Is there a right time to teach players how to hit?

Thu, Mar 18

Dear Bucci,

Here in Buffalo, we are treated to a "no-holds-barred" segment on local radio during Sabres pregame shows. This particular segment features Rob Ray. He had an interesting point regarding the dangerous hits that have been permeating the news lately. He mentioned that kids are not allowed to hit until their teens -- which is a problem. He continued, if kids were able to learn how to hit and take a hit at an earlier age (like they used to do), the players would be more aware of how to play, position themselves and not be as susceptible to such dangerous hits.

I am interested to hear your thoughts regarding the "best" time for kids to learn how to hit/be hit.


I have to disagree with my boy Rob Ray. I would delay hitting until kids are at least 12 years old. My son Jack will start pee wee (ages 11-12) in seven months. At most, he will be 75 pounds. A majority of kids will outweigh him by a healthy margin, and he occasionally will play against kids who probably will weigh at least 125 pounds. That size disparity could be dangerous, scare kids off from playing hockey and/or scare parents off from having their kids play hockey. It also could affect the development of players who may enter pee wee in a state of fear.

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