Skill progression is still a primary focus at the squirt level but coaches also focus more on teaching the game of hockey. Players can also choose to play specific positions at the squirt level including goalie. The goals at this level are:
Skating: inside/outside edge control, forward start, forward stride, stopping (one-foot, two-foot), backward skating, backward stopping, two-foot turns, pivoting, crossovers (forward/backward).
Puck Control: sticking handling, using peripheral vision, moving with the puck.
Passing/Receiving: forehand pass, backhand pass, receive a pass, giving a target.
Shooting: wrist shot, backhand shot, accuracy, quick release.
Checking: poke check, stick check (body contact is not allowed at the squirt level).
Goalkeeping: ready position, parallel shuffle, lateral t-glide, forward and backward movement, stick save, body save, blocker save, glove save.
Forwards: offensive zone, neutral zone, defensive zone, forechecking, backchecking.
Defenseman: offensive zone, neutral zone, defensive zone, releasing and supporting.
Rules: off-sides, icing, penalties.
Other: Changing on the fly, pulling the goalie, being a good teammate.
Players will understand the importance of proper hydration before, during and after all practices and games. For evening practices, eat a normal breakfast and lunch but only eat a light snack before the practice. After the practice eat a meal. For early morning games, eat a light breakfast. For tournaments, if more than one game is played on the same day or several games are played in successive days, emphasize foods that are high in carbohydrate (fruit, hot or cold cereal, pancakes, cold meats, soup, rice, pasta) and avoid high sugar content foods.
Fitness and Training
Players will learn: warm-up exercises, cool down exercises, stretching exercises, flexibility exercises, agility exercises and hand-eye coordination exercises.
Players will be introduced to USA’s Heads Up Hockey program and be taught the importance of warming up, cooling down and daily stretching. Rink safety will also be taught as well as how to take proper care of equipment.
Players will be taught to understand the difference between being relaxed and tense and that making a mistake is common and a part of sports. Our coaches use positive reinforcement to help reduce stress, enhance self-image and team-image. The positive feedback increases the enjoyment of games and practices.
Character Development/Life Skills
Players will learn that they are part of a team and must respect teammates, coaches, opponents, officials and parents. Players will be expected to demonstrate a high level of sportsmanship, the ability to balance school responsibilities with athletics and be on time for practices and games. They will also be taught: team rules, self control, discipline, always try their best, respect for authority, the importance of a strong work ethic and commitment to the team.