Kids wanting to play hockey simply have to gather the courage to lace up a pair of skates and hit the ice. The best way for a kid to play hockey is to join a team and attend practices regularly. Coaches will help children adapt and learn the skills needed to play the game, as well as help the team bond and support one another. There are many different skill levels on every little league team, and beginners should start at a lower level to learn the basic skills needed to play. Teammates, referees and coaches are usually very supportive of beginners and enjoy sharing their hockey skill sets with kids still learning to play.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Rule book
- Hockey stick
- Should pads
- Elbow pads
- Knee and shin guards
- Chest protector
- Protective cup
- Hockey trousers, sock and jersey
Learn the rules of the game. Before kids steps on the ice to play hockey, they should have a basic knowledge of the rules. Reading the rules with kids helps to give a basic understanding of rules like icing, roughing, checking, interference, holding and offsides. However, it is best to let kids watch the game live and study professional players on television to visualise how each rule operates.
Choose a position. Once kids know the rules, they should decide what position they want to play. The position will also dictate what equipment is bought. For example, goalies have slightly different equipment needs than defencemen or forwards.
Lace up some skates and go out on the ice. Learning to skate is often the most difficult thing to do. Kids should practice skating before they sign up for league play. Once they get the basics down, they can always improve with the team as they play.
Put on the equipment. Kids should practice skating with all their equipment on. They should practice viewing and seeing the ice while wearing a helmet. Kids should practice how to move while holding a hockey stick and also adapt to playing while wearing elbow pads, shoulder pads and a full set of hockey equipment.
Practice stick handling. Kids need to learn how to stickhandle so they can move the puck up the ice in a game. Setting up pylons and performing weaving drills will help to teach kids how to handle a puck on the ice with their stick.
Practice shooting and passing. Accepting a pass can sometimes be challenging for kids. Performing passing drills will teach young players how to cradle a pass and gain control of the puck before moving it forward. There are a number of shots a player can choose from, as well. Wrist shots, slap-shots, backhand shots, one-timers and the shovel shot are just some kids can begin to practice.
Play the game. Young kids are rarely allowed to engage in physical play at beginner levels. Starting kids early is the best time to get involved in hockey because there is not a high chance of injury. Once kids have learnt the basics, they can hit the ice and begin to master the sport.
Tips and warnings
- Watch as much hockey as possible too see how the pros play.
- Be patient and accept that skill takes time to develop. Always encourage kids to get up and back onto the ice if they miss a shot or let a goal in.
- Make sure all kids have proper equipment. Injuries can happen in hockey. Wearing the best protection will ensure kids stay as safe as possible.
- Never teach bad sportsmanship. If something or someone during the game does something unsportsmanlike, do not get into the habit of letting kids, parents or coaches retaliate.
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