Many hockey specialists and coaches profess that before anything else, a good hockey player should be an athletic player. What this means is that in order to achieve their full potential, young hockey players should develop skills beyond hockey and practice other sports.
To quote Corey McNabb, senior manager of player development at Hockey Canada: “The ability to learn agility, balance, and coordination that comes from playing a variety of sports, builds a solid foundation for athletic success, physical fitness and more importantly, staying active for life.”
Hockey Canada is not alone in believing that encouraging young players to play baseball, lacrosse, soccer, or any other sport help them improve their hockey abilities too. Hockey greats such as Bobby Orr and professional coaches profess that complete athletes make better hockey players and that specializing too early is not the best for kids’ development.
So, if you want to ensure your son or daughter achieves their potential in hockey or other sports, and if you want them to develop to their potential physically and mentally, make sure that they develop their athletic abilities and physical literacy by being involved in other sports and activities.
The top six sports and activities to develop better hockey players from Hockey Canada’s Corey McNabb:
- Lacrosse: Develops hand eye co-ordination, balance, & agility
- Soccer: Great for fitness, stamina, foot speed, and reading team play
- Baseball: Awesome for developing hand-eye co-ordination, athleticism, focus, and later movement speed
- Team handball: Develops overall athleticism, agility, and power
- Racquet sports: Excellent for hand-eye co-ordination, lateral mobility, and quickness of body and mind
- Gymnastics and yoga: To develop balance, agility, coordination, flexibility, and athleticism