Younger athletes (10U and 12U teams) will greatly benefit from early strength training due to neural plasticity.
What does this mean?
The young athletes’ nervous system is perfect for learning new movements that will set them up for success in their sport of choice. In simple terms, their nervous system and muscloskeletal system learn to work more efficiently together for a better and stronger outcome. Think of this like learning a foreign language....it becomes significantly easier to grasp it if you are exposed to it frequently while you are young.
Here's another example....
You will never see an elite gymnast in the Olympics who began practicing gymnastics at the age of 14. They start out at a young age. If young athletes are exposed to basic compound movement patterns they will not only develop strength, but also learn how to move well. This will give them a big advantage as they start to hit puberty.
Most athletes learn the movements for the first time when they reach puberty. This significantly slows down their strength gains due to the learning curve it takes to grasp new movements. On the other hand, athletes that can already move well and have been exposed to good strength training movement patterns will see an exponential growth of strength and athleticism as they hit puberty. This will give them a huge advantage on the ice.
Although we will not be loading the younger athletes like we will the older athletes, they will learn how to manage their bodyweight, and do various squats, hinges, presses and pulls with dumbbells.
Understanding fundamental movement patterns will help create well balanced athletes as they age through the program.