How To Tell If Your Kid Is Good At Hockey

It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s future. And while it may seem like a long way off, the sooner you can spot potential talents and help them develop those skills, the better.

Hockey, a fast-paced and dynamic sport, requires a combination of skills including skating, stick handling, shooting, and a strategic understanding of the game. For parents new to the sport or those watching their children play, it can sometimes be challenging to determine how well their child is performing.

Why? Because even if your kid isn’t a natural at sports or any other particular interest, they’ll be more likely to enjoy what they’re doing and be more successful in general when their interests align with their strengths.

In this blog post, we’ll go through several signs that help you understand how to tell if your kid is good at hockey.

I just want to say before we get in too deep, keep in mind that there’s no reason to push them into something they don’t want to do. But helping them in following their passion for youth hockey will benefit both them and you in the long run. Especially if you also love the sport!

So, how do you tell if your kid is good at hockey? Let’s find out.

They Love the Sport

Pretty obvious one to start with, but the very first thing to look for is whether or not your child likes to play hockey! If they don’t seem excited to play and resist getting on the ice hockey team or joining a high school team, we suggest looking into other pastimes that may be more up their alley.

However, if they can’t wait to get out there and play, then it’s likely that your child has the potential to be good at hockey with good hockey sense.

However, keep in mind that their interest must be genuine; otherwise, they might only be doing it because you want them to. So instead of pushing them towards something when they’re young athletes, why not try letting them discover other sports or activities?

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Good at Hockey Games

While some kids may not like going to games or practicing with a team as much as others do, most children will have an easier time getting into the sport if they find themselves doing well on the ice during their games. If your kid shines under pressure and seems competitive even around friends and family, then it’s safe to say that they’re probably good at hockey.

Your kid should be learning the ins and outs of the game and gradually developing their skills, but if they’re exceptionally talented at any given point in time, that’s a pretty good sign too.

Here are some of the key fundamentals to look at to gauge your kids performance.

1. Skating Skills

The foundational skill for any hockey player is skating. A child who is good at hockey will usually exhibit strong skating abilities. Look for smooth, confident strides, quick acceleration when they skate, and the ability to stop and start swiftly. Good balance and agility on the ice are also crucial, as they allow the player to change directions quickly and maintain control under pressure.

2. Stick Handling and Control

Another important skill is stick handling. This involves controlling the puck on the stick while moving around the ice. A child who excels in hockey will handle the puck with ease, keeping it close even when in motion. They should be able to maneuver through opponents without losing the puck and make accurate passes to teammates.

3. Spatial Awareness and Positioning

Understanding where to be on the ice is vital in hockey. Good players are aware of their position relative to other players and the puck. They make smart decisions about when to move forward into an offensive position and when to hang back defensively. If your child often seems to be in the right place at the right time, it’s a good sign they understand the strategic elements of the game.

4. Shooting Accuracy and Power

The ability to shoot accurately and powerfully is what often leads to scoring goals. Notice if your child can shoot the puck with both precision and strength. Good players can also vary their shooting techniques, using wrist shots, slap shots, and snap shots effectively depending on the situation.

5. Game Understanding and Anticipation

Hockey requires not just physical skills but also mental acumen. Children who excel at hockey often show a good understanding of the game’s rules and strategies. They anticipate the play, understanding where the puck is going to be and react swiftly to turnovers or changes in the game flow.

6. Teamwork and Communication

Hockey is a team sport, and effective communication and teamwork are essential. Notice if your child is communicating with their teammates, both verbally and non-verbally. Good players support their teammates, know when to pass the puck, and can work collaboratively to set up or defend against plays.

7. Consistency and Work Ethic

Consistency in performance is a strong indicator of skill in any sport. A child who consistently demonstrates the above skills during practices and games may possess a natural aptitude for hockey. Moreover, a good work ethic and a willingness to practice and improve are also signs of a potentially successful hockey player.

8. Enjoyment and Passion

Finally, a genuine love for the game can often enhance a child’s performance on the ice. If your child is enthusiastic about attending practices and games, learns about hockey, and spends time playing outside of formal settings, it suggests a deep engagement with the sport.

Their Physical Attributes Might Matter

Although there’s no reason to compare your child to others or even judge them based on physical traits, it definitely helps if they’ve got some natural athleticism! There are plenty of hockey players who may not be the tallest out there, but they’ve got speed and agility, which can make up for any lack of physical development.

If your kid is small, then don’t let that discourage you from letting them try youth sports. Hockey isn’t just about physical strength. It also depends on hand-eye coordination, balance, quick reflexes, and much more. All kids develop differently and focus on long-term athletic development.

Being Competitive Is Key

Are your kids always trying to outdo each other? For example, do you find them competing over who gets a bigger dessert or who eats faster? If so, then they might have an innate competitive streak that’ll come in handy when they’re on the ice.

After all, hockey isn’t just about physical skills; it’s also about determination and the will to win. This is another quality that shouldn’t be ignored! While we hate seeing kids play fight with their siblings or act poorly towards their friends, it’s worth noting that being competitive at a young age can help them get far in life. Plus, it could even make playing a sport more fun games for both of them!

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Do they love to practice hard?

Hockey can be a demanding sport, so your child might not find the motivation to keep going if they don’t enjoy what they’re doing, especially when it comes to practice. However, if you notice that your kid is pushing through a drill even when they don’t feel like it, this could be another sign of potential talent.

If you ever plan on putting them in hockey camps or sending them out onto the ice for weekly practices, then make sure to ask how many times per week do they want to go and see if their answer aligns with yours. But never forget that above all, youth hockey is about kids having fun.

How Do They Take Direction?

Most people will have a natural reaction when getting feedback from a child’s coach or an instructor is simply inevitable. But some kids take constructive criticism well, while others tend to shut down and tune out the people around them. Especially when they feel like it’s not warranted.

If your kid has a hard time taking feedback from others, then this might be an issue that you’ll want to address before moving forward. Hockey doesn’t just demand physical skills; it also requires mental strength! So if your child is extremely sensitive about criticism, they might not do so well on the ice or with their teammates.

Are They Resilient?

The next thing to consider is whether or not your child has what it takes when it comes to bouncing back from setbacks and failure. Can they take most of what life throws at them in stride? How do they react when something doesn’t go as planned? When with obstacles, can they manage to keep a positive attitude and still move forward?

Mistakes happen to everyone, but if your kid has the ability to take them in stride, then this is definitely something that you’ll want to encourage. Hockey is filled with ups and downs, so there will always be setbacks no matter how well they do on any given day!

They Have Good Teammates

If your kids have great teammates, then it’s definitely a good sign that they’re going to be good as well. Why? Because playing hockey is all about being in sync with the team and helping out others whenever possible.

Hockey Teammates entering the rink

Everyone has to contribute for everyone else to succeed! So if your child is surrounded by supportive individuals who go out of their way to help them get better, then it means that there’s potential for them to make new friends and do great things together.

Take note of how often they seem happy when at practice or during games, are they smiling and laughing with teammates, or are they focused on their own performance?

Do They Seek Help?

Some kids might want to learn everything on their own and be independent when playing hockey or any other physical activity. If your child enjoys practicing by themselves, then that’s great! But whether they ask for help and advice from friends, family members, or coaches all comes down to how skilled they truly are.

After all, while some players may like doing things entirely by themselves, others might find it difficult to make progress without a little guidance now and then. So please pay attention to whether or not your child appears to be looking for advice or is simply trying to go it alone.

You Can Help If Your Child Is Struggling

Of course, you can’t always tell how good your kid is at hockey just by watching them practice or play games. Sometimes they might need a little extra help and encouragement from you as a parent! So if you notice that their skills are starting to decline, then it’s best to take action soon rather than later.

It could be something small like making sure that they get enough sleep before hitting the rink or going out on the ice with them so that you two can practice together from time to time.

Remember that every player goes through highs and lows throughout their career, no matter what the case may be. So be supportive no matter what and help them out whenever you can!

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

At what age do hockey players develop?

Typically, children develop their coordination and social skills at a young age. However, ages 3-6 is when they usually first start developing some of these key skills, so if your kid has been playing for a while, then it might be time to see how they’re progressing!

How can I help my child be a better hockey player?

Making sure they get enough sleep, watching their diet, and spending some time at the rink are all key ways to help them improve their skill development. But, if you want to give your child that extra boost in the right direction, then you need to make sure that they’re taking care of themselves!

How can I tell if my kid is talented?

Once again, it comes down to how skilled they are compared to those around them in a similar age group. If your little one could potentially compete in an organized league or tournament against other kids engaged who are just a bit older than them, then the chances are that they’re pretty talented!

What age is too late for hockey?

Typically, players who begin at an early age have an easier time being successful. However, that’s not to say that playing hockey later in life is impossible! Some parents are even starting their kids off as late as 12 or 13 years old, and they’re just fine!

How do I make my kid play better?

If you really want your child to improve, they should ask for help from others whenever possible. Whether it be friends, family members, or coaches, everyone needs a little guidance now and then, so make sure that they’re looking for advice on becoming a better player.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether or not your kid is good at hockey, the most important thing to do is have fun! Few things in life are more enjoyable than playing a sport that you’ve loved for many years. 

While there isn’t any exact way to know how good your kid is at hockey without asking them, you can generally tell if they’re improving over time. So pay attention to their skills and make sure that they take care of themselves!

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