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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 HELP PLAYERS REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL?  First and foremost, by enhancing athleticism and emphasizing skill development. Through science and experience, we’ve learned that the world’s elite athletes were almost never early-age specialists. They enjoyed a variety of sports and activities. They climbed. They swam. They biked. In short, they were kids. The ADM lets kids be kids. It encourages them to have fun and it amplifies their all-around athleticism through programming developed by hockey experts, sport scientists and child development specialists. This programming lifts the lid off kids’ athletic potential, blending with science to create a full toolbox of athleticism. When they apply it to hockey, good things happen. When we complement it with ageappropriate, age-specific skill training, good becomes great.

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.

The American Development Model (ADM) provides age-appropriate guidelines and curriculum to hockey associations across America to help more kids play, love and excel in hockey.

From a Child's View, Parents Find Full-Ice Hockey No Fun

To demonstrate how a full sheet of ice looks to a child, USA Hockey put adult players on an extra large rink with giant nets to simulate what a child sees. The players found the games tiring, difficult and said they would lose interest quickly in the sport if that was what they faced. See how adult players opened their eyes to what is being taught by the American Development Model of cross-ice hockey and small-area games. Learn more at

KVHA Leverages USA Hockey ADM Principles

Why ADM ???

No fun, No future,
How can the sport of hockey be so important – instrumental even – in the future success of a young man or woman? After all, it’s just a game. But it can be so much more than that. It’s a beacon of hope for wayward kids. A fitness program to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity. A meeting ground for lifelong friends. But at its heart hockey is, and should be, fun. A chance for kids to pour out their passion and creativity on the ice. For them to learn and grow with every practice. To just be a kid and enjoy the game. That’s what the ADM is all about.

So while we honor our past accomplishments, we need to look ahead and create a brighter future for all. With your guidance, the ADM will provide those great moments for our kids. That is, if we’re forward-thinking enough to see it through.

Put yourself in the shoes of an 8-year-old and ask yourself some questions. What’s important to you? What kinds of things do you want to be doing? (And, maybe most important, what’s for dinner?) Now list the things that would be appealing to the 8-year-old you. Family. Playing with friends. Goofing off. Because this is what kids do. They act like kids.

There isn’t a parent, teacher or coach who wouldn’t agree that today’s kids are brimming with potential. And there’s that word: potential. It’s the great “what could be” in a kid – if given the proper push. A push from an encouraging parent, great friend or dedicated coach. Wherever that potential forms, it takes time to develop and it’s different for each kid. The potential to be a doctor. A Hollywood star. An NHL center. The mission of the ADM is to pull out that vast potential in every kid.

Keys to Cross-Ice Hockey

 More Ice Time
More Puck Time
More Skill Development
More Instruction