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American Development Model

What is USA Hockey's American Development Model?

The ADM is USA Hockey’s nationwide player-development program for youth hockey associations. It’s based on age-appropriate, age-specific competition and training for boys and girls, beginning with their first steps onto the ice and carrying them through age 18 and beyond. The ADM places a heightened emphasis on skill development and long-term athlete development principles, providing a blueprint for the best possible youth hockey experience. Put simply, it’s doing what’s best for kids.

How does the ADM look?

At the younger age levels, it looks like fun and constant motion in small spaces. The ADM encourages station-based practices, small-area games and cross-ice competition to deliver more repetitions, more puck touches and more skill development per hour of ice time. It provides the most efficient, most engaging development path for children, keeping them both in the game and on a path toward their full potential.

The ADM encourages a 3:1 practice-to-game ratio at these younger levels, while also making hockey more family-friendly. The ADM emphasizes development at players’ local hometown rinks in 8U, 10U and 12U hockey. This emphasis helps children benefit from more skill development, less burnout and less family financial burden. As children progress in age, the ADM progresses with them, providing age-specific training and competition proven to produce Olympic and NHL-caliber players.

What does "Half Ice Game" mean to your child?

LESS whistles stopping the play so, LESS standing around.  MORE touches of the puck means MORE stickhandling and MORE passing and MORE shooting. Which means MORE scoring chances. Half-ice games means MORE ice-time so MORE skating and MORE changes in direction, for better agility. Goalies see MORE shots so MORE practice. 

Overall your kids have MORE FUN!

8U MAHA Jamboree at Chelsea

Research: Long Term Athletic Development

The ADM utilizes long-term athlete development principles as its framework. One of the first things that USA Hockey did was to look closely at the statistics related to player development – we quickly learned where players have a chance to develop the most: Practice.
So a model was created that valued practices and proper training above all else. This isn’t to say that the ADM is about taking the fun out of hockey, quite the contrary. Practices can and should be fun, especially if the kids are all playing together and having a blast with a game that they love. The more they play it, the better chance that they’ll love it. And when you combine a passion for the game with increased puck time, kids will start to excel at it. Play, love, excel. That’s the ADM.

All systems are always trainable.

ADM Program Recommendations


Questions about ADM can be directed to:

Nick Vetter

ADM Coordinator