It is often very easy to switch a young player’s mindset from being a good “team player” who passes the puck and uses his or her teammates to a “selfish player”. A player focused on creating their own opportunity and individual stats at the early stage of development.
Players with a superior skill set between the ages of 6 to 12 years old will always have the upper hand to create scoring opportunities.
There is a lot of open ice at the younger age group and a whole lot of room to skate with the puck. This results in a lot more goals for players that are more advanced. They can pick the puck up and go. It is important to pass the puck even if you know your teammate doesn’t have the ability you do. Even if you know they will not pass it back.
Don’t Worry About Passing
All too often players are told by the parents or coaches “you have no one to play with, do it on your own” or “they don’t pass to you, so don’t bother passing to them”. Although it’s great that a young player can dangle through the entire team but these situations rarely happen. A player will fail to develop the ability to make others around them better if they are always told “skate the puck” or do it yourself”.
They won’t know how to use their teammates to simplify the game and create more scoring opportunities.
Selfish tendencies will begin to form the habit that is associated with how they see the game throughout their career. This is not always an easy habit to correct.
Less Space, Less Time
The fact remains that although the kids are small and there is a lot of ice out there. As they continue to play, they will grow and that extra room they had to wheel will soon be gone.
The game is now much faster and decisions need to be quicker. If they haven’t developed the ability to look for their teammates they will continue “play selfish” They will fail to see the ice and make the necessary play to create an opportunity. They will be labeled as someone who plays with “blinders on”. Instilling the mindset that moving the puck knowing that you will get it back will not only make everyone around you better but will allow you to develop the ability to play the game The right way. Being an individual player will only get you so far in today’s game, regardless of how skilled you may be. Hockey is not won on one player beating 5 guys shift in and shift out. In fact, you’ll be know as a one man show. The player with all the skill in the world, but couldn’t figure it out when it mattered most.