age specific hockey

Bantam and Midget Training

This post will cover our training methods we perform with our bantam and midget aged athletes. A lot of parents become worrisome when their child begins to lift at this age, they fear stunting of growth, injury, etc.  At Institute 3E we utilize age-specific training, these are points in an athlete's life where they'll be most responsive to different forms of training. 

When your son/daugher lifts with us, the programs and movements they perform are made to create a strong foundation (progressive to their skill level) and to aid them for more elite lifting as they get older. 

There is a term in the strength and conditioning world called, Accumulation of Training Years–an essential piece to an athlete's continuous success. What this means is an athlete that has multiple years training and working on their skill will be better and more prepared than those who don't. This is why learning fundamentals and building a base of strength is so important for this age of athlete–with higher level play and college approaching you don't want to be left behind by the more experienced. 

The aspects of training we focus on with the bantam and midget aged athlete are...

  1. Speed (reaction time)

  2. Strength endurance

  3. Maximal strength

  4. Explosive strength

As an athlete gets older it will be harder for them to keep up with an elite level player who's had years of experience in the gym. For example, if you're planning on playing juniors and you've never truly back squatted before–you're going to get passed up by someone who's squatted the past couple of years. While they're adding weight and getting stronger...you're working on learning the movement, gaining the mobility and building a base of strength. 

Speed (reaction time) is a huge component we work on at this age group, this aspect goes hand-in-hand with explosive power and strength as well. We'll perform exercises such as, plyometrics (broad jumps, box jumps, vertical jumps), Olympic lift progressions and various team-based exercises such as indian arm wrestling. 

Strength endurance is a key to building an athlete's base of strength, this involves performing a movement for multiple repetitions. It builds the capacity of muscles to handle a larger workload (i.e.more reps) while maintaining the strength of doing so. Examples of this are any strength movement with more than 5 reps (back squatting for 8 reps, incline benching 10 reps, chin-ups max reps). 

Maximal strength and explosive strength while different in many aspects work together in unison in a lot of cases. For example, you won't be able to create a maximal strength effort without some form of explosive strength, vice versa. With a built foundation of basic strength the muscle will be able to handle heavier loads (i.e. less reps, heavier weight) and be able to create more explosiveness. Examples of these aspects include: plyometrics, lower reps-heavier weight movements (a 3-5 rep deadlift) and exercises involving critiqued tempos (holding a front squat for 2 seconds at the bottom, then exploding up). 

An athlete's time at this age should be spent building a good base of strength, this will help improve their performance and keep them ahead of their competition. Higher levels of play call for more speed, strength and endurance–our programs will help prepare your athlete for just that. To get a better idea of the images above check out the video below! 


Mite and Squirt Training

When parents hear about their athletes training at this age they become worrisome of things usually heard from others (possible stunting of growth, injury, etc.). This article will illustrate our age-specific training methods and how we help facilitate your athlete's growth–not inhibit it. 

There is something in the athletic and strength training world called, "accumulation of training years." This means the more time spent training and practicing skills, the more results and progress you'll see as time passes. Basically, the more time put in now–the better the end pay off. 

We have three aspects we focus on with your mite or squirt, these are...

  1. General coordination

  2. Flexibility

  3. Speed (reaction time) 

These are all key fundamentals to a young athlete's growth as he/she develops, certain things like coordination become increasingly hard to develop as you age. This being said, the work we do is done to increase the efficiency of your athlete's abilities as they grow. We're priming them for an easier transition to future training and higher levels of play. 

General coordination is done through things like animal flow, tumbling drills and various balance drills we've constructed. These drills also teach body awareness something so key for the athlete whose sport has multiple demands. 

The best way to stay flexible is to never lose it. Younger athletes already have a tendency to be naturally flexible, this is key for developing good habits for their future. We work on improving what they already have and incorporate body awareness aspects. 

The aspect of speed we focus on is more than doing sprints and making your athlete run ladders (anyone can do that). We realize that reaction-time speed is something that is harder to learn as you age, we focus on combining multiple aspects of different skills into one. Examples include, tumbles to one-leg getups, animal flow with frog stands (tripods), beginner jump drills and many more. 

When your athlete trains with us it's more than just going to an off-ice session. It's investing in their future, their future of growth and athletic development. There are aspects of athleticism that become increasingly harder to learn with age, don't miss your athlete's opportunity for optimal growth. To get a better idea of the images above check out the video below!