Kevin Neeld — Hockey Training, Sports Performance, & Sports Science

Sample Youth Off-Ice Training Programs

A couple days ago, I posted the step-by-step process I go through at the beginning of every season to design the off-ice training programs for an entire youth organization. If you missed that post, I’d encourage you to check it out here: Developing A Youth In-Season Hockey Training Model

Today I just wanted to follow up with a few sample training sessions for each of the three groups. The purpose here isn’t to necessarily give you a program that you can print and follow on your own (although I do post all of our youth programs for every group every month for Ultimate Hockey Training Insider’s!), but to provide a real-world illustration of the process and concepts discussed in the preceding post.

Group A: 8-11 years old

*AMRAP = As Many Reps As Possible

Group B: 12-14 years old

Group C: 15-18 years old

At this point I think it’s important to emphasize that these can be thought of as training templates more so than training programs. All of our coaches (I’m extremely fortunate to work with an AWESOME staff) know how to regress or alter exercises based on an individual’s specific situation. As a few examples:

  1. Group A: Lighter med balls can be used for players that may not possess the strength to accelerate heavier ones
  2. Group A: A Vertical Jump w/ Stick could be regressed to a Drop Squat w/ Stick or simply a Body Weight Squat to help reinforce proper landing mechanics
  3. Group B: Slideboard Hamstring Curl can be regressed to a Glute Bridge On Foam Roller
  4. Group B: Feet Elevated Front Plank could be regressed to a regular Front Plank or even a Front Plank w/ Forearms Elevated
  5. Group B: Suspended Rows can be regressed by having the individual walk their feet away from the attachment of the handles so their body is more vertical/upright
  6. Group C: DB Reverse Lunge can be regressed to a DB Split Squat
  7. Group C: Landmine Rotations can be regressed to unweighted or bent-elbow variations
  8. Group C: Front Squat can be regressed to Goblet Squat

Those are just a few examples for each group, but just about every exercise can be regressed to accommodate individual variation. This is a key component of “individualizing” team-based programs. Another key piece is learning the personalities of the kids to gain a better understanding of what type of coaching strategies they respond best to. All of this, in my mind, is part of the ART of coaching and can really make or break even the most well thought-out off-ice training program. If you’re looking for more information on age-appropriate training guidelines for hockey players, don’t forget to check out USA Hockey’s ADM. There’s a lot of terrific information there that may be more directly applicable to your situation. As always, please feel free to post your comments/questions below!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. If want to ensure you’re choosing the right exercise strategies for your team, check out Ultimate Hockey Training, which outlines the exact exercise progressions and regressions to use for every major movement pattern, including multi-directional core training!

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Kevin Neeld

Kevin Neeld Knows Hockey

Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.