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The Hockey Season is just around the corner…This time of year I am always reminded about the importance of Balance in Sport.

And, I’m not just talking playing multiple sports – which is all important at the developmental levels- I’m talking about Competition vs Practice.

If we step back and take a broad view of sport – we are WAY off on the ratios here.

We have become competition crazy!

If we look at some of the well regarded recommendations, here is what the practice vs competition ratios should look like based on age groups:

0-6 years: No Ratios
6-9 years: Fun Based Activity
9-12 years: 70% Training to 30% Competition
12-16 years: 60% Training to 40% Competition
16-23 years: 40% Training to 60% Comp. & Specific Training
19+ years: 25% Training to 75% Comp. & Specific Training

Unfortunately, and I’ll say it again, we are game crazy and I don’t think its good for the athletes or sport in general.

Take Hockey for example, here is a breakdown of a 4 game weekend tournament. I think the average cost/family with travel, food, hotel and tournament fees is somewhere close to $750.00 for the weekend.

Here’s what that will get you for the 4 games:

4 Game Weekend: Atom Level Players:
Average 10 minutes on the ice/game
Average 1 minute actively involved in play/game
Average approx. 25 seconds with the puck/game

Summary for Four Games:
40 minutes of ice time
4 minutes involved in play
About one minute with the puck

Game by the Numbers: Hockey Canada
Puck on Stick – Average 8sec. / game
Shots per game – Average 1-2 shots

You can’t underestimate the power of a well organized practice!!

If you break it down its not great – at all – especially if you consider the Skill Development side of it.

Based on what we see from this 4 game weekend, if we compare the number of games you’d need to play, to the amount of practice you’d need to get the same amount of Skill Development…… you’d need to play 11 games to equal the skill development of 1 well organized practice!!!

Some studies suggest 18 games one predicted upwards of 30 games to = 1 well organized practice.

So the Question of the Day: To Practice or Play?

What’s your vote? Leave your comment below.

Jeff Krushell