The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is very appropriate when it comes to providing a positive experience for our players. Hockey Canada’s Long Term Player Development model (LTPD) is a framework to maximize a player’s potential and long term involvement in sport over the course of their life. Ian Taylor, Director of Development for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association is here with us to discuss the important role Minor Hockey Associations provide in leading the education of parents and volunteers about the benefits of Long Term Player Development and identify the need for programs to incorporate LTPD philosophies.
Hockey Canada, the OMHA and our member associations will need to provide leadership to educate parents and volunteers about the benefits of LTPD and identify the need for programs to incorporate the following LTPD philosophies:
The first step is simply making the decision to always do the right thing for the player at the right stage in their development and where we view player development as a long term process.
This is where the rubber hits the road - minor hockey associations can then move forward creating a philosophy for the organization when it comes to player development. This philosophy can then be shared with players, parents and coaches. Coaches are key here as they must adopt and implement this philosophy into their seasonal plans. The coach selection process is also vitally important here.
The next step is to create consistency in what coaches are teaching. Hockey Canada has created a Core Skills curriculum for all age-groups – Initiation through Midget. This establishes the same approach as school curriculum - providing consistent age-specific programming that builds year over year. Finally, when developing a programming model, minor hockey associations need to make a priority of doing a great job with 5-12 year-old players (IP, Novice, Atom and Peewee). This is an ideal window to develop physical literacy and fundamental skills.
By implementing an organization-wide standardized technical curriculum and methodology for instruction, your association is building a foundation for athletes to enjoy the game of hockey and reach their potential. While it should be a goal of each team to be successful in their league, the player development process should be at the forefront of all team activities, and this development component must not be compromised.
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