I don’t know why, but most of us struggle with the concept of future benefits. Getting people to understand the concept of saving and investing their money when they are young is like pulling teeth. And so it goes with athletic training as well. I wish I had a nickel for all of the times a parent has asked me if they will see noticeable changes/improvements in their young players in 4 weeks. 4 weeks? Really??? How much do your financial investments grow in 4 weeks? I like to call this era the “Microwave Society”, we want it and we want it NOW!

I was motivated to write this blog after to talking with several long-time skating treadmill players who are now entering into the 9th grade. While they have high hopes of making their respective High School Varsity hockey squads, they understand the reality that Varsity teams are mostly made up of Juniors and Seniors, with 1-2 talented Sophomores, and maybe the rare Freshman phenom. The amazing thing is that’s not what is happening to them! They are outskating the older players hands-down, and their endurance, leg strength, and cardiovascular fitness is well above the majority of the older kids. The coaches are pleasantly surprised, and they are taking a serious look at these players. All of the players told me the same thing-if it hadn’t been for the 2-4 YEARS that they have spent training on the skating treadmill-they wouldn’t be out there “killing it” now. As High School freshman, they are actually looking at a legitimate chance of making the Varsity team. AND seeing playing time! Just like the money you put into your savings account, the time you put into extracurricular training for hockey will pay huge dividends later.

Let’s face it, ice hockey demands an exceptionally specialized skill set. Skating is not a skill you are born with like walking and running. Skating requires a completely different set of biomechanics, an elite sense of balance, and a 6th sense of posture/anatomical alignment. That is why it can take several YEARS to become an accomplished skater. So try not to view your child’s athletic development in terms of weeks, or even months. Realize that your time, effort, and money is an INVESTMENT in your child’s future success, which may be a couple of years off. I always told my own kids, “We’re going to put 100% into this, and while that doesn’t guarantee you that you’ll make it, at least we’ll never have to look back and wish we had done things differently”.