How many times have you heard “he is the next Wayne Gretzky” or now maybe “he is the next Conor McDavid”.

I get at least two emails per month from parents of the “next” Sidney Crosby, Scott Moir, Jonathan Quick or Michael Phelps.  The future star is typically between 7-9 years of age.

I have been in this business for over 20 years, so that is a lot of “next… insert name of current league MVPs floating around” Do you know how many of them actually became “the next”??

I would say absolutely zero.

shutterstock_26070514I am sure at some point when Conor McDavid was 9 years old he was referred to as the next Sidney Crosby.  So you might point to that and say “a ha, there you go, proof”.

But what you are choosing to ignore is the fact that there was also Conor Schmidt, Conor Pappas, Conor MACDavid and about a hundred other 9 year old phenoms who were ALSO called the next Sidney Crosby.

You don’t see Hockey Night In Canada strutting them out on parade for the draft lottery do ya?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of them are not even playing the game anymore.

Even Conor McDavid will not be the next Sid Cros.

He will be himself.  Some moves may remind us of Gretzky, Orr, Crosby, Stamkos or even Lemeuix – – but he will be unique.

Do you know the name of every kid who sucked as a 9 year old athlete, but went on to become a pro or go to the Olympics or make the Varsity team?

I will bet you there are a lot more of these guys and gals out there playing.

They still follow the same path…

Do you think Conor was in the gym doing heavy deadlifts at the age of 9?  Do you think he was doing the same training as a 26 year old NHL pro? After all he was the next one right?

Sounds absurd when it is put this way doesn’t it?

Yet it is exactly what some parents expect.  I remember an indignant parent showing me video of their 9 year old dominating the competition to prove that his child indeed should be training for over 25 hours per week for their sport.

They were indignant at my suggestion that maybe it was a bit much given the child’s age.

Thankfully I have the liberty to give these parents a great big “Buh-bye”. 

Treating 9-year olds like pros is not what we do at RevCon.

When I asked this child what the funnest part of their sport was, they looked at me like I had three heads, they didn’t understand the question.  Like – it’s supposed to be fun???

As a parent you may be inclined to believe that the child wants to spend 4 hours per day training for their sport.  And maybe they do, but it still doesn’t make it right.  And if they want to spend 4 hours a day playing road hockey with their friends, then I am cool with that – the key word is “PLAY”.

I am NOT cool with that much structured training.

If your child really, really wanted to drink Cola for every meal or play hockey without a helmet, you probably would not be cool with it right?

So much can change…

So much can change for a young athlete, like a young Justin Bieber who is so cute and innocent and everyone loves his singing and dancing, then he goes through that awkward voice change in puberty and it is not so cute watching a tattooed 17-year-old yodel his way through his new songs.

Some kids dominate their sport at 9 because they are 18” taller than everyone else on the team and 40lbs heavier.  This is great…until everyone else catches up and he is back to being average.

What do you think that does to his or her self-esteem if their entire young life has revolved around becoming the next one and now they are just another one.

What’s the point…

So yes, this has turned into a rant, when I actually a point…

HERE IT IS >> If a kid is phenomenal at a young age, that is awesome! But, they are not the “next” anyone.  They are a kid.  If you want to do what is right for their development, then let them play.  Keep them in love with their sport.  Make it fun.


PS – if you are 14+ and have a need for speed this summer – you can join our 30-minute speed and agility sessions from 4:30-5pm on M, Tu, W, Th – just call or email for more info.