Popular Krivo School promoting the multi-sport athlete
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But as has become the norm in recent years, seeing hockey players indulge in other sports is also a philosophy Krivo School director Andrei Krivokrasov preaches to his players.
“It’s important for hockey players or any athlete to play other sports,” said Krivokrasov. “When playing other sports, you may pick up hand-eye coordination, quick footwork, or lower- and upper-body strength. These things all help to have a better overall hockey player.”
In addition to Krivokrasov, players and parents from the Krivo School are in complete agreement with the notion that playing other sports is a benefit.
“Our son developed great confidence playing under Coach Andrei at an early age,” said Jean Blomberg, whose son, Patrick, plays on Krivo’s 12U team. “When he first tried to play baseball, he surprised even himself with his nerves of steel while pitching and at bat. Coach Andrei has always been supportive when we have sports conflicts both during the hockey season and during the offseason.”
The fact that Krivokrasov sees the qualities a multi-sport athlete gains as an individual that they bring to hockey is a situation not many coaches agree with as some can demand players stick to hockey 24/7.
“When I moved to the United States, I played tennis, soccer, and hockey in prep school and then tennis and hockey in college,” said Krivokrasov. “It’s important for parents and players to be involved in other sports because the message is the same – it’s all about the team, working together to achieve the same goal.”
Jim and Kim Allen, whose son, Caleb, is another Krivo 12U player, said with Caleb playing lacrosse, it’s a win-win from both ends.
“One of the hardest things about playing goalie in hockey is the toll it takes on the goalies’ hips, knees and back,” explained the Allen parents. “Our son’s leg and core development from his lacrosse play helps to keep his legs strong for his hockey play and limber and agile as well for both sports. Hockey skating and butterfly up and down and side to sides help to support the running and dodging used in lacrosse. And vice versa.
“His passion and desire to play hard are driven by the unique friends, coaches and cities he experiences with each sport. He doesn’t live and breathe with the same kids, fields, rinks or coaches. One of the unseen benefits is that our son has been able to fearlessly try sports outside of his huge love of hockey.”
Another 12U parent, Shawn Blackwood, said the positives her son, Harrison, experiences playing more than one sport is phenomenal.
“Mentally playing individual sports, such as golf and tennis, greatly benefits the player as the player learns how to face adversity, how to dig deep, and even learns how to come back when they are down in a match,” Blackwood said. “This all fosters mental toughness, which can be a huge factor in rallying a team should they face the same scenario in a hockey game. Andrei believes that playing other sports not only makes a player embrace a competitive spirit, but it also allows a player to continue to develop an overall fitness, which in turn promotes the development of a successful hockey player even that much more.”
Noah Fekete, a player on the Krivo 12U team, said Krivokrasov fosters an environment for his elite players to participate in other sports, which is rare.
“I love to play hockey and it’s my favorite, but I love to play other sports,” Fekete said. “I also like to play lacrosse, soccer and tennis, and playing these help my skills in hockey. I get to meet new kids and have lots of fun competing in those sports, too.”
– Matt Mackinder