
at a slower and weaker level. It
comes down to skating at a particular speed and learning how to react to that
level. There are negatives though.
If you have a bad coach or little practice time, your child will not
develop as much as if he/she had skated with a lower level team and was a star.
Emotionally and mentally it can be difficult for a child to be on a
higher level team if it means sitting the bench and not feeling part of the team
when they win at tournaments etc. Confidence
on the ice can also be hurt if your child is consistently benched or yelled at
for making mistakes. Whereas,
getting a lot of ice time and being praised for being a good player can do
wonders for the ego.
do I tryout and what should I look for?
do you tryout? This is a big question especially when all the tryouts are at the
same time. If you can investigate
and find out the answers to these questions (in no particular order), you
probably will be able to make a wise decision.
position should my child tryout for?
the mite level none except skater versus goalie. Even then some programs will let the kids play both.
Until they get to a very old age like midget or bantam, there is no need
to specialize in one position. A
player that can play both offense and defense is much more versatile.
They have a better chance of making teams and getting more ice time
because of their value. For
example, I played forward my whole career until I was a senior in College.
At that time I switched to defense and played professionally as a
defenseman. I know of many players
that have switch positions or played both positions until they reach high school
there Politics in youth hockey?
the most part, coaches want to win. The
teams are not fully picked before you walk through the door.
The rule usually goes like this: If
your child is the same as the returning player in level or slightly better, you
may not make the team. To beat out a returning player or politically placed
child, your child must fully prove without a doubt that he/she is the better
player. With 60 - 70 kids on the ice it is not easy, but also not
impossible. Yes! Coach's friends do make teams, board members kids will make
teams, and kids from within the organization will make teams for loyalty
purposes. There are many other
types of politics in youth hockey as well.
However, do not be afraid of these.
Knowing all this, how does my child get noticed and make the team?
one or a few of the following.
ever happens, remember that these are kids we are talking about.
99.9999999% will never play professional hockey and never get a full or
partial scholarship to college. Find a place where your child will be happy,
have fun, improve, make some friends, have a good quality coach, good rink
location and times to fit your schedule, and encourage your child to try their
best. Remind your child that not
making a team is not the end of the world and does not mean he/she will never
succeed. I got cut from my high
school team and still played college and pro hockey.
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