Currently offering programs for players born between 2009-2014, the TOP Hockey program offers a unique approach to competitive hockey by offering local ice-time, manageable schedules and quality coaching, all while improving players' individual skills and providing a great hockey experience.
We believe in focusing on the process, not the outcome, with all of our practices and games, and believe strongly that age-appropriate development is the best way to keep kids in sport longer. We structure our practices so that players are placed into small groups rotating through stations focusing on individual skills, technical instruction, and game-based learning. We believe our small group format is essential for kids to get individual feedback, quality coaching, and high level engagement. We believe that the values learned from hockey (discipline, accountability, and leadership), are ones that will transcend well beyond sport, and we aim to build those values from day one. We will push your kids to get better by creating a fun, engaging, and disciplined environment conducive to learning, and will always have your child's best interests at heart.
The 'Four-Corners' development model is a staple at all TOP Hockey practices, providing players at all ages with a highly-structured and efficient practice plan resulting more touches of the puck, more repetitions per drill, and a more engaging practice experience. Players will be placed in small groups and rotate through all stations during the practice time, usually spending between 10-12 minutes per station. We believe in spending a lot of time on the fundamentals of core skills; skating, shooting, passing, and competition, ensuring all players have a strong base of skills before introducing more advanced concepts.
Game-Based Learning Environment
It's no secret that kids like to play games, whether it's on the playground, in the backyard, or on the ice. In fact, games-based learning has been shown to be one of the most effective ways that kids learn. By using games to teach hockey, we can teach kids to execute skills based on their environment, which is called the 'practice-to-game transfer'. Skills cannot be solely learned in isolation, but must be reinforced by making decisions, and ultimately by making mistakes. For any situation that occurs in the game of hockey, we are able to use small-area games to replicate it, provide kids with more reps of that situation, and provide instant feedback and teaching. At all practices we incorporate at least one small-area game station, which can take the form of activity-based games (ie. freeze tag), skill-based games (ie. shark & minnows w/ pucks), and role-based situational games (ie. transition 2 v 2).
Station-Based Practices By The Numbers
Sources: USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, TOP Sports Inc.
The 'Four-Corners' model is a staple in most European training, and has been adapted for TOP Hockey.
During hockey season we assign a different character trait to represent each month. During the month we take every opportunity to reinforce what the theme means and how to develop it, taking the time to teach players more than hockey.
'The Chain' is given out every practice to the player on each team who best displays the character theme of that month. We use hockey as vehicle to build character, and will take every opportunity to reward players who display these themes.
For U9 and U8 teams (Novice & Minor Novice), every third Saturday means gameday! Teams will be divided into smaller groups and play half-ice 4 on 4 or 3 on 3 for the entire practice, focusing on competition, hard work, and teamwork.
2-3 times per season, all teams will perform on-ice testing drills with their coaches, making sure all kids are on the right track in their development and illustrating to kids that their hard work is paying off!
All teams use a dedicated Google Classroom page to promote communication and feedback between coaches and players. Coaches will use this forum to give private feedback to players on testing scores, character skills, and on-ice skills.
We believe well-rounded athletes make better single-sport athletes, which is why multiple times per season we take individual teams to do an off-ice session. Examples include martial arts, Skyzone, Kidnasium Playground, or dryland training.
PLEASE EMAIL ADMIN @ TOPSPORTS.CA FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING OUR HOCKEY TEAMS.
"Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."
- Vince Lombardi
"It is not enough to be busy... The question is: what are we busy about?"
- Henry David Thoreau
"Forget about winning and losing - put your focus on learning and developing. It's a much better long-term strategy, trust me."
- Nicolas Gregoriades
"A good Coach can change a GAME. A great Coach can change a LIFE."
- John Wooden
"I played everything. I played lacrosse, hockey, soccer, track and field. I was a big believer that you played hockey in the winter and when the season was over you hung up the skates and you played something else." - Wayne Gretzky
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