Each time a player participates in a structured practice or game, this is termed an ice "touch." USA Hockey’s American Development Model includes age-specific recommendations for the number of ice touches that players should get over the course of the season or annual training and competition calendar. This recommendation takes into account future development as a hockey player balanced with overall athletic development.
At the younger ages, sports sampling contributes to acquiring a broad base of movement skills and helps kids become more physically literate. As players get older (14U to 16U), if they want to excel in ice hockey, this becomes the time when players may start moving toward more specialization in sport. This is reflected in the age-specific ADM recommendations for ice touches.
Beyond the formal ice touches, USA Hockey hopes that kids will also enjoy unstructured hockey in its various forms, e.g., pond hockey, street hockey, boot hockey, roller hockey, floorball, or any other activity that uses a hockey stick for play. These forms of unstructured hockey don’t count toward the total number of ice touches for the year, because in these environments, kids will self-regulate. If they are not having fun, they won’t play, so there's no need to worry about them overdoing it.
|Age group||Number of touches|
|8U||50 to 60|
|10U||95 to 100|
|12U||105 to 120|