One of the most important periods of motor development for children is between the ages of 9 and 12. This is a window of accelerated adaptation to motor coordination. Early specialization in hockey can be detrimental to later stages of skill development and to refinement of the fundamental sport skills. The three goals of this age group include refining basic skills, introduction to team tactics in a fun environment of learning.
In Atom, children are developmentally ready to acquire the general sports skills that are the cornerstone of all athletic development. Hockey Canada recommends that players in the Learning to Train stage continue to focus on the development and refinement of individual skills and individual tactics. Other sports to further develop the ABC's of physical literacy (Agility, Balance and Coordination) are encouraged in the off-season.
The Atom Program Recommends the Following Practice Time Allotment:
This section includes the age -appropriate framework for players in this age group. It also provides practical resources including Core Skills checklists, Player Evaluation and sample Practice Plans.