There are many youth sports participation choices and children should sample a variety of them to help develop their overall athleticism, but what constitutes a great youth sports program?
The first priority of a youth program is to provide kids with a safe environment. As the national governing body for ice hockey in the United States, all USA Hockey programs are required to take part in the SafeSport program directed by the United States Olympic Committee. This program requires coaches and local program staff to undertake training and pass a background screening process in order to provide a safe environment for kids.
A second priority for great youth sports organizations is that they are well structured, with trained coaches that are well versed in developmentally appropriate interaction with kids. Eight-year-olds are not miniature adults and should be coached differently.
A great youth sports organization also provides an environment where kids can learn the important values of as hard work, sportsmanship and teamwork.
While there are many quality youth programs under the USA Hockey umbrella, there are a number of associations that striving to provide all of USA Hockey’s recommended programing. These are USA Hockey Model Associations. To see a list of these clubs, click here.