In recent years sports scientists have spoken out emphatically about the harmful effects of premature and over-intense athletic training of young children. Many complain that hockey programs for youngsters are too intense, competitions too many, seasons too long, emphasis on winning too great. Young children are pushed by parents and coaches to choose and specialize in the sport way before they are mature enough to do so.
Up to the age of 8, children should enjoy a variety of fun and stimulating activities; they need to develop a broad base of movement skills. Intensive training and competition at too early an age inhibits the development of skills such as balance, agility and coordination, and it prevents youngsters from learning other sports. Learn more about age-specific training here.