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

Coaches Crunch Numbers on Opening Day

08/22/2014, 7:00pm MDT
By USAHockey.com

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - An array of numbers and data served to the coaches here at day one of the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium made the video boards look like a slot machine.

Numbers on optimal training age windows, weight training repetitions, game systems breakdowns and more were the talk of the conference rooms at the J.W. Marriott.

Mark Tabrum, director of coaching with USA Hockey, said they day's programming represents the ever-changing landscape of hockey coaching.

"A reason why continuing education is important is because as things change we want to continue to do the right thing for coaches and players," Tabrum said. "The information tells us that's what we should be doing. As coaches heard today, playing other sports develops the athlete."

Dr. Stephen Norris, one of the world’s leading sport scientists, opened the day with his presentation on player development.

A full ballroom of coaches, many of which are also parents, soaked up the invaluable childhood development specifics, in what was an empowering and energizing start to the day.

Norris’ actionable insights emphasized building physical literacy in children, and ultimately building better athletes, through sports programming that takes into account long-term athlete development and age-specific windows of trainability. In the process, he saluted USA Hockey for its innovative youth hockey efforts.

“USA Hockey’s ADM is a phenomenal resource for doing what’s best for kids,” he said, emphasizing that the guiding principle of youth sports and coaching should be thinking about what’s in the best interest of the child.

“An 11-year-old is not half a 22-year-old,” he said, noting how we scale everything else from elementary school toilets to bicycles for young children, “so why not youth hockey?”

The concept aligned well with the previous night’s comments from Dean Lombardi, president and general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, who emphasized that hockey players don’t truly reach full maturity until approximate age 26. In other words, “let kids be kids.”

After his presentation, several coaches eagerly engaged with Norris in discussions about their own specific player- and child-development questions.

Following Norris, the theme turned to Xs and Os, as New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano took the stage for a presentation on the structure of systems. In his 60 minutes, he covered all the major concepts but gave special emphasis to one in particular.

“Too often, breakouts are never taught as a system, and to me, they are one of the most crucial systems,” he said. “Because if you can’t break it out, you’re in your own zone all night.”

In his dissection of breakouts, and their transition into attacking, he discussed the importance of having every player involved, including defensemen, whose jobs aren’t done after completing the first pass, according to Capuano. He emphasized the value in having them jump into the attack after moving the puck.

“With the rule changes and the speed of these players today, you have to play the game with five guys now. You have to work as a unit of five.”

After Capuano’s film-study session, attendees divided into age-specific breakouts with ADM regional managers, where they covered topics ranging from mental toughness to goaltending to practice planning and beyond.

Tabrum said the symposium's topics are carefully crafted to keep the four-day event a constant challenge to the attendees.

"We try to challenge coaches to think in a different light about these topics that maybe you haven't thought of before," he said.

Recent News

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - An array of numbers and data served to the coaches here at day one of the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium made the video boards look like a slot machine.

Numbers on optimal training age windows, weight training repetitions, game systems breakdowns and more were the talk of the conference rooms at the J.W. Marriott.

Mark Tabrum, director of coaching with USA Hockey, said they day's programming represents the ever-changing landscape of hockey coaching.

"A reason why continuing education is important is because as things change we want to continue to do the right thing for coaches and players," Tabrum said. "The information tells us that's what we should be doing. As coaches heard today, playing other sports develops the athlete."

Dr. Stephen Norris, one of the world’s leading sport scientists, opened the day with his presentation on player development.

A full ballroom of coaches, many of which are also parents, soaked up the invaluable childhood development specifics, in what was an empowering and energizing start to the day.

Norris’ actionable insights emphasized building physical literacy in children, and ultimately building better athletes, through sports programming that takes into account long-term athlete development and age-specific windows of trainability. In the process, he saluted USA Hockey for its innovative youth hockey efforts.

“USA Hockey’s ADM is a phenomenal resource for doing what’s best for kids,” he said, emphasizing that the guiding principle of youth sports and coaching should be thinking about what’s in the best interest of the child.

“An 11-year-old is not half a 22-year-old,” he said, noting how we scale everything else from elementary school toilets to bicycles for young children, “so why not youth hockey?”

The concept aligned well with the previous night’s comments from Dean Lombardi, president and general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, who emphasized that hockey players don’t truly reach full maturity until approximate age 26. In other words, “let kids be kids.”

After his presentation, several coaches eagerly engaged with Norris in discussions about their own specific player- and child-development questions.

Following Norris, the theme turned to Xs and Os, as New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano took the stage for a presentation on the structure of systems. In his 60 minutes, he covered all the major concepts but gave special emphasis to one in particular.

“Too often, breakouts are never taught as a system, and to me, they are one of the most crucial systems,” he said. “Because if you can’t break it out, you’re in your own zone all night.”

In his dissection of breakouts, and their transition into attacking, he discussed the importance of having every player involved, including defensemen, whose jobs aren’t done after completing the first pass, according to Capuano. He emphasized the value in having them jump into the attack after moving the puck.

“With the rule changes and the speed of these players today, you have to play the game with five guys now. You have to work as a unit of five.”

After Capuano’s film-study session, attendees divided into age-specific breakouts with ADM regional managers, where they covered topics ranging from mental toughness to goaltending to practice planning and beyond.

Tabrum said the symposium's topics are carefully crafted to keep the four-day event a constant challenge to the attendees.

"We try to challenge coaches to think in a different light about these topics that maybe you haven't thought of before," he said.

Most Popular Articles

ADM Spurring Growth For Maine Gladiators

09/02/2015, 3:00pm MDT
By Mike Scandura - Special to USAHockey.com

Gladiators strive to develop hockey players for life through proper youth development

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

Tag(s): Home  News  Level 5 Symposium