For the past two months, Mike has been playing hockey through Jump Start Sports. He had been nudging us to play a sport, but we missed soccer sign-ups and he has never really had an interest in baseball. When a paper for Jump Start Sports came home with him at the end of the school year, I knew we had to sign him up for dek hockey. He was so excited to not only play a sport, but to play hockey. After last season watching the Pittsburgh Penguins play, he has turned into my hockey buddy.
The purpose of this specific dek hockey program through Jump Start Sports is to teach kids the ins and outs of the game. Each session is one hour, once a week. The first half of each session was spent learning how to hold the stick, the difference between offense and defense, and various drills. Mike's favorite was the Triangle. Three kids stand in a triangle, with a fourth in the center. The child in the center needs to get the ball from one of the three others. If the child in the middle is successful, he switches places with the child he took the ball from.
At first I didn't think much of this drill other than the kids were learning how to pass the ball, but after watching the World Cup finals with Mike, I realized how valuable this drill is. Many times through the soccer game, Mike pointed out certain players that were standing in a triangle formation. Not only was he having fun learning hockey, but he was really learning stuff!
The second half of each session, the group of kids was split into two teams and they would play a game. Just sticking to the basics, they had offense, defense and a goalie.
I was very impressed that the kids stayed where they were supposed to on the dek and put into practice some of the techniques they had been learning. I believe this says a lot about the coaches. Mike's coaches were not only knowledgeable, but they were fun. They kept the kids on task and at times, they even joined in on the games.
After a few sessions, Mike started asking about joining a league. He would come home after each practice a sweaty, tired mess. I knew he loved participating in this program, but like most parents, I wasn't ready for that yet. The last thing we want to do is drop a bunch of money on a sport only for him to lose interest after one season. He may not, but we're not ready top take that chance. Through Jump Start Sports, not only can he learn and master the basic skills, but as parents, it's a an affordable way for us to gauge his true interest.
Jump Start Sports currently offers various sports programs and camps in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina and they are continuing to grow. If you have a child interested in trying out a sport and Jump Start Sports is in your area, I highly recommend checking them out.