NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED!

ADG Hockey (Fall/Winter 2024)

Ages: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 Born
Skill Level: No experience is needed! We offer 3 levels of beginner hockey, from learn-to-skate to kids with some hockey experience.
Time/Dates:
-Saturdays between 10:00 am and ending at 1:00 pm
-16 weeks, starting October 5th until January 18th
-Opportunity for more ice throughout the season (more details below)
Where: The Hockey Studio (1828 Blue Heron Dr #31, London, ON)
Cost: $350 + hst (level 2 will be an additional $50 + hst to account for the longer sessions)

At Athletic Development Games, our mission is to cultivate a love for sports among children by providing a dynamic and age-appropriate environment that prioritizes fun and exploration. We are committed to fostering athletic development through engaging activities, ensuring every child can discover and enhance their abilities in a joyful and supportive atmosphere.

What is ADG Hockey?

We have a "fun first" approach to hockey. Our goal is to help each child fall in love with the game while building their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Here are some ways that we try to accomplish that:

Age-Appropriate Environment - I've found that most kids find traditional hockey drills boring. We try to put a fun spin on everything we do so kids can learn and have fun at the same time. We also play at a scaled-down hockey rink, perfect for younger kids.

CompetenceThe love of the game often comes from and is associated with the perception that one is good at the game. We use various methods to ensure kids feel like they are having success on the ice and improving their skills (e.g., using multiple pucks to allow for more goals, reducing the playing area to increase opportunities for engagement, and grouping kids by skill level to maintain balanced play).

Autonomy - By giving kids freedom through free play times on the ice or having them chime in on the activities they want to do, they feel in control and are more self-determined.

Community - With smaller group sizes, we give kids a sense of belonging and connection with their peers on the ice. As coaches, we try to make a connection with every kid, ensuring they are comfortable on the ice.

In addition to the above, we have a shorter season, no out-of-town travel, same time slot each week (earliest being 10am!), opportunities for extra hockey sessions for kids who want more, familiarity with kids/coaches across other ADG sports, great parent group, and more!

Who Is This For?

We will be splitting the hockey sessions into three levels by ability.

Learn to Skate: For kids who are still learning to balance on their own. These kids may need to start with a skating aid. The most common age group for these kids will be 2020 and 2019 born. This will be a smaller group with a lower coach to player ratio.

Intro to Hockey Level 1 - Rink Rangers: For kids who can at least shuffle around on the ice without help. These kids will likely still be falling a lot and likely won't have the skating stride fully figured out. The most common age group for these kids will be 2019 and 2018 born.

Intro to Hockey Level 2 - Ice Monsters: For kids who can stride and change direction easily with fewer falls. These kids may have some hockey playing experience but are still learning the game. The most common age group for these kids will be 2018, 2017, and 2016 born.

What Time Slot is Each Group on the Ice?

All sessions take place on Saturdays with the following times:

Learn to Skate:  10:00 - 10:40 am

Intro to Hockey Level 1: 12:00 - 12:50 pm

Intro to Hockey Level 2: 10:45 - 11:50 am

The program runs for 16 weeks starting October 5th, 2024 until January 18th, 2025.

What Can We Expect?

In a standard hockey environment, most coaches tell the kids that they will get a fun game if they work hard for the first 45 minutes of drills. I believe kids should be smiling, laughing, and having fun the entire time. The idea is to have them fall in love with the sport and want to come back each week. At Athletic Development Games we use games and activities instead of drills.

Research has shown that young kids are "discovery learners" and learn best through experimentation, observation, action & imitation. In other words, play. We will demonstrate and incorporate basic skills and techniques within games, but mostly, they will learn through experimentation in their play. My coaching philosophy is to say as little as possible to the kids regarding their technique at the younger ages.

Will Kids Play Actual Hockey Games?

Yes! In Intro to Hockey Levels 1 and 2, we will play various forms of hockey games including 4v4, 3v3, 2v2, and possibly even 1v1. We might also introduce more pucks, shrink the playing area, and make other adjustments.

Our most popular game format for beginners is what we've named "3-Puck." In this game, we split the kids into two teams and start with three pucks on the ice. Each time a puck is scored, it's removed from play until only one puck remains, which is then played in a standard hockey game format. This creates a dynamic environment that helps kids develop their skills and increases scoring opportunities for all players, regardless of their skill level compared to others. This approach differs from typical U7 5v5 hockey games, where the puck is frequently controlled by just a few players. Our 3-Puck game is designed to ensure that every player gets a chance to participate actively in the game.

Why Choose This Over Other Hockey Programs?

ADG hockey might be the perfect choice for you if you value:

-A fun and age-appropriate environment
-Learning in small group settings
-Coaches who are passionate and great with children
-An environment that empowers kids
-A strong sense of community
-No need for out-of-town travel
-A consistent weekly schedule, beneficial for young children
-Sleep (no 7 or 8 am starts!)
-A relaxed atmosphere free from overly intense coaches or parents

Will My Kid Fall Behind in Hockey?

Great question. I will start by saying that I wouldn't have both of my daughters in this program if I thought it was going to hinder their development. But this approach may not be for everyone.

At the youngest ages there is a direct correlation between the amount of time on the ice and the skill level. However, as kids get older, there is a more important correlation between their passion for and enjoyment of the sport and their intrinsic motivation to get better.

So, while kids who are only skating once per week in this ADG hockey program may not progress their skills as quickly as those who are on the ice 2x per week in a regular minor hockey program, our primary aim is to enhance their enjoyment at the rink--after all, special things happen when kids truly fall in love with a sport.

To summarize: while it might seem like children who spend less time on the ice are "falling behind," I believe that enjoyment is more crucial for their development, particularly at these young ages.

Further, to support kids who are eager to spend more time on the ice, we’re introducing a bi-weekly hockey play session available to all ADG hockey players during the fall/winter season plus additional pop-up sessions throughout the spring and summer (more information on this below).

What Extra Ice Time Will Be Available?

I will host bi-weekly "Hockey Play" sessions throughout the season to give kids additional opportunities to skate.

To keep this option affordable, I plan to utilize the "Last Minute Ice Rentals" offered by the City of London. These sessions are expected to occur on weekdays between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM or on Sundays at various rinks.

Pricing model is yet to be determined, but as with ADG Hockey, my goal is to just cover the expenses.

Additionally, I regularly organize pop-up hockey play sessions and multi-week programs throughout the year. Families participating in ADG hockey will be given priority access to these sessions.

What Equipment Do We Need?

Learn to Skate: A hockey helmet with a cage and skates are mandatoryWe suggest that children wear hockey gear to enable them to play more freely and safely, reducing worry about the discomfort from falls. If you prefer not to invest in a complete set or if your child is uncomfortable with full equipment, starting with shin pads and hockey pants can provide protection for their knees and bottom/hips.

Intro to Hockey Level 1 and 2: Full hockey gear, including a neck guard, is mandatory. For quality used children's equipment, Herm's Sports is an excellent resource. I'll provide more details about equipment in the welcome package, but if you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact me—I'm here to help!

Payment Information

Cost is $350 +hst and paid in one of the following payment schedules:

$100 +hst ($113) non-refundable deposit due to secure a spot.
$250 +hst ($282.50) due by the first week.

or

$100 +hst ($113) non-refundable deposit due to secure a spot.
$100 +hst ($113) due by the first week.
$100 +hst ($113) due by the fifth week.
$50 +hst ($56.50) due by the tenth week.

*Level 2 skaters will need to add $50 + hst to one of the payments.

Payment methods: eTransfers are preferred. Credit cards are also accepted when paying in full. 

About The Coaches:

Each session will be run by myself (Kevin) and a few helper coaches. I have recently completed the "Coach 1 - Intro to Coach " with Hockey Canada, along with their "Respect in Sport" and "Gender Identity and Expression" courses.

I have been involved with athletic development for over ten years through my hockey training company. Although that business primarily focuses on online coaching, I've enjoyed my transition to coaching kids in recent years. This has sparked a deep interest in child coaching, prompting me to educate myself extensively through books, textbooks, and research papers.

I believe there is a more effective way to approach youth sports than what is commonly practiced. Without getting too deep into it, here are some approaches I believe can be most beneficial for young athletes, all of which are incorporated into our ADG sessions: Discovery Learning, Games-Based Approach, Self-Determination Theory, Silent Sidelines, Ecological Dynamics, Implicit Learning, Free Play.

Here's what some parents have said about ADG programs:

"This was an incredible opportunity for the kids and we are so happy we were given the chance to join. I wouldn’t change a thing you have absolutely knocked it out of the park! Thank you"

"My daughter love loved loved it. Said I don’t remember soccer being that fun, can I go back tomorrow!!!! Thanks so much again"

"You did an amazing job! Great progress and very fun for the kids. The coaches were all great!"

To learn more about my coaching philosophy with young kids, you can check out my Athletic Development Games Instagram account or check out some of my recommended reads below (top recommendations: Conditions of Children's Talent Development in Sport, Changing The Game, Free Play: A Decade if Writings on Youth Sports, and The Athletic Skills Model). 

ADG HOCKEY APPLICATION

ADG programs operate on an application system, giving priority registration to families who have participated in previous ADG sports programs.

Please note, completing the application linked below does not yet register you for the program. We will contact you via email to inform you if we have a spot for your kid.

Fill Out The Application Form Here

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