page contents
skip navigation
Home Players & Parents Coaches Officials Team USA Membership Safety About Help

TAKE 5 with USA Hockey’s Roger Grillo

07/14/2014, 4:15pm MDT

When our youth athletes strive to achieve their personal best, victory is won on and off the ice. Encouraging our kids to set individual goals and focus on maximum personal effort benefits both the player and the team – in a variety of ways.

Athletes who come to realize that personal development can be even more rewarding than a win are mastery-focused athletes who build the confidence and initiative needed to succeed – in sports and in life.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports sat down with USA Hockey coach Roger Grillo to get his thoughts on personal bests, personal statistics and personal records.

In our exclusive TAKE 5 interview, Roger, who also serves as regional manager of the American Development Model for USA Hockey, told us that he views hockey statistics and records simply as “part of the game.” The key, said Roger, lies in the amount of emphasis that is applied to these parts.

“The key for the younger athlete is who is making a big deal out of them,” said Roger. “In my experience, if the adults make too much of a big deal out of statistics, then they can become a real negative. Too much focus away from just having fun and competing, and focusing on the end results and not the process and journey of development, is when the statistics of the game become a real problem.”

Roger said he believes that all hockey players at all levels are “very aware” of their statistics. When it comes to youth players, Roger believes adults should “let the players keep track of where they are, and not make a big deal out of them.”

When it comes to what adults in youth hockey should make a big deal out of, Roger told us that he has a few main goals and points of emphasis as a youth coach.

“For me, a coach’s main goals are passion, fun and development,” said Roger. “Are your players getting better with their skill development and are they having fun doing it? Let’s remember it is a game and it is meant to be fun!”

Roger added that if he could encourage young hockey players to focus on just one particular personal statistic, it would be quite similar.

“The only stat I would be concerned with for young athletes would be the fun factor,” said Roger. “Do they enjoy practice, are they enjoying their experience and do they want to stay in the sport for the long haul?”

To read the full TAKE 5 interview with Roger, visit And come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 interview!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility shown by people every day. We created Responsible Sports, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display responsibility. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Recent News

Most Popular Articles

TRENDING: Right-Sized Youth Sports

09/01/2015, 9:15am MDT
By USA Hockey

Sept. 1, 2015 | More than 40,000 spectators, plus a national television audience, watched the Little League World Series this past Sunday on a glorious afternoon in Pennsylvania. There were smiles, cheers, entertainment and the noticeable absence of demand for those 12- and 13-year-olds to pitch from 60 feet, six inches or run 90 feet between the bases like their professional baseball heroes.

Right-sized baseball and softball fields, along with age-appropriate rule modifications, have been accepted wisdom in youth baseball for more than 50 years.

Coincidentally, while Little League was paring to its finalists, U.S. Soccer announced a nationwide initiative to improve youth skill development. The centerpiece was a shift to small-sided game formats and field sizes to be phased in across the country by August 2017. As part of the new plan, American soccer at U6, U7 and U8 will be played 4v4 on a pitch approximately one-eighth the size of an adult soccer field. Nine- and 10-year-olds will play 7v7 on a one-quarter-scale pitch. Not until age 13 will players begin competing 11v11 on a regulation adult-sized pitch.

“Our number one goal is to improve our players down the road, and these initiatives will help us do that,” said Tab Ramos, U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director. “In general, we would like for players to be able to process information faster, and when they are in this (new) environment, they are going to learn to do that. Fast forward 10 years, and there are thousands of game situations added to a player’s development.”

With this change, American soccer will join sports like baseball, basketball, hockey and tennis, all of which have embraced the skill-development benefits of age-appropriate playing dimensions and competition formats (see chart below).

Those benefits are at the core of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, which was recently praised by the Sports Business Journal as a “trailblazing program.”

Segmenting Your Season

08/25/2015, 1:15pm MDT
By Michael Caples

Develop Talent and Character with Danton Cole

08/25/2015, 1:00pm MDT
By Dan Marrazza

Tag(s): Home  Players & Parents  News  News & Features