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01-01-2011, 11:10 AM
  #2
frito
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Cincinnati
Country: United States
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My youngest is a second year squirt but I would have loved for the ADM to have existed for both my kids when they were coming up. I was first introduced to it at a level IV coaching clinic in 2009 and thought it was great. As soon as I got back I brought it up to the president of our association. We are gradually introducing it in an attempt to get over the reluctance.

As I said, I really don't understand why so many people are up in arms about. A few points:
  1. Baseball, basketball and soccer all decrease the playing field for the younger kids. You don't see 7 year olds running a 60 feet base line, why should they skate 200 feet?
  2. The cross ice games gets the kids used to playing in tighter quarters as they will when they are bigger. There is just too much wasted space on a full sheet for younger kids.
  3. As with size, rules in other sports are gradually introduced as kids age. For example, in baseball it starts with coach pitch. Gradually kid pitch is introduced, then base stealing etc. They really don't need to worry about offsides and icing at this age. Let them first develop the skills then introduce more complex areas of the game.
  4. Kids can get a lot more ice time and a lot more puck touches for the same or even less money than they do with full ice practices and games. Hockey more than most any other sport needs to be practiced more frequently on its natural "court" because of that 1/8" piece of steel under the kids' feet. This allows them to hit the ice more often.
  5. It places the focus back on development and FUN as it should be at this age.

I personally would take the ADM a step further. In soccer they use smaller nets for the younger kids. In basketball they use smaller balls and lower nets. I think they should introduce a net about half the size of a regulation net for the younger kids. It will help the kids shooting skills while at the same time not completely demoralizing the kids who are giving goalie a try.

I'll tell you what, I voluntered at an ADM demonstration for our association that one of the USA Hockey ADM gurus ran. I'd say well over half of the kids who showed up played squirt travel. When they were leaving the ice they were very sweaty and all smiles. I think that right there pretty much says it all.

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