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In-house Mite Program

COACHES ROLE

Your impression upon these youngsters is profound. How they relate to the game of hockey depends upon YOU. Your role is vital and heavy with responsibility.
  • Provide positive reinforcement; build confidence.
  • Emphasize skill development –skating, stick skills and a sense for the game.
  • Instill a passion for the game in your players.
  • Play within the rules…respect the game.
  • Make hockey FUN!

Practice Structure

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.

Practices have a preparatory phase followed by the main body of the practice. The main body of the practice session includes station work so that kids are developing their skills in an efficient manner. The recommended breakdown is with six stations so that there is enough variety to hold the interest of players at this age. Training should be structured so that a large part of the skill repetition is done in a games format. Players at all levels must be mentally engaged in order best acquire new skills. When skills repetition lacks an emotional element, children at this age quickly become bored. If the skills repetition is hidden in the form of a game, children are capable of extended periods of focused effort. Play is the key to emotional engagement in the skills repetition.
 
The six-station format should include the following breakdown:
  • 1 station is of ABC’s
  • 1 station of hockey competition, 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4
  • 1 station is on puck control skills
  • 1 station is of passing/shooting skills
  • 2 stations are devoted to specifically skating skills
Out of these six stations, two to three at least should be in a games format. Coaches also need to be mindful of the costs associated with quality ice time for the players and must always strive to maximize the learning environment. Keep explanation, demonstration and setup time to a minimum. The goal is to have the players actively participating in a drill within one minute of station rotation. This is not easy to do so preparation is a key. If you can divide setup and explanation time between multiple coaches, two jobs will get done in half the time.
 
It is a good practice to repeat one of the prescribed ice sessions twice in a row. Kids at this age like familiarity with the drills, the repetition is good and it helps the overall efficiency of the session. It is easier for the coaches the second time through.
 

Practice Plans

Please use these attachments to develop practice plans and identify development needs for our In-House Mite players. 

USA Hockey Practice Plan

The USA Hockey Coaching Department is proud to bring your a wide range of plans and materials to help you structure your practices.

Skills Challenge

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.