Mite hockey is more than wins, losses -- it's about learning

By Matthew Narvaiz<,br> sports@taosnews.com
Posted 12/12/19

On Saturday (Dec. 7) the Taos Coyote Mites hockey team participated in its first home matches of the season.

There were some falls and there were some goals. But more than anything, there was a whole lot of learning.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Mite hockey is more than wins, losses -- it's about learning

Posted

On Saturday (Dec. 7) the Taos Coyote Mites hockey team participated in its first home matches of the season.

There were some falls and there were some goals. But more than anything, there was a whole lot of learning.

Head coach Mark Richert said that the goal of hockey at this age (they're 7-8) is to learn the sport, and that means teaching the basics of skating, how to use a hockey stick, among other basic skills.

So with that in mind, the matches themselves weren't scored. Richert, who also coached a variety of levels of hockey in the Taos youth hockey organization over the past decade, said that this is because the matches follow the guidelines of USA Hockey, which state that at the youngest levels of the sport keeping score isn't necessary.

"The goal of the whole hockey program is to develop well-rounded athletes and individuals," Richert said.

Richert mentioned that the Albuquerque Scorpions team they played against Saturday scored more goals than his team did, but that the week prior when the Taos mite team played in Santa Fe it was a different scenario. It's that experience that helps them grow as hockey players.

Richert said that, for this age group, specializing in a position can be seen as a bad thing. And for him, it may well be. Richert, instead, opts to let his players try out any position they'd like. That way, they can get the most experience possible and from all angles of the game.

"At this point, you're teaching them the entire game," Richert said.

Hockey, though, is about teamwork. And Richert is a big proponent of that.

He said that, during practices, he'll play certain games with his players to teach them both individual skills and team skills. For example, he said that for a practice he was going to have his players kick a ball around the ice rink to teach them speed skating drills but to also make it a team effort.

In a small town like Taos, attracting players can sometimes pose a problem. But Richert said that "when they're young like this you want as many young kids as possible."

And how do you do that? "When they're young like this, the whole philosophy is make it fun and keep them coming back."

When Richert is in action and coaching, you can see and feel the passion he has for teaching young children the sport of hockey. On the other end, you can see the excitement of the players to whom he is speaking.

The Taos mite hockey team will have plenty of time to practice. Over the next couple of months, they will play nearly a dozen more matches against new opponents and some of the same ones, too.

Although the matches don't count for wins on paper, they count for the learning involved.

Comments


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.