Q: Why the blue puck at 8U?
A: USA Hockey uses the 4-ounce blue puck at 8U in order to allow these young players to develop proper technique in passing, shooting and stickhandling.
At this age, teaching proper technique through the use of age-appropriate equipment is critical to skill development. Lighter-weight blue pucks, along with the correct stick, help players build confidence and avoid frustration by being able to lift the puck, score goals, complete firm tape-to-tape passes, etc. The blue puck allows players to perform basic puck control skills through a proper range of motion.
One of the highlights for any young hockey player is learning to lift the puck when shooting. With the heavier black puck, young players tend to try and flip it so that it will rise off the ice. This circumvents learning the correct shooting technique. The blue puck is at a weight that encourages good shooting technique while allowing the player to successfully raise it off the ice.
The author, Ken Martel, coached collegiately at Air Force and Michigan Tech while also helping guide numerous U.S. National Teams. As a player, he skated four seasons at Lake Superior State, winning an NCAA championship in 1988.
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