See ADM drills, concept practice plans and regular practice plans at the bottom of the page.
  • Tactics (white board)
  • simple defensive zone coverage and responsibilities
  • neutral zone lane filling (center swing)
  • simple triangle offense (keep a high guy)
  • backcheck to the net
  • simple breakout concepts (ring, direct pass, d to d and wheel)

Sno-King/USA Hockey document explaining its 10U/Squirt Hockey philosophy

ADM Guidelines

General Description of the Learn to Train stage:

This is the period of accelerated learning of coordination and fine motor control and is the

critical stage for the acquisition of hockey skills. At this stage participants are

developmentally ready to acquire the sports skills that are the cornerstones of all athletic


In late specialization sports such as ice hockey, early specialization can be detrimental to

later stages of skill development and refinement of the fundamental sports skills.

Participants should develop a solid base in a variety of sports in each of the physical literacy

environments (e.g. swimming, athletics, gymnastics & skiing/ skating).

Club to club competitions should be introduced but they should not be the main focus of the


USA Hockey’s key focus for this stage:

Continue to develop physical literacy

Continue to participate in 3 complimentary sports

Participants at this stage should learn solid basic skills in skating and puck control

There is no need at this stage to specialize at a specific skater position, however

goalies may begin to focus on their position


USA Hockey member clubs offer 10 & Under (Squirt) and 12 & Under (Peewee) programs at

this stage.


Children in this stage are often beginning their growth spurt. Coaches and parents should

keep track of regular height measurements (every 3 months at 10 and Under (Squirt), every

six weeks at 12 & Under (Peewee) to provide an indicator for the onset of peak height

velocity (PVH). At the same time flexibility, especially in the hamstrings and lower back

should be monitored. The growth spurt typically lasts 18 to 24 months.

Coach and Instructor Recommendations:

Level 2 CEP certification is required for coaching at the 10 & Under (Squirt) category, while a

level 3 certification is needed to work at the 12 & Under Peewee level. Additional CEP

training is encouraged for coaches working within these two levels as this is one of the two

most important LTAD stages. USA Hockey offers a checking skills workshop that is

recommended for 12 & Under coaches.

LTAD Window of Opportunity:

The Learn to Train and Train to Train stages are the most important stages in athletic

preparation. During these stages we make or break an athlete.

‘Sports skills’ window of trainability is open during the entire phase

Second ‘speed’ window for girls (ages 11-13 )

Beginning of window for aerobic ‘stamina’ (girls 11-14, boys 12 )


Components of the Hockey Learn to Train Stage

Physical Development:

Mastering of fundamental sport skills

Continue to encourage daily physical activity (formal and informal)

Narrow focus to a minimum of three sports

At this stage participants are ready to acquire the general sports skills and hockey

skills that are the cornerstone of all athletic development

Maintain and refine ambidextrous sports or sport movements (e.g. gymnastics,

swimming, throwing with both hands, kicking with both feet, etc.)

Participate in sports that require similar movement patterns

Monitor growth:

Keep track of growth spurts by regularly measuring height (3 months) and looking for a

sudden increase

Growth spurt can last 18 to 24 months

Early in the stage, 10 & Under (Squirt), introduce general fitness framework

1. Warm-up

2. Rhythm and coordination runs both on and off the ice

3. Spatial awareness (jump distance with a number of changes in direction)

4. Rest and recovery (fuel breaks, meals, sleep)

5. Reaction time and agility

6. Focus on skill and execution

7. Cool down with short stretch and muscle rebalance – important because of rapid

growth of bones and soft tissues

Later in stage, 12 & Under (Peewee), same as 1-7 plus the following

8. More speed work

9. Explosive strength in upper and low body through jumping and gymnastic manuvers

10. Develop general lower body and core stability

11. More stretching at the end of training

12. Monitor the volume, intensity, quality and duration of training

Throughout the stage:

Develop strength - using exercises that incorporate the player’s own body weight, as

well as medicine balls and Swiss balls

Continue to develop endurance through small area games and relays and develop

flexibility through exercises

Speed can be developed by using activities that focus on agility, quickness and change

of direction – short duration, less than 5 seconds

Psychological Development:

This is the sampling stage; provide opportunities for the participant to try activities that focus

on fun, pleasure and socialization

Encourage goal setting that is process orientated:

Long-term goals (dream ahead)

Short-term goals based on skill development and not competitive results

Team Spirit; learn how to relate to different groups of peers

Important psychological skills to develop:

Development of abilities to concentrate

Development of visualization skills

Deliberate effort; the ability to deliver effort and enjoy the feeling of the effort

during the activity


Responsibility; the ability to associate joy with effort and competition

Success; the ability to take risk and accept failure as a normal occurrence of sport


Begin to introduce mental preparation

At this stage it is important to create an environment where participants want to play ice

hockey. Practices must be varied, interesting and fun so they will want to continue. It is

important to build interest in our sport, self confidence and an enjoyment of performing.

Training and Competitive Environment:

Formal competition can be introduced in this stage, although it must not divert the focus

from training. Competitions should be limited to the local geographic area. Competition

should be fun, and structured to address differences in training age and abilities. Athletes

should be recognized for their success and achievement. Training should include small-area

games to encourage the application of skill techniques in game play. Small-area games help

develop a player’s decision making abilities.

Training/Competition Ratio: 70% training, 10% competition specific training

(Exhibitions/Scrimmage Games), and 20% competition

Training Volume: 3 to 4 times hockey per week, with session length of 60 minutes at

10 & Under level.

Training Year: 4 weeks/month, 7 months/year – a double periodization calendar will

aid structuring and help maintain player interest.

Team Composition: Team composition will include a roster of 10-12 skaters and one

goaltender at 10 & Under. The physiological aptitudes of players at this age can easily

handle the playing requirements of competing every other shift. This will increase

each player’s individual puck touches within the competition and make the individual

game more productive in player development terms.

Team Structure: At 10 & Under, all players within the club should be grouped into

teams of like abilities at two different levels, with the overall focus on evenly

distributing the player ability pool across teams within in their skill level. Teams shall

be divided into two groups of equal abilities for competition purposes (top 50%;

bottom 50%). Training/practice sessions can include teams from both levels.

Competition format: This is the stage when club to club competition can be

introduced. Competitions are full ice for 10 & Under, with game length of 60 minutes.

Practice Plans and Information