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Attitude, development for Krivo School starts with Mites

 

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In six seasons running the Krivo School of Hockey Elite, director Andrei Krivokrasov has taken numerous players that could be considered “good players” and turned them into “better players” by the end of the season.

Not only does this work with older players, but development, discipline and attitude are also part of the curriculum at the Mini-Mite and Mite levels at the Krivo School. Mites practice four times a week and Mini-Mites are on the ice three times a week.

“These kids are the future,” said Krivokrasov. “We start at the grass roots level to be able to get these kids started the right way, which will give them longevity in the game and hopefully, a future in the game.”

Krivokrasov explained that the four basic elements of hockey – skating, shooting, stickhandling and passing – are essential to any success a player may achieve. He focuses on those four fundamentals very heavily and with the Mini-Mites and Mites, this is especially important as fundamentals are the backbone to learning how to play the game.

“We’ve been doing this six years and we have a proven record,” Krivokrasov said. “Our focus is always on helping these kids develop and progress and caring about these kids, teaching them the right way. We want them to be better skaters. We want them to be better stickhandlers. We want them to be better shooters. We want them to be better passers. That all comes with repetition and that is important with the really young kids.”

And while the attention spans of Mini-Mite and Mite players may not be that of the Krivo School’s highest level of players (Pee Wee Major), it’s important to create proper drills for practice and keep those practices engaging for the kids.

“It should always be fun, and I get that, but you also need to work with the kids on discipline and focus,” said Krivokrasov. “These kids must learn and understand the team concept. We want to show the parents and these families what they are getting for their money. We think the way we develop the kids and the way we go about it, that’s what makes us stand apart from other organizations. We hold the kids accountable and that also applies to self-discipline.

“What we want the kids to see, especially with the Mini-Mites and Mites, is that self-discipline starts here. If I’m trying to run a drill and we have one kid not paying attention or is distracted, then the whole team will be disciplined. They won’t want that to happen again and they’ll start to focus better and discipline themselves. They’ll start to look after themselves and subconsciously, they’ll start to focus more and pay better attention. They’ll put in the hard work and not even realize it.”

Krivokrasov also noted that part of the onus to keep kids focused is on the coaching staff.

“It’s up to us to make the drills and practices challenging,” said Krivokrasov. “Sometimes, that’s not fun, but it’s not always about fun. Once the kids grasp the concepts and see what they’ve accomplished, then it becomes fun. We don’t want to have easy drills. We do that and the kids get bored and distracted. That’s not what we want at all. These young kids have very short attention spans and we need to keep them engaged and not distracted. If we can do that, it’s a great situation all the way around.”

— Matt Mackinder