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Hockey/5 year old falls alot


Hi Rob,

My son is 5 years old and is in his first year of Mites U6. Before Mites, he was in a Skills Development program for 2 years.  The problem is my son falls constantly when he is skating.  Sometimes it feels like he is on the ground more than he is upright on the ice. He has heart and grit for the game and this seems to be his only downfall. Do you have any suggestions or can you let me know what we can do so that he won't fall as much?  

One more question, he is using a wood stick.  I have read that composite sticks are a lot better.  What type of stick do you recommend?

Thank you for your time.


Wow, he's been skating since he was 3 years old?  Fantastic!  I normally don't take kids until they are 4 years old.  When I get kids that are under 6, I normally don't work with them on their skating until I can see that he has mastered his balance.  So how do I do that?  Simple.  I went down to Home Depot and bought 6 plastic chairs with arm rest that normally go in the back yard.

Then, I have the chair facing the skater so that he can place his hands on the arm rests.  Then, I tell them "ONLY" to march with their feet in a "V" at all times. In fact, when he gets off the ice, he still need to walk down the hallway with his skates in a "V". I tell them that they have to march like a penguin, generally they smile and off the go.

Now I don't take that chair away until he finds his balance.  How will I know?  When he is pushing that chair around the rink with speed.  You will see this because he will be skating faster than all the rest of the kids.

This is the time to start weaning him of the chair.  So when he is holding the chair, tell him that you want to see the chair for a second.  Tell him to let go the the arms rests.  Then move the chair away by 3 feet.  Then start the process all over again and gradually increase the distance until the chair is 10 feet away.

When he can make it 10 feet without falling, he's finish learning how to balance.  DO NOT provide him with a stick yet until you are confident he has his balance.  You will see that when he starts skating around. He's going to want his stick back. But you tell him that he will get his stick back when he doesn't fall any more.  Point out kids as a reference that skate just a little better than him.  Not some kids who's doing cross overs.

Then remind him how fast he was going pushing that chair and that this is no difference from pushing the chair, except now he have his balance.  Once he can skate around without falling, then you give him his stick back.  That will be his reward for learning how to balance.

Once a kid has his stick, then we teach them a "Hockey Stance". Knees bent just a little for added balance.  We tell them, if they feel like falling, all they need to do is bend their knees.  Kids have a tendency to stand up on the ice because this is how they walk.  But because he has a rocker on the skate blade, this balance point is always shifting.  This is why they fall all the time.  But just have him bend his knees.  If he is still falling...start from step one.

Now if he can push that chair around fast, quickly go to the next step.  If he can do the next step, than advance to the next part of the training.  Here, lets review the steps.

1.) Skate with chair - Marching feet.
2.) Skate with chair until he is flying.
3.) Wean him off the chair in increments.
4.) When he's not falling at all, give him back his stick.
5.) Bend knees for better balance.
6.) Teach gliding around cones. Skate closest to the cone goes in front of the other to turn.
7.) Teach stick position when going around cones. Stick always leads the player.
8.) Backward skating.  Text me and I will help you with that.
9.) Crossovers forward and backwards.
10.) Passing
11.) Shooting.

I hope I was able to answer your question.  Oh, I recommend a wooden stick that's straight and colored red.  But stick placement is "VERY" important. If your son writes with his right hand, than he shoots left!  Why? The top hand is the artistic side of the stick and the bottom hand is the power.  This is why he is shoot left.  No, it not because he does very thing on the right side. Example: While playing golf, a pro-instructor will have you drive the ball with you left hand if you write with your right hand.  Why? Because the hand closest to the end of the club is for power and the right hand down the shaft is for accuracy.

In hockey, the top hand help with accuracy and the bottom hand is for power!

Rob Lopez - Commissioner / CEO
University Ice Hockey League - Monterrey, Mexico.  


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Rob Lopez


I can answer all questions about ice hockey from Mites level to College. I have 15 years as a Goalie Coach, 5 years as an assistant coach, 6 years as a hockey director, and 9 years as a General Manager


I have been in the industry now for over 35 years and I have developed youth and adult programs from Canada to Mexico. Plus, I design 100's of free practice drills for 1000's of coaches worldwide in 41 different countries.

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