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Youth Hockey Formats

We now have a generation of young player who wants to feel empowered, work collaboratively with others, have a choice and ultimately wants to be active in the learning process but does our training and game formats represent this? Let’s talk about game formats...

If we were to fly over the hockey capital, Holland, on a youth match-day we would see their youngest youth (U8) playing 3v3 in half a quarter with two goals simply marked by cones or mini-goals. That is 8 games and a minimum of 48 players fully active at one time. Why two goals I hear you say? Players begin to develop greater awareness of their surroundings, identifying available spaces both on and off the ball. Clubs would select teams of 8, before splitting into 2 teams of 4 to play 3v3. Though, if one team is too strong this can easily become a 4vs3 and a much more evenly contested game.

It is worth noting as well that the Dutch do not record or post results online until U12s, shifting the focus away from playing- to-win to playing-to-play. Come to the older age groups and there is a National 3v3 Tournament where players are invited to enter their own teams before battling it out for the ABN AMRO Cup at HC Rotterdam - How cool is that?!