Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten a lot of questions about training phase length and sequencing for youth hockey players.
This image is of the periodization template I put together for a youth organization I worked with in the past.
For that organization, we divided the teams into 3 groups by age: Group A: U-12 (Mites & Squirts), Group B: ~12-14 (Peewees & Bantams), Group C (Midgets).
Group A’s program was more game-based, so we didn’t have a formal periodization model in place.
The focus for Groups B&C are slightly different, but in both cases, we used the first several weeks of the season to establish a foundation of our expectations for the training process – showing up on time, warming up as a group, how to read a training program, fundamental movement patterns, etc. Overall training stress is low while the players acclimate to higher on-ice loads.
Group B transitions back and forth between accumulation (relatively higher volume work) and intensification (relatively lower volume/higher intensity work). This is done primarily as a teaching strategy – allow the players to accumulate “practice” reps and perfect movements before emphasizing load.
Similarly, Group C starts with 2 weeks each of an eccentric and isometric phase, which are used to help the players learn (and the coaches to teach) more advanced exercises by slowing down the motion and strengthening the “sticking point”, respectively.
In general, exercises would progress or transition to a new variation in each phase.
Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.
To your success,
P.S. If you’re interested in year-round comprehensive hockey-specific training programs for players at different ages, check out Ultimate Hockey Transformation.
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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.