Skating is a primary skill for ice hockey and although players must continue to master skating technique throughout their career, there must be a special emphasis place on the ABC elements of skating in the early years of development. Players at the Mite age have a harder time processing technical skills instruction and their bodies lack some of the fine motor control required. At this age large muscle groups and multiple joint movements should be incorporated into the practice sessions. Agility, balance and coordination (A, B, C’s) on the ice surface are at the foundation of LTAD for Mites.
A player’s enjoyment of the game will be a direct result of how well they master the basic hockey skills. The “Skill Challenge” provides a guide as well as a measure as to how well a player is doing and the areas needing work. Practice makes permanent. Teach your player the proper techniques. Most importantly you are a skill instructor and not a drill instructor.
Practice the basic skills at every practice. Using the “Skills Challenge” checklist, plan your season so that you cover each of the skills. Use the “Skills Challenge” to communicate with the parents of your team. In the long run it is not your win-loss record that really counts, but whether or not you have been able to help your players learn and develop. Practice can be FUN if your players continue to get better.