Our Three Pillars
Wildcats Hockey Club 3 Pillars: (The “How” of what we do).
1. The American Development Model
USA Hockey’s groundbreaking American Development Model provides the foundational science and principles for all of Wildcats Hockey programming. In fact, in 2014 Wildcats Hockey Club was named by USA Hockey as one of only 17 “Model Associations” at the time, across the entire United States for our commitment and delivery of the program. The focus is long-term, age appropriate development rather than on taking short cuts for short term results. Kids are not “mini adults”. An understanding of the different physiological and cognitive needs of each age group is critical to foster long term growth and fulfillment of athletic potential. As they grow, every athlete has sensitive time periods called windows of trainability where they are most receptive to training stimulus and skill acquisition. The areas that are “open” or “receptive” to development can differ dramatically from one age group to the next and the understanding and focus on these key time periods is critical to the athlete’s long term success. For example, young athletes under 8 years of age are very receptive to agility, but not to endurance or strength training, thus spending time on areas the athlete is not receptive to, not only limits their time spent on the most important areas of training, but may even be harmful or dangerous to the athlete. Athletes only enter these key sensitive stages once in their lifetime and once they are closed, it is extremely challenging to go back and develop those fundamental skills and movement patterns. Athletes who are trained with the understanding and curriculum based around these “windows” develop an incredible foundation, allowing them to continue to build and develop rapidly and to a higher ceiling long term, setting them up to pursue their maximal potential as an athlete.
More information available at: www.admkids.com
2. The Positive Coaching Alliance
The Wildcats takes the responsibility of being a leader in youth sports very seriously. Not only are we responsible for building “better athletes”, we must also build “better people”. Youth sports is an important part of every child’s life and in their journey to become a successful person and good citizen. Wildcats Hockey made the commitment in 2014 to become a partner of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) and stand firmly against the “win at all costs culture” in youth sports. All Wildcats coaches are certified “double goal coaches” who strive to win, while never compromising the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sport. Athletes are taught to become “triple impact competitors” who strive to make the game better, make their teammates better, and make themselves better in everything they do. Our club parents are expected to be “2nd goal parents” who leave the first goal of “winning” to coaches and athletes, while focusing entirely on supporting the 2nd goal of teaching life lessons through sports.
More information on the positive coaching alliance is available at: www.positivecoach.org
3. A unique and united structure
Wildcats Hockey Club is characterized by our unique structure of dedicated, full time directors that are experienced, educated, and immensely passionate at what they do. While many youth sports clubs are made up of numerous independent coaches with their own philosophies and initiatives, our directors work with our age group managers, coaches, and volunteer staff, under one clear and cooperative philosophy backed by the sport science of the ADM and the cultural principles of the PCA. All staff work together for the benefit of the athlete’s experience and long term potential. Rather than focusing on a specific team or level of play, our trained directors and age group managers are experts in the science of each age group and on developing every player within our club at that age group up through the program and to their long term potential. Our program works by growing players from within for the long term with patience, care, and attention, and not by recruiting or replacing athletes from the outside in. We are committed to each athlete’s “process”. Through the ups and downs of their athletic development, we support and encourage and will not give up on our athletes in times of struggle.
The club has a clear and documented season curriculum for every age group. The athlete and parent has an opportunity to read and learn from all of the resources within the curriculum in advance and know what to expect not only in their current season, but in the upcoming seasons as the athlete progresses through each age group. Additionally, even our private skills training is offered as a structured and unified program delivered by all of our coaches through a documented and progressive curriculum based on age and ability.
Each athlete and parent can relax and trust that at every level of the program and with every staff member, the program will be delivered with consistency, quality, and based on sport science and long term athlete development principles.