Age-Appropriate Training Tips from Team USA Assistant Coach Kline Donley

USA Blind Hockey Brief – Athletes, no matter the sport, require consistent training in order to see growth in their desired areas and to maintain the skills and strength needed to stay competitive. However, an athlete in their youth years will see improvements in different areas than a teenager, who will have differences from an adult. This is why it is essential that coaches, parents, and even the athletes learn the training that best suits them, based on their age.

USA Hockey follows a program called the American Development Model (ADM). ADM is a specific technique that outlines how athletes should train and where their focus should be depending on the age of the athlete. It is a seven-step process that USA Hockey has proven to be the most effective curriculum to develop the best athlete possible for both males and females. The stages of ADM are: (1) Active start; (2) Fundamentals; (3) Learn to Train; (4) Train to Train; (5) Learn to Compete; (6) Train to Compete; and (7) Train to Win. The graphic below goes into detail about everything from what ages each step covers, to basic strategies regarding the process that each age group should follow, to what a typical season should look like for each age group. Key information from the graphic is also available here.

As we all grow the sport of blind hockey, it is important that we are able to include athletes of all ages. Blind hockey in the United States and other countries has an age range that is very diverse and as more teams, players and countries begin to play the best sport in the world, it is important that we have the knowledge we need to produce the best players possible. As coaches, parents and experienced athletes, it is imperative that we are the best coaches, teachers and influencers we can be for the specific age group we are working with; an 8 year old kid learning to skate needs much different attention than a teenage player who has been on the ice for multiple years. We have all the tools at our fingertips and because of that we have the opportunity to speed up the process of developing blind hockey players and create hockey players for life.
For more details about the American Development Model and access to the related coaching and development tools, visit

Categories: Training

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