Volume 1 Issue 11                                                                       September 23, 2014

10 Questions about Player Development

Mites to Squirts: 3 Myths Clarified

It's Better to Have Drill Killers than
 Mood Killers

8U: Docs Orders for a Safe Season

VIDEO: Value of Effort in Practice

VIDEO: USAH Mobile Coach Tutorial

Just for Coaches: On- and Off-Ice Practice Plans


Ten Questions about

Player Development


Some may ask, why is there a piece on player development in the Mite Newsletter? Read closely and you will see that without proper development at the younger ages, there is no player development at the older ages. Former Division 1 college player and coach and USA Hockey ADM Regional Manager, Roger Grillo answers some key questions about the process.


Mass Hockey: Considering your exposure to so many ages, what do you see as some keys to creating an environment for player development?


Roger Grillo: I've often felt that, as a coach, you almost have to be an entertainer. You have to make the environment fun and entertaining so they want to come back the next day. You have to bring some energy and let the people around you know you're part of something special.


Mass Hockey: What question are you asked about most when it comes to player development?


Roger Grillo: It all depends on the individual situation. The biggest thing I try to explain to people is that there aren't any shortcuts. There are a lot of people who want to be good, or say they want to be good, or pretend they want to be good, but are they really putting in the extra time and making the sacrifices? And I'm really speaking about the older kids here.



THE MYTH: If you register as a mite player this year for the Fall on a team outside of USA Hockey, when Spring season comes around it will cost you more money to register for a USA Hockey team rather than just stay with the non-USA Hockey program.


FALSE: USA Hockey's Fall 2015-16 Registration opens on April 1. If your mite is moving up to squirts and would like to play for a USA Hockey team/club in the Spring, he will not have to pay a registration fee again to play in the Fall. That April 1 registration is good until August 31, 2016.


THE MYTH: AHAI has eliminated Mite full-ice hockey.


FALSE: AHAI has asked for and been granted the largest exception of any Affiliate in USA Hockey in order to play full-ice mite hockey, 15 games after December 1st.


THE MYTH: USA Hockey/AHAI is going to half-ice games for Squirts.


FALSE: USA Hockey/AHAI has never promoted this as a scenario for the squirt aged players; they have encouraged every age level to follow the principles of the ADM and age appropriate training. These guidelines have been clearly stated and explained, and are available at admkids.com. Questions? Please email miteADM@ahai2.org.

It's Better to Have Drill Killers than Mood Killers


 By USA Hockey  


Long lines can really kill a mood. Whether you're at the coffee shop or the airport or stuck in traffic, time spent dawdling in line is annoying for everyone. Hockey practice is no different.


Practices that have a majority of the drills consisting of long lines actually limit skill building, and ultimately, diminish interest level in the sport. According to Paul Pearl, associate head coach of the Harvard University men's hockey team, long lines can be detrimental to the overall development of a young hockey player.


This is especially true at 8U, where one of the main goals is to foster a passion and love for the sport. "The easiest way to get a hockey player to not want to play hockey is by making him stand in line in the corner of the ice watching hockey," said Pearl.



Doc's Orders

for a Safe Season


By USA Hockey


We want our child to play well and succeed. We want them to have fun. We want them to be safe.


Hockey gets a bad rap sometimes. Mainstream media's hypersensitivity to malicious hits and fighting at the game's professional levels can make it seem like hockey is an endless string of jackhammer collisions and fisticuffs, even though youth hockey is nothing like that at all.


Parents who are unfamiliar with actual hockey may see these unfair portrayals and conclude that the sport is dangerous, when in fact, according to an August 2013 study by Safe Kids Worldwide, the overall injury rate among ice hockey players between the ages of 12 and 17 was lower than the injury rate in football, wrestling, basketball, soccer, baseball and cheerleading.



Carol Dweck:
Coaches' Value of Effort in Practice


In a follow up to last Mite Newsletter video on Praise, Dr. Dweck discusses what is important for coaches to project onto their athletes. What do you value as a coach and what do your players think you value?



Take USA Hockey to the Rink:
Mobile Coach App

Take USA Hockey's coaching materials to the rink, on the road or wherever else you wish with the USA Hockey Mobile Coach. Find practice plans, small-area games, dryland training, goaltending drills and videos, body contact instruction and more!

"2-on-2 Single Support"
"Wave Surfing"

Small-area games are game-like competitive drills that utilize a playing surface that has been reduced in size. A typical small-area game will be played in one end of the ice and can be played cross-ice, between face-off dots, in one corner, below the face-off dots or in any other number of areas, including the neutral zone.


The area of the rink being used is dependent upon the skills being taught. Most games are designed to teach a combination of individual skills and are most easily played in a cross-ice format. However, some games will be moved into a much smaller section of the rink to create a smaller playing surface while other games will take advantage of a much larger area to teach team skills such as breakouts or power plays.



USA Hockey provides an abundance of material to help coaches design efficient and fun dryland training for the 8U age group. We will highlight some of those exercises here each month.


Ask your coaching coordinator or hockey director where you can get the dryland deck of cards, or contact AHAI's Coach- in- Chief. 



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