Ductu per Agone

Hockey Development

Concepts of Athletic Development

Athletes all develop differently and there are any number of factors that influence an athlete’s development. Factors like physical attributes and mental abilities, eating and sleeping habits, and social skills all have an impact. So does a player’s maturity, and not only his physical maturity but also his mental and emotional maturity.

It is extremely important that young players find their “path” to the best development. For Bridgedale Academy, the goal from an athletic development perspective is to help each player understand what he needs to work on, and how to do it, so he is able to get the most out of his individual abilities.

In discussing human development Aristotle said “we are what we habitually do.” In other words, all people are in a sense defined by their habits. And so it is with hockey, that a player’s habits define how thoroughly he will develop as an athlete and as a hockey player. Maintaining good habits is crucial to a young player’s development. And so daily habit control is demanded and maintained by our staff, to assure the players perform and execute the drills correctly.

A Curriculum Based on Themes

The on-ice curriculum at Bridgedale Academy follows seven themes rotating in weekly cycles. These Seven Themes are Skating, Puck Handling, Passing, Shooting, Positional Play, Checking and Game Concepts. These themes are at the foundation of player development. They comprise the areas of play that the best hockey players in the world all master. They are crucial to players hoping to maximize their development and realize their full potential to play at the highest possible level.

The relative emphasis on these seven themes rotates in weekly cycles. And with each repeated weekly cycle, the drills and activities become increasingly more challenging. As a result, over the course of the school year the curriculum raises expectations for the players, challenging them on an individually appropriate basis.

The Four Building Blocks

The first four of the seven themes are at the root of a player’s basic skills set. They comprise four individual skill sets that every hockey player needs to master in order to become an elite player. These four themes are:

Puck handling

Developing Hockey Sense

We will also work weekly on developing hockey sense through the use of Small Area Games. Hockey sense is something best developed in an environment where you are being challenged mentally and physically. At the same time, however, players should feel comfortable to make plays and find different ways to do so, because when they do, they tend to be more willing to challenge themselves to try new solutions to the situations.

Seven Themes For Hockey Development

Here is a brief Synopsis of the seven themes for hockey development:


Inside-Outside Edge work
Skating Agility
Forward-Backward Transitions
Over speed
Explosive movements-Separation Speed

Puck handling

Stick handling
Puck protection
Puck placement


One Touch Passes
Sauce Passes
Area Passes
Receiving passes


Wrist/Snap Shot
Slap Shot
Shooting of strong side foot
Shooting in stride
Drag and shoot
Goal Scoring tactics

Positional Skills

Forward Specific Training
Defenseman Specific Training
Goalie Specific Training


Learning angling
Body Contact-confidence
Receiving Checks
Counter Hits
Board confidence

Game Concepts

Concepts how to attack and defend different game situations
Off rushes
Down low plays
Off the board battles
General concepts like Offensive Support and Defensive Support
On-Ice Timing
Situation Recognition, space and time on the ice