4 year old learned to ice skate in 6 public skates on Balance Blades
How to Introduce Kids to Ice Hockey
Ice hockey is a fun sport that is popular in many regions of the world. However, it can be an intimidating sport for people, especially children, to learn. Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to introduce kids to ice hockey and to make the game seem appealing. By educating kids about the game, helping them learn to skate, and perfecting key aspects of the game, you’ll be able to help your kids gain an appreciation for ice hockey.
Educating Kids About Hockey
Watch a game with them.By watching a game, they’ll have the first-hand experience of watching professionals play. This will not only be instructional, but it may make the game seem exciting.
- Take your kids to a live professional or semi-professional hockey game. For example, if you live in the Atlanta metropolitan area, you can take your kids to an Atlanta Gladiators game – a minor league ice hockey team.
- Watch a professional hockey game on television. In North America, the National Hockey League’s regular season runs from October to April.
- Attend a children’s hockey game. This way, your kids will be able to see people their own age playing and having fun.
Explain important rules.By taking enough time to explain the rules before, after, or during a game, you’ll help kids learn the basics so they understand what they’re seeing and how to play in the future. Tell them that:
- The rink is split up into three zones: the defending zone for each team and a middle or “neutral” zone.
- Each team is only allowed to have five skaters and one goalie on the ice.
- Two skaters play defense while three are offensive players.
- The goalie is not allowed to allowed to cross the center line of the rink.
- Pee Wee hockey players (below age 11) are not allowed to body check – which means using their body to stop an opponent from moving. In addition, no one is ever allowed to do a body check that meets another person’s head.
- Major infractions or penalties include tripping, holding, using a stick to stop a player from moving, using a stick to hit someone in the head or face, elbowing, kneeing, or generally being rough.
Find a league for them to play in.The single best way to introduce kids to ice hockey is to sign them up with a team or league. After they join a league, they’ll have others to play with, a coach to teach them, and the ability to participate in organized competitions.
- Look for a local or regional league for them to play in.
- Depending on your region, your public school system might have an ice hockey team.
- Leagues and teams will depend on age. For instance, Pee Wee hockey is typically 12 years and younger.
Help Them Learn to Skate
Show the child how to fall down.Knowing how to fall down is a necessity when playing ice hockey. Without knowing how to fall, a child could seriously hurt themselves. As a result, instruct your kid about how to fall. When falling, a child should:
- Bend their knees.
- Lean to the side.
- Fall slowly when they are ready.
Teach them how to get up.After falling, a child will need to get back up to continue playing. This, though, could be just as difficult and dangerous as falling down. As a result, instruct your child about how to get back up. When they are ready they should:
- Kneel on both knees.
- Keep their back straight.
- Put one skate on the ice
- Push down with the same knee.
- Push up and put the other skate on the ice.
Begin with small movements.Once a child has learned how to fall and get back up, they need to master moving around the ice. It is important that they start small and start slow, so they don’t get hurt or discouraged. Tell your child to:
- Stand steady and have them put their hands out in front and pointed down – to help with balance. This might look as if the child is pushing downward toward the floor.
- Lift a single foot and put it down slightly in front of the other.
- Lift the other foot and place it down in front of where it was.
- Repeat and slowly increase the speed of their movements.
Show them how to slow and stop.As your child learns how to skate faster, it’ll be increasingly important that they can slow down and come to a stop. Thus, you need to make sure they can come to a stop without hurting themselves.
- Instruct them how to shave ice, by standing steady and pushing their blades outward.
- Tell them to advance to a medium speed and prepare to stop.
- Have them bend their knees and move their hands downward in front of them as they prepare to slow.
- To stop, tell them to bring their toes together and plow the ice.
- Tell them to apply their weight to one leg and have the other leg push the skate outward to shave the ice.
Demonstrating the Basics of the Game
Show them how to hold a hockey stick.Holding a stick properly is one of the most important elements of playing ice hockey. If a child does not hold the stick properly, they won’t be able to take successful shots, may sustain injuries to themselves, or hurt others. Tell your child to:
- Place the dominant hand on the top grip of the stick.
- Put the other hand about an elbows-distance from the top hand, lower on the stick.
- Always hold the stick low to the ground.
Instruct them on how to pass the puck.Once a child has mastered holding a stick and skating, they should practice passing and shooting pucks. Ultimately, a child will need to follow a couple fundamental rules when shooting. Tell them to:
- Skate toward the puck with their top hand facing out from their body.
- Roll their wrist when they hit the puck.
- Put power into the shot.
- Make sure the blade stays low over the ice when taking a shot and afterward.
Talk to them about safety.As a very physical sport where contact between children and the ice may occur often, children should take ice hockey safety very seriously. Without following basic safety protocols, a child or someone else could be hurt. Children should:
- Use a proper helmet. Helmets should be foam-lined and should fit properly.
- Wear a face mask.
- Use padding, like shoulder, chest, elbow, leg, knee, and shin pads.
- Remember, “Heads up, Don’t Duck!” Hockey players should not duck their heads when they anticipate a collision. This could cause spinal cord injuries.
Video: Intro to Ice Hockey | #IIHFWorlds 2016
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