Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

AHU Coach’s Corner: There are no shortcuts when using the hockey pyramid


GoarThe idea of building “from the ground up” is not new.

Ice hockey, for some reason, has not yet reached out to the potentially huge numbers of children who have never played our game.


Street and floor and roller hockey are inexpensive ways to develop hockey skills without ever stepping on the ice. Street and roller hockey players making the transition to ice hockey seem to have better individual puck skills than an average ice hockey player does.

This is probably attributed to frequency of practice by being able to just “play anywhere.”

A grassroots hockey program is recommended to follow USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) for all its player development. These types of programs build confidence in their players and allow them to reach their full potential.

Furthermore, a parent that is well informed is more likely to understand the benefits from long-term player development and is less likely to chase an elite level until their child is emotionally, physically and socially ready to purse the highest competition.

Challenges & Education

A philosophy must be established so that those teaching understand how to make learning as productive as possible and so that parent involvement can be a positive, not a pressure-filled experience.

Grassroots development requires widespread exposure with the emphasis on fun and fundamental skills. Higher-level training can be sought once a player shows greater interest and desire for such.

The Right Stuff – Find Coaches That Can Relate

Think like a player.

Actually, think like a kid!

Would you be having fun at your practices or games?

Follow the most basic rule: Keep it simple and make it FUN.


The observations of this player, coach and student of the game has revealed certain “do’s” and “don’ts,” many from learning along the way. I’ve kept an open mind and embraced a willfulness to always improve my approach to development.

The development of an athlete is a phenomenon that can, have and will be challenged for decades to come. Every year, the game evolves, changes and adapts to ever-improving athletes.
Let’s face it, the athletes are bigger, stronger and more educated than ever before. Coaches and teachers have replaced the parent in some cases as disciplinarian and motivator of the household.

The lack or decline of parental guidance over the past 30 years has challenged today’s coaches and youth leaders. The longevity of our coaches reflects not only their skill and dedication, but the ability to and keep it simple and make it FUN!

As legendary coach Bob Johnson said, “It’s a great day for hockey.”

Kurt Goar is the coach-in-chief for the Arizona Hockey Club.

(Sept. 5, 2018)

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