With hockey season being officially over, spring and summer sports have taken over the spotlight. Many parents are likely seeking advice on what they should do over summer months to not only keep their kid(s) active during the off-season but prepare for the next hockey season. The answer really depends on the age and level of the athlete. Let's take a quick look at three different ages/levels below:
Primary School Aged Athletes
For a primary school aged athlete, a good place to start is to broaden their overall athletic experience in the off-season by participating in different sports. A child's overall motor development is improved through participating in a variety of sports that allow them to practice different ways of hitting, catching, kicking, throwing, running, and jumping. Providing them these opportunities of doing this in both a team environment and as an individual is a great asset. Summer is also a great opportunity for children to learn about sports that can potentially be played for life and allow them recreational options when they finish playing their main competitive sport.
An adolescent athlete will want to stay active and participate in a range of sports and activities that will maintain a reasonable fitness base, with a main focus on having fun. Adolescent athletes may have a regular summer sport they play and are serious about; this should be encouraged, but they should also take part in some active, fun recreational activities such as swimming, bike riding, or hiking. Participating in both organized sport and unstructured free play is extremely important both to an athletes development.
Emerging Elite Athletes
An aspiring elite athlete, needs to identify specific areas for development that will help them continue to progress and improve. The athlete is likely to already be a part of a high level team who provides opportunities to engage in off-season training. If not, they will require an assessment of skills and physical capabilities, so individual summer programs can be put in place to continue with the development. The type of program they then undertake will depend on their needs. Personal trainers/coaches can be a resource to help develop a plan/program and identify areas for improvement. The aspiring athlete should also be encouraged to participate in other sports and fun recreational activities, as an emotional outlet, over summer.