Skill Progressions For Player And Coach Development

Sportsmanship, enjoyment, recreation and competition are the major focus of the skill progressions for youth hockey. USA Hockey-recommended skill progressions encourage an environment in which youth players can learn the basic skills, master these skills and have fun while developing a life-long interest in hockey.

Squirt level Pee Wee level Bantam level Midget Level

Players should continue to master all of the skills for the previously mentioned levels, as they progress to a new one

Knowledge
Players should know:
  1. Rules
    • face-offs
    • off-sides
    • icing
    • checking from behind
  2. Common Infractions
    • unsportsmanlike conduct
    • body checking
    • cross checking
    • charging
    • elbowing
    • falling on the puck
    • high sticking
    • holding
    • hooking
    • interference
    • tripping
  3. Penalties
    • minor
    • major
    • match
Knowledge
Players should know:
  1. Rules
    • face-offs
    • off-sides
    • icing
    • body checking
    • checking from behind
  2. Common Infractions
    • unsportsmanlike conduct
    • boarding
    • body checking
    • cross checking
    • charging
    • cross checking
    • elbowing
    • falling on the puck
    • high sticking
    • holding
    • hooking
    • interference
    • kneeing
    • interference
    • tripping
  3. Penalties
    • minor
    • major
    • match
    • misconduct
    • penalty shot
    • checking from behind

Knowledge
Players should know:

1. Rules

  • face-offs
  • checking
  • checking from behind
  • player conduct

2. Common Infractions

  • kneeing
  • high sticking
  • charging
  • boarding
  • checking from behind
  • slashing

3. Penalties

  • misconduct
  • penalty shot
 

Knowledge
Players should know:

  1. Rules
    • checking
    • hitting from behind
  2. Common Infractions
    • slashing
    • hitting from behind
    • charging
    • boarding
    • unsportsmanlike conduct
    • interference
    • holding
  3. Penalties
    • penalty shot
    • misconduct
    • match
    • order how combined penalties are served
    • fighting
    • attempt to injure
 
Goal Setting
Players should:
  1. Establish specific and measurable performance goals that are written, shared with their coaches and parents, and revised on a regular basis to promote development.
    Example: To develop game and rink awareness during practices and games. Be on-side for all rushing drills during practice as well as all offensive rushes during a game.
  2. Divide performance goals into two categories:
    • practice
    • game
  3. Be able to engage in evaluations of your performance at practices and games. Re-adjust game and practice goals based on those evaluations.
Goal Setting
Players should:
  1. Establish specific and measurable performance goals that are written, shared with their coaches and parents and revised on a regular basis to promote development.
    Example: To develop skate saves in a goalkeeper. With a designated shooter, be able to save seven out of 10 shots successfully using the skate save technique.
  2. Divide performance goals into broad categories. Daily tasks should then be planned based on the goals set:
    • long term - one season
    • intermediate - 6 - 10 games or practices
    • short term - 1 - 5 games or practices
  3. Be able to engage in evaluations of your performance at practices and games. Re-adjust goals based on those evaluations.
  4. Set goals that encompass a variety of areas in your development including skills, tactics, fitness and team play.
  5. Demonstrate external motivation.
    Example:
    • show intensity during practices and games
    • be attentive and dedicated to training

Goal Setting
Players should:

  1. Set written goals that encompass a variety of areas in
    their development including skills, tactics, fitness and team play.
  2. Demonstrate external motivation.
    Examples:
    -- show intensity during practices and games
    -- be attentive and dedicated to training
  3. Have written goals and a plan of action demonstrating
    a detailed approach to training. Practice good habits in nutrition,
    overall health and practice performance.
  4. Participate in a fitness program which includes training for
    both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems as well as strength training.
  5. Consider keeping a daily training log book which includes:
    -- practice goals
    -- note your pre- and post-practice attitude
    -- note your pre- and post-game attitude
    -- record your positive self talk for the day
    -- nutrition record
 

Goal Setting
Players should:

  1. Establish specific and measurable performance goals that are written, shared with their coach and revised on a regular basis to promote development.
    Example: to develop one time in shooting. Be able to one time successfully 7 shots out of 10 shots.
  2. Divide performance goals into broad categories. Daily tasks should then be planned on the goals set
    • long term - one season
    • intermediate - 6-10 games or practices
    • short term - 1-5 games or practices
  3. Be able to engage in evaluations of your performance at practices and games. Re-adjust goals based on those evaluations.
  4. Set goals that encompass a variety of areas in your development including skills, tactics, fitness and team play.
  5. Demonstrate external motivation.
    Example:
    • show intensity during practices and games
    • be attentive and dedicated to train
    • show evidence of independence as a player
  6. Have a written plan to demonstrate a systematic approach to training. Practice good habits in nutrition and overall good health.
  7. Use a training log book to keep track of your performance goals, nutrition habits and mental preparation.
Individual Hockey Skills
Players must learn and master:
  1. Skating
    • edge control
    • ready position
    • forward start
    • forward start right/left
    • forward stride
    • control stop
    • one-foot stop
    • backward skating
    • backward stop
    • control turn
    • forward crossover
    • backward crossover
    • mohawk
    • lateral skating
  2. Puck Control
    • lateral side-to-side dribble
    • forward-to-backward dribble
    • diagonal dribble
    • attacking the triangle
    • forehand shift
    • backhand shift
    • change of pace
    • puck protection
    • give and take
    • accelerating with puck
  3. Passing and Receiving
    • forehand
    • backhand
    • flip - saucer pass (forehand and backhand)
    • receiving (stick)
    • receiving (skate)
    • indirect (board) pass
  4. Shooting
    • wrist
    • backhand
    • flip
    • screen and deflection
    • rebounding
  5. Checking
    • poke check
    • hook check
    • lift the stick check
    • covering
    • gap control concept
    • body positioning - angling
  6. Goalkeeping
    • basic stance
    • parallel shuffle
    • lateral t-glide
    • forward and backward moves
    • stick save
    • body save
    • glove save
    • leg save
    • skate save
    • stacking pads
    • "V" drop
    • rebounds
Individual Hockey Skills
Players must learn and master:
  1. Skating
    • edge control
    • ready position
    • forward start right/left
    • forward stride
    • one-foot stop
    • backward skating
    • forward crossover
    • backward crossover
    • mohawk
    • lateral skating
    • backward crossunder start
    • backward two-skate stop
    • backward power stop (one skate)
  2. Puck Control
    • forehand shift
    • backhand shift
    • change of pace
    • slip through
    • slip across
    • puck off the boards
    • puck protection
    • give and take
    • backward puck control
  3. Passing and Receiving
    • forehand
    • backhand
    • snap
    • receiving with the stick
    • receiving with the skate
    • receiving with the hand
    • surround the puck
    • one-touch pass
    • indirect (board) pass
    • flip - saucer pass (forehand and backhand)
    • wrap around
    • breakout
    • alley-oop
  4. Shooting
    • wrist
    • backhand
    • snap
    • flip
    • slap
    • fake shot
    • rebounding
    • tipping
  5. Checking
    • poke check
    • hook check
    • stick press
    • lift the stick check
    • covering
    • receiving a check
    • shoulder check
    • angling - steering - deflecting
    • gap control
  6. Goalkeeping
    • parallel shuffle
    • lateral t-glide
    • forward and backward moves
    • glove save
    • leg save
    • skate save
    • stacking save
    • "V" drop
    • playing the angles
    • rebounds
    • situations
Individual Hockey Skills
Players must learn and master:
  1. Skating
    -- quickness
    -- speed
    -- agility
    -- power
  2. Puck Control
    -- change of pace
    -- slip through
    -- slip across
    -- slip around
    -- fake shot
    -- spin around
    -- stop and go
    -- grand stand
    -- puck protection
  3. Passing and Receiving
    -- surround the puck
    -- receiving (skate)
    -- receiving (hand)
    -- one-touch pass
    -- indirect (board) pass
    -- flip - saucer pass (forehand and backhand)
    -- alley-oop
    -- breakout
    -- wrap around
  4. Shooting
    -- wrist
    -- backhand
    -- snap
    -- flip
    -- slap
    -- one-timer
    -- tipping
    -- rebounding
    -- approach to net
    -- close in shots (yo-yo pull, roof)
  5. Checking
    -- covering
    -- gap control
    -- angling
    -- shoulder check
    -- taking a check
    -- hip check
    -- body check
    -- block check
    -- roll check
    -- backchecking
    -- angling - steering - deflecting
  6. Goalkeeping
    -- skate save
    -- stacking the pads
    -- "V" drop
    -- playing angles
    -- rebounds
    -- situations
    -- moving behind the net
    -- stopping the puck along the boards
    -- poke checking
 

Individual Hockey Skills
Players must learn and master:

  1. Skating
    • all the skills mentioned in the above levels and add power, speed, quickness and agility.
    • forward reverse stepout
  2. Puck Control
    • fake shot
    • spin around
    • slip around
    • double shift
    • stop and go
    • grandstand
    • change of pace
    • puck protection
  3. Passing and Receiving
    • surround the puck
    • snap
    • receiving (skate)
    • receiving (hand)
    • block and drop
    • one touch pass
    • flip - saucer pass (forehand and backhand)
    • wrap around
    • breakout
    • alley-oop
  4. Shooting
    • wrist
    • backhand
    • snap
    • flip
    • slap
    • one timer
    • inside shot
    • drive shot
    • roofing
  5. Checking
    • covering
    • taking a check
    • shoulder check
    • hip check
    • angling
    • body check
    • positioning
    • closing the gap
    • pinning
    • backchecking
    • body position
    • contain/stall
    • block check
    • roll check
  6. Goal Keeping
    • playing angles
    • situations
    • rebound control
    • moving behind the net
    • stopping the puck along the boards
    • poke checking
    • positioning
    • face-offs
    • deflection and screens
    • play at the post
    • clearing/passing
Team Play
Players must understand and learn:
  1. Offense
    • positional offense
    • offense in the defensive zone
    • offense in the offensive zone
    • face-offs
    • one-on-one confrontations
    • triangle offense
    • box offense
    • entering the zone
  2. Defense
    • territorial defense
    • one-man forechecking
    • two-man forechecking
    • backchecking principles
    • basic defensive zone coverage
Team Play
Players should understand and learn:
  1. Offense
    • offense in the defensive zone
    • offense in the neutral zone
    • offense in the offensive zone
    • power play systems
    • face-offs
    • one-on-one confrontations
    • two-on-one confrontations
    • entering the zone
  2. Defense
    • territorial defense
    • one-man forechecking
    • two-man forechecking
    • backchecking
    • center-on-point defensive coverage
    • wings-on-point defensive coverage
    • man-short situations
    • one-on-one confrontations
    • shot blocking

Team Play
Players should understand and learn:

  1. Offense
    -- offense in defensive zone
    -- offense in neutral zone
    -- offense in offensive zone
    -- power play systems
    -- face-offs
    -- principles: pressure, transition, support, control
    -- triangulation
    -- cycling
  2. Defense
    -- one-man forecheck
    -- two-man forecheck
    -- backchecking (neutral zone)
    -- center-on-point defensive coverage
    -- wings-on-point defensive coverage
    -- man-short situations
    -- principles: pressure, transition, support, control
    -- defense in defensive zone
    -- defense in neutral zone
    -- boxing out
 

Team Play
Player should understand and learn:

  1. Offense
    • offense in the defensive zone
    • offense in the neutral zone
    • offense in the offensive zone
    • power play systems
    • face-offs
    • transition
    • support
    • puck control
    • dump ins
    • wide rim
    • cycling
    • attacking the zone
  2. Defense
    • one man forecheck
    • two man forecheck
    • backchecking (neutral zone)
    • center on point defensive coverage
    • wing on point defensive coverage
    • man short situations
    • pressure
    • stall/contain
    • support
    • transition
    • zone coverage
    • man to man coverage
    • backside coverage
    • sagging coverage
    • shot blocking
Nutrition
Players should:
  1. Understand the importance of proper hydration before, during and after all practices and games.
  2. For evening practices and games, eat a normal breakfast and lunch; Before the game or practice, eat a light snack; After the game or practice, eat a meal.
  3. For early morning games and practices, eat lightly at breakfast. After practices or the game, eat a snack.
  4. For tournaments, if you play more than one game on the same day or several games in successive days, emphasize foods that are high in carbohydrate (fruit, hot or cold cereal, pancakes, cold meats, soup, rice, pasta) while avoiding those foods with a high sugar content.
Nutrition
Players should:
  1. Understand the importance of hydration before, during and after practices and games.
  2. For evening practices and games, eat a normal breakfast and lunch; Before the game or practice, eat a light snack; After the game or practice, eat a meal.
  3. For early morning games and practices, eat lightly at breakfast. After practice or the game, eat a snack.
  4. For tournaments, if you play more than one game on the same day or several games in successive days, emphasize foods that are high in carbohydrates (fruit, hot or cold cereal, pancakes, cold meats, soup, rice, pasta) while avoiding those foods with a high sugar content.
  5. Be able to identify the appropriate amount and type of food from the four basic food groups.
Nutrition
Players should:
  1. Be able to identify the appropriate amount and type of food from the four basic food groups.
  2. Be able to make wise decisions about what to eat before, during and after games and practices.
  3. Be able to devise and follow a daily eating plan that consists of sound nutritional choices to enhance athletic performance.
  4. Players must know to drink fluids before, during and after games and practices. Additionally, they need to know which fluids work best:
    Before games/practices: water
    During games/practices: water, sports drink, diluted juice
    After games/practices: water, sports drink, juice
Nutrition
Players should:
  1. Be able to identify the appropriate amount and types of food from the four basic food groups.
  2. Be able to make wise decisions about what to eat before, during and after games and practices.
  3. Be able to devise and follow a daily eating plan that consists of sound nutritional choices to enhance athletic performance.
  4. Players must know to drink fluids before, during and after games and practices. Additionally, they need to know which fluids work best:
    • Before games/practices: water
    • During games/practices: water, sports drink, diluted juice
    • After games/practices: water, sports drink, juice
  5. Eat four or five small meals on game day rather than two or three large meals.
  6. Allow two to six hours for digestion and absorption of food before competition. Follow these general guidelines:

The Four Basic Food Groups  ~  Eat A Variety of Foods From Each Group Every Day

Food Group Servings
Per Day
Food Sources
Meats & Alternative 2-4 Lean meat, fish, liver, poultry (skin removed), low-fat cheeses, eggs, peas, beans, nuts
Milk Products 2-6 Low-fat or fat-free milk and cheeses, cottage cheese, yogurt, sherbet, ice milk, fruit shakes
Grain Products 8-15 Whole grain and enriched cereals and breads, pasta, pancakes, steamed or boiled rice, crackers, bagels, muffins
Fruits & Vegetables 8-15 Fruits and vegetables - fresh, dried, frozen, canned and in juices

Time To Digest Meals

Large Meals 3 to 4 hours
Small Meals 2 to 3 hours
Blender/Liquid Meal 1 to 2 hours

*Note: meals high in fat or protein will take longer to digest than carbohydrate ones.

Fitness and Training
Players should learn:
  • warm-up exercises
  • cool down exercises
  • stretching exercises
  • flexibility exercises
  • agility exercises
  • balance activities and exercises
  • eye-hand coordination activities
  • fun games
  • relays
  • jump rope activities
Fitness and Training
Players should learn:
  • light calisthenics
  • balance exercises
  • flexibility exercises
  • agility exercises
  • coordination exercises
  • quickness activities
  • team games
  • sprint workouts
  • relays and obstacle course activities
  • upper body strength; body resistant activities only
  • dryland skill development
    • slideboard
    • puck handling with whiffle ball
    • shooting range
    • passing
Fitness and Training
Players should learn:
  • overloading principles
  • flexibility exercises
  • speed workouts
  • strength workouts
  • aerobic workouts
  • anaerobic workouts
  • off-ice skill development
    -- slide board
    -- puckhandling with whiffle ball
    -- shooting range
  • set realistic goals to improve weaknesses
  • understand the importance of improving athleticism
Fitness and Training
Players should learn:
  1. Fitness and training components
    • overloading
    • flexibility
    • speed/quickness workouts
    • strength workouts
    • power workouts
    • aerobic workouts
    • anaerobic workouts
    • set realistic goals to improve weak areas
    • understand the importance of improving athleticism
  2. Have a clear understanding of the purpose for each training phase prior to implementing them:

    A. Post Season Recovery

    • active rest
    • recovery
    B. Spring Conditioning
    • aerobic endurance
    • muscular endurance
    • begin sprint workout
    C. Summer Strength
    • muscular strength
    • increase muscle mass
    • continue sprint workouts
    D. Early Fall Speed/Power
    • sprint
    • begin anaerobic endurance intervals
    • leg power: weights and plyometrics
    • upper body strength
    E. Pre-Season Anaerobic Conditioning
    • sprints and anaerobic endurance
    • muscular strength
    • leg power (speed/strength)
    • upper body strength (without weights)
    • lower body power (sprints and plyometrics)
    F. In Season
    • maintain upper and lower body strength (with and without weights)
Injury Prevention
Players should be introduced to:
  • Heads Up Hockey program
  • proper care of equipment
  • proper fitting of equipment
  • rink safety
  • safety precautions for practice
  • the importance of warm-up, stretching and cool-down
Injury Prevention
Players should know:
  • Heads Up Hockey program
  • the proper care of equipment
  • the proper fitting of equipment
  • rink safety
  • safety precautions for practices
  • the importance of warm-up, stretching and cool-down
  • the concept of RICE for treating injuries:
       R rest
       I ice
       C compression
       E elevation

Injury Prevention
Players should know:

  • Heads Up Hockey program
  • safety precautions for practice
  • the importance of warm-up, stretching and cooldown
  • the concept of RICE for treating injuries:
       R rest
       I ice
       C compression
       E elevation
 
Injury Prevention
Players should know:
  • the Heads Up Hockey program
  • safety precautions for practice
  • the importance of warm-up, stretching and cool down
  • proper care of equipment
  • that proper fitness and conditioning is a key element in preventing injuries as well as improving athletic performance and understand the concept of R.I.C.E. for treating injuries:
       R rest
       I ice
       C compression
       E elevation
Sports Psychology
Players should be taught to:
  1. Understand the difference in being relaxed and tense.
  2. Understand that making mistakes is common and part of sports.
  3. Understand the benefits and the use of positive reinforcement. Realize that positive comments help reduce stress, enhance self image, enhance the team's image, and can increase the enjoyment of games and practices.
Sports Psychology
Players should:
  1. Understand the benefits of and the use of positive comments. Realize that positive comments help reduce stress, enhance self image, enhance the team's image, and can increase the enjoyment of games and practices.
  2. Understand the benefits and use of positive self talk.
  3. Understand basic visualization skills (i.e., picture scoring a goal or making a big save).

Sports Psychology
Players should:

  1. Understand basic visualization skills (i.e., picture scoring a goal or making a big save).
  2. Develop a pre-game routine.
  3. Learn relaxation exercises.
  4. Develop an air of confidence, good body posture and appear in emotional control at all times.
  5. Focus on things you can control and give 100% effort at all times.
  6. Understand the benefits of and use of positive self-talk at the rink. Realize that positive comments help reduce stress, enhance self-image and can increase "fun" at practices and games.
  7. Be able to control your breathing patterns in difficult and tense situations during games and practices.
 
Sports Psychology
Players should:
  1. Understand basic visualization skills (i.e., can picture breaking up a 2 on 1 or making a great pass).
  2. Develop a pre-game and post game routine.
  3. Learn and practice relaxation exercises.
  4. Develop an air of confidence, good body posture and appear in emotional control at all times.
  5. Focus on things you can control and give 100% at all times.
  6. Understand the benefits of and use of positive self-talk at the rink: Realize that positive comments help reduce stress, enhance self-image and can increase "fun" at practices and games.
  7. Be able to control your breathing patterns in difficult and intense situations during games and practices.
  8. Understand the importance of keeping competition in the proper perspective.
  9. Take mistakes as a challenge to improve and learn.
  10. Never allow setbacks to interfere with long range goals.
Character Development and Life Skills
Players must learn to:
  • demonstrate high levels of sportsmanship
  • to have respect for their teammates, coaches. opponents, officials and parents
  • demonstrate an ability to balance school and outside activities
  • be on time for games and practices
  • understand only they can "Just Say No" to drugs and other harmful substances
Character Development and Life Skills
Players must learn to:
  • have respect for their teammates, coaches, opponents, officials and parents
  • demonstrate an ability to balance school and outside activities
  • be on time for games and practices
  • understand only they can "Just Say No" to drugs and other harmful substances.
  • understand and take responsibility for their performance at games, practices and school.
  • not be influenced by the negative behavior or actions of teammates

Character Development and Life Skills
Players must learn:

  • to realize the importance of honesty and integrity in and away from the arena.
  • to accept responsibility for your actions and athletic performance.
  • coping strategies to deal with peer pressures.
  • the ability to balance school, social activities, sports and family.
  • to develop a sense of team commitment.
  • the meaning of adversity.
  • to cope with adversity.
Character Development and Life Skills
Players must learn to:
  • realize the importance of honesty and integrity in and away from the arena
  • learn to accept responsibility for your actions and athletic performance
  • learn coping strategies to deal with peer pressure
  • ability to balance school, social activity, sports and family
  • develop a sense of team commitment
  • not abuse controlled substance and participate in anti-drug programs
  • appreciate the benefits received from hockey and be willing to give back to the sport
  • learn the meaning of adversity
  • learn to cope with adversity and to meet challenges head on

This is a compilation of multiple documents from the USA Hockey Website.