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The Hockey Life: Practice is at What Time?

12/01/2015, 12:30pm CST
By Jessi Pierce; Courtesy Minnesota Hockey

South St. Paul Coach Offers Tips for Dealing With Late Nights on the Ice

Credit: Minnesota Hockey.

Credit: Minnesota Hockey.

“Practice is at what time?!”

Many parents and coaches have likely asked themselves this numerous times throughout a season. As registration numbers continue to climb, so does the demand for ice time. That, in turn, can lead to some teams taking the ice for practice when they should be hitting the sheets for the night.

A former player-turned-hockey dad and head coach of the South St. Paul girls’ high school team, Dave Palmquist has been a part of his fair share of late-night practices.

“As with anything in sports, it’s all about prioritizing and making sure you know what needs to get done first,” he said. “Make sure the parents and the kids are on the same page and make a plan for what needs to get done and when.”

How do you make it work for your player and the family? Palmquist offers five tips to manage those late-night skates.

1. Homework and Chores First

Schoolwork and household chores should always be a priority for kids while they’re in sports – even if they don’t necessarily agree. Late-night practices put more emphasis on getting the big tasks done first before allowing him or her to go out and have fun on the ice.

“You want to instill early on in the season that as soon as the kids come home from school, they get a jump start on their homework and chores,” said Palmquist. “You don’t want it to wait until after practice. Then it turns in to a bad habit that’s hard to turn off.”

By creating a routine of chores, homework, dinner, then practice – or a similar variation – it sets an organized plan into motion. Help establish an order of responsibilities, and it will help alleviate stresses for you and your player.

2. Hot Meal on the Go

Dinner is one of the big challenges families face when it comes to the hockey season, no matter the practice time. While practice at a later time can allow for some hearty home-cooked meals, it becomes too easy to suggest hitting up the nearby fast-food joint instead.

“Supper is important not only for the health and energy benefits, but for the family time, too,” said Palmquist. “A lot of times during (hockey) we think it’s easier to just grab something and go to the rink, or eat at the rink. But we should really be making an effort to have a real meal, too.”


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