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D: Development Stages

While every child is different, they all progress though the same stages of physical development – they just do it at different times and different rates.

As a parent of a young player in youth sports, it’s important to understand that sports development is not a linear process. Some kids will grow early and others late. In youth sports, this can sometimes provide kids of the same chronological age with a short-term advantage or a short-term disadvantage. This is why USA Hockey works with local hockey associations to provide programming based upon long-term athlete development (LTAD) principles. 

USA Hockey’s American Development Model recognizes eight different developmental stages. Based on physical and mental growth, some kids will move more rapidly through certain stages. The important thing to recognize is that everything tends to even out after all the kids go through puberty. So, keep the game fun for kids, keep them involved and, as a parent, enjoy each stage of your child’s athletic development.

For a detailed look at each development stage, click here.

Similar ages, different stages.