Academic Development vs Hockey Development
by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy
Due diligence for your child’s hockey development
Most hockey parents take great care when it comes to nurturing their child’s development as a hockey player and athlete. They generally are very actively involved when it comes to having a positive impact on their child’s hockey.
Parents do their due diligence with respect to coaches, instructors, hockey camps, hockey clubs and hockey teams. They talk to others and ask questions of those whose children had previously played for a certain coach or club, or attended a certain camp or clinic.
It is of course true that parents may not always succeed in getting their child on the team they want, because often that is outside their ultimate control.
But, as a rule, they try to do their very best with those things that ARE under their control, in order to give their children a competitive advantage when it comes to their hockey development.
What about your child’s academic development?
Yet when it comes to their child’s academic development, most parents believe their hands are tied.
And so they go along with what the local public or Catholic schools offer.
Which today almost certainly means: they trust their child’s academic development to Common Core.
What if hockey development had its own Common Core?
Maybe the best way to demonstrate what’s at stake is to suggest what the equivalent of Common Core would look like applied to youth hockey.
What if a bunch of concerned parents (some of whom may have “studied” hockey but virtually none of whom had ever actually coached a youth hockey team) had somehow managed to put in place a national “youth hockey development curriculum” that all youth hockey coaches were compelled to follow?
And what if these concerned parents believed that the way hockey had been taught for generations was nearly all wrong, and that a “new” approach was needed?
Classics and fundamentals no more
What if the works and careers of Percival, Tarasov, Adams, Blake, Ross, Arbour, Irvin, Imlach, Sather, Neilson, Bowman, Brooks, Johnson, Berenson, et al were considered “passe” and would at best merely be “referred to” every now and then, if even mentioned at all?
And what if this national hockey curriculum directed the coaches to neglect fundamentals like skating, passing and shooting?
What if it simply “overturned” the coaching education programs that local programs and coaches had so diligently put together over the years?
What if youth coaches instead were required to focus on things like analyzing bits and pieces of power plays and face-off strategies (i.e. never fully, and never by actually going over these things on the ice)?
What makes hockey so great anyway?
What if coaches spent weeks helping their players analyze and “understand” blogs and articles written by people who hated hockey and believed it was unfair and exclusionary?
What about getting their players to be more “sensitive” to the fact that some other players were not as good at hockey as they were?
And so what if we're falling behind?
And what if the empirical evidence was strong and clear that the development of the nation’s youth hockey players was suffering as a result, i.e. that our youth hockey players were performing worse and falling further behind the development of youth hockey players in other countries?
Astonishingly, the reality is that this analogy is NOT that far off.
Because effectively, from an academic development perspective, that is what Common Core is doing with respect to math, literature, history and science in the K-12 grades.
Again. Don’t take my word for any of this. Do your own research.
And once again, I recommend you check out the following resources:
You can also check out our other "Common Core" blogs at:
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