Diving deeper into development
by Derek O'Brien|23 OCT 2020
photo: Viscompark
When the IIHF launched its new Development Hub a couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to one of the key components of the Player Development Guide – the Drill Hub. 

However, that is just one of many sections the Guide contains. In order to provide its members with the resources to create a comprehensive sport development plan, the IIHF created new resources governing Standards of Behaviour and Physical Development and Planning

“All of those relate to creating the right type of environment to support the optimal development of the players,” said IIHF Membership Development Manager Aku Nieminen. 

The Standards of Behaviour section includes a series of downloads entitled “Ten Golden Rules” for players, coaches, officials, parents, and administrators involved in ice hockey. While each list puts a different focus on the specific role that everyone plays, there is one common thread that binds them, and that is respect for everyone involved as well as the rules of the game. For example, the 10th rule of each list is aimed at refraining from alcohol before or during hockey games, which is a no-brainer for players and coaches but also a good rule for parents attending games. 

The Physical Development section is aimed at coaches, providing them with information and guidelines for coaches to develop appropriate training programs. Sections include Physical Qualities, Training Seasons, Conditioning, Differences in Training for Girls and Boys, Individualization and Reduction of Overuse Injuries and were designed in cooperation with the Vierumäki Sport Institute in Finland.

The Physical Qualities section features the Youth Physical Training Model, which shows that the first things to be focused on at the earliest ages are the Fundamental Movement Skills – such as running, jumping, balance and coordination – before moving onto other areas such as mobility, agility, speed, strength, power and Sports Specific Skills. There are models for both boys and girls which are similar but not identical. 

Training Seasons offers detailed off-season, pre-season and in-season training plans for different age groups. In the early and intermediate stages of development, allowance is given for time dedicated to playing other sports. 

“A lot of research shows that a multi-sport background brings many benefits,” said Nieminen. “It is important to have not just good hockey players, but good overall athletes.” 

The Planning section is not just about planning for the practice, but also executing and then evaluating afterwards with the Plan-Do-Review model.

“The Plan-Do-Review cycle is a simple framework for designing youth activities to ensure maximum fun, effectiveness and learning,” said Johan Bollue, Sports Leagues Director of the Royal Belgian Ice Hockey Federation who was involved in the Learn to Play manual and Player Development Guide. “Everyone involved in the youth group can be involved in the Plan-Do-Review cycle, including junior players, volunteers and other leaders.

“Use an Activity tracker to measure the outcome of the practice and create awareness of what's really going on in practice,” Bollue advises. 

“Throughout the years in Vierumäki we evaluated more than 1200 practices and we learned that the average backward skating time in a 50-minute practice is one minute, 20 seconds and the number of shots taken in practice is 12. These ‘poor’ results need attention and organization to make sure the players get enough repetitions and develop in all fundamental skills to become a better hockey player.”

The General Information download gives advice on how to plan a full season as well as an individual practice, and the Checklist gives a detailed list of objectives for a practice. There are also two Practice Plan Templates and a Rink Diagram.  

Find the IIHF Development Hub in the website menu or by entering development.iihf.com in your browser.