Learn to Play Program (players born 2014 or later and/or kids new to hockey):
Wellesley Youth Hockey is proud to offer our Learn to Play Hockey (LTP) and Pre-Mite Development (PMD) programs as part of a multi-year introduction for those new to the sport of hockey. This program serves as an introduction to this fantastic activity that has provided many Wellesley Families with wonderful memories throughout the years. We encourage you to register your child for the upcoming Learn to Skate or Pre-Mite Development programs and look forward to seeing you on the ice during the 2020 season!
What is the difference between Learn to Play & Pre-Mite Development?
LEARN TO Play(LTP):
Borrowing from the USA Hockey manual, the Learn to Play (LTP) curriculum is designed to teach beginner hockey players the fundamentals of skating. The drills we will introduce over the course of the season are designed to meet the needs of a range of players. It’s important for these players to become comfortable on the ice and that they work to hone the basics of hockey stance, stride, knee bend, use of edges that will serve as the foundation upon which they will build their future success.
As part of our mission to emphasize fun, friendship and skill development players will take part in 2 weekly on-ice practices. Each practice session is run in accordance with USA Hockey’s American Development Model by a team of volunteer coaches who are overseen by an experienced, certified on-ice director. The sessions are intended for children of all ages who are new to the experience of skating.
Within the context of our goals and objectives, this program can be encapsulated by the philosophical belief that players should be tired when they step off the ice and they should be smiling!
PRE-MITE DEVELOPMENT (PMD):
Pre-Mite Development (PMD) is designed for skaters who show skating ability or have previously skated in a full year of a learn to play/skate program. Please know that this is NOT a tryout and that this split is designed to group players within similar age and skill sets to better facilitate the mastery of the FUNdamentals.
As you watch the practices that unfold over the season, please know that each session is designed with the following in mind:
- Free Time: Let the players have the first five minutes of practice as FUN free play. Dump as many items from the bag of toys as possible onto the ice and let kids experiment. Coaches seek to keep players active and engaged from the start.
- Skating Development: One of the main goals of the LTP/MOS Programs is to develop and strengthen each player’s ability to skate. We designate 10-12 minutes of each session to work on skating up and down the ice, specifically focusing on the proper long hockey stride, on-ice balance, “C” cuts keeping skates on ice, as well as stops and starts.
- Length of Drills/Stations: 5-6 stations x 6-8 minutes. Stations will focus on building core skills within the framework of fun and active skating. The stations change each practice session to incorporate a new skating skill. We have a limited number of hockey games at the start of the program as the stick, for many young skaters, is a crutch.
Volunteer Coach to Player Ratio: We need your help!! The success of this program and the development of the players is predicated on a large number of coaches, parents and student coaches to help run these practice sessions. The program directors create practice plans and run each practice session, but we need your on-ice help. If you can skate and can keep the kids active and engaged we can use your help. Please do not allow limited or no hockey experience to keep you off the ice... Praise and enthusiasm are the keys to success! Volunteer Coaches Register here
As we move forward in the season, if players are buying in and we are doing our job of exposing them to new skills, these young skaters will make leaps. Those utilizing 'sleds' will graduate over the year to join those who started without sleds. In short, we are coaching with an eye towards long-term growth as opposed to short-term gains.
We look forward to working with you and your skater(s) over the coming years.