Peak Performance ran a highly successful Learn to Skate and Learn to Hockey program this year for Twin City Youth Hockey with over 50 skaters in attendance, and plan on running two sessions for Twin City next year.
"This was the first year we ran the Learn to Skate and Learn to Hockey program for Twin City Youth Hockey," Peak Performance co-owner Eric Short said. "We ran a 10-week program with the goal of teaching all the players ages 4 and up how to skate and prepare to play ice hockey."
The program was broken into two-hour blocks, with the first hour for Learn to Skate players only. This session was divided each week into three groups based on skating ability.
"The most important thing to me is giving back to the community and giving kids a chance to learn how to skate and then enjoy the opportunity to play the game, no matter what level of play," Fitchburg State University coach Dean Fuller said.
The first group is for players that have never skated before and need one-on-one beginner instruction on standing up, skating stride, balance and edges.
The second group is for skaters that can now skate on their own and need to work on stopping, edges, turns and proper skating stride.
The third group is for skaters that are almost ready for Learn to Hockey. These players are working on crossovers, stopping, inside and outside edges and all the other advance skating skills needed for ice hockey.
"As players develop through the program we moved them through groups as their skills improve," Short said. "In all the groups we incorporate games and fun activities to ensure all the players have a positive experience."
The second hour is for skaters that are ready to play hockey. We still spent time working on fundamental skating skills, but incorporate basic hockey skills and games.
To run this program, Peak Performance utilizes its staff, including experienced high school coaches; Dean Fuller, head coach at Fitchburg State University; Fitchburg State University players; and local varsity high school players to guarantee a low player-to-coach ratio in both sessions.
"My players really enjoyed the chance to be the teacher and enjoyed the experience of watching the Learn to Skate skaters get better and better every week," Fuller said. "It was a terrific experience for everyone."
The format for this program was taken directly from Dean Fuller's very successful Falcon Hockey School.
"We have to keep teaching skating and skills," Fuller said. "Fundamentals are the key to success, and that's what Peak Performance is all about."