The USA Hockey Coaching Education Program (CEP) has long been a leader across all youth sports in providing coaches with the knowledge and tools they need to be effective in coaching young players. Over the past decade though, that list of resources has continued to grow to a point where coaches have almost everything they need right at their fingertips.
Here’s a look at 12 resources USA Hockey provides (beyond CEP clinics and age modules) that help youth hockey coaches provide their players with a great learning environment.
ADM/LTAD Guides – When it comes to coaching, one of the most important components is knowing your age group. USA Hockey emphasizes age appropriate coaching throughout its CEP clinics and goes in-depth on the topic via its age modules, but the ADM/LTAD guides are a hidden gem as they outline details on physical, psychological, tactical and technical development at each age group.
Practice Plan(ner)s - Whether you’re looking for drill ideas or a quick, age-appropriate practice plan, USA Hockey has numerous practice plans for each age group that coaches can use drill-for-drill or as a reference point. Plus, USA Hockey’s recently launched practice planner guides include a quick summary of focal points for each age group, practice plans and suggestions for off-ice training.
Dryland Drills – A major point of emphasis over the past few years has been encouraging more youth teams to engage in off-ice training. In an effort to support coaches, USA Hockey provides off-ice training drills with instructional cards and videos to show how they’re done.
Mobile App – Easily the go-to resource for coaches today, the Mobile Coach app collects many of USA Hockey’s coaching resources on this list in one place. Plus, it offers several unique features including an activity tracker, a practice plan analyzer and the ability to design your own practice plans on your phone or desktop.
Goaltending Resources – The addition of an ADM Manager for Goaltending a few years ago led to the development of some fantastic goalie coaching resources (which continue to grow) including goalie coaching clinics, drills, skill progressions, goalie practice plans and much more. Check them out at www.usahockeygoaltending.com.
Small Area Games – Almost all coaches use small area games in some capacity. Yet, there’s still room to improve how they’re used as small area games can be adapted to teach any skill or concept in the game, and the USAH manuals and videos provide a great assortment of ideas for coaches.
Body Contact & Checking – As the game gets faster and faster, the way body contact and checking is used and taught continues to evolve. Unfortunately, this skill may be among the least practiced in today’s youth setting, despite its importance. This manual and videos offer great tips for teaching technique and providing drill concepts.
Online Rulebook – This may sound like a resource for officials, but coaches are expected to know the rules too. USA Hockey’s online rulebook makes it easy to double check rules that may vary by league (ex: MSHSL vs USA Hockey vs NCAA) such as faceoff locations, penalty options and more.
Skill Progression Manual – Ever wonder what skills you’re supposed to make sure kids know before they move onto the next age group? USA Hockey’s skill progressions manual has you covered as it outlines the sequence key skills, techniques and concepts at each age level.
ADM Drill of the Month – Even coaches at the upper levels of the game admit many of the drills they use were “stolen” from someone or somewhere else. Knowing this, USA Hockey serves up new drills each month for youth coaches to incorporate into their practices.
Learn to Skate – For many coaches who have played the game, it comes naturally to teach players about breakouts, forechecks, power play and penalty kill, but teaching a new player how to stand up and develop basic skating skills can be a bit daunting. USA Hockey offers a comprehensive learn to skate program with a full practice progression so every coach has confidence in helping provide new players with a solid foundation of skating skills.
YouTube – With videos of stick handling drills, dryland drills, goalie tips, small area games and much more, USA Hockey has a growing YouTube library that benefits coaches. Plus, if you can’t find it on the USA Hockey channel, chances are good someone else has posted a video to YouTube showing the skill, drill or concept you’re looking for.
For access to any of these resources, follow the embedded links above or visit www.usahockey.com/coaches.