The more I coach in both hockey and lacrosse and it is becoming apparent that many kids seem to be losing their sports IQ. The simple cause of this, kids are becoming too specialized and are not just out there playing to have fun anymore.
Goalies today are leaps and bounds beyond where any of the professional goalies were at the same age from a technical standpoint. At younger and younger ages kids are being taught; how to butterfly properly, leg recovery, backside recoveries, butterfly slides, etc. but they are losing the hockey instinct that the older generations got from playing street hockey all summer and mixing up other sports.
By playing other sports kids will become more athletic, increase their sports IQ, and learn to compete. Most sports are generally the same; there is a goal, an offense, and a defense. The offense competes against the defense to score. Athletes must understand passing lanes, danger situations, and perhaps most importantly how to compete.
Along with playing other sports your young goalies should be encouraged make up their own games. This will help hand eye coordination, general athletic ability, creativity, and compete factor. When my brothers and I were growing up we were always playing games, whether we made them up or saw them some place else we played all summer day and night and we always wanted to win (I won all the time).
Listen to your child. Some kids need some time away from the rink. Hockey year round is not always the greatest for kids, often time away from the rink makes them want to play even more. Then there are the Rink Rats (guilty) some kids you just cannot keep away from the rink so let them play whenever they can.
If your child wants to play everyday, or wants to take the summer off you should also take advantage of all of the great coaches and summer programs out there. Make sure to do your research though. Ask some former and current students and parents about the camp. Make sure it is well structured and the kids are learning. The more repeat customers and referrals a camp has the more likely it is a great quality camp.
Finally enjoy your summer, try some new things, have fun, and be safe.