Children’s Ringette refers to all programs up to and including U10 and U12 programs introducing participants to the sport for the first time.
The Children’s Ringette initiative represents a concerted effort to make adjustments to ringette practices and competitions to meet the needs of children, while promoting a fun, safe and healthy environment which supports the development of physical literacy and the long-term development of all players.
Over the course of the coming seasons, a number of positive changes will be introduced starting with the phasing in of small-area games (cross-ice and half-ice ringette) as the standard of play. This change will be introduced as follows:
- U8 players in 2019/20
- U9 players in 2020/21
- U10 players in 2021/22
As these changes are phased in, Ringette Canada will be working with provincial ringette associations around other areas of activity, including support resources for coaches, and guidance on team formation and managing player progression.
Small-area games support development by scaling the game to the size of participants. Benefits of small-area games include:
- Each player being able to spend more time with the ring, leading to improved ring control, passing and shooting skills
- More opportunities to apply practiced skills
- More opportunities to accelerate/decelerate and change directions reinforcing fundamental skating skills
- Smaller nets provide an appropriate challenge for skaters and goalies
By changing the format of games, we hope to also influence the way practices are run. In essence, we’re changing the “test” games to better support development so that coaches who “teach to the test” will focus more on the right skills.
- Each provincial ringette organization is responsible for setting their own implementation timeline. Many are moving forward faster than the national timeline. See provincial implementation.
- Small-area games will be played across the country during the 2018/19 season, with small differences in order to identify best practices for game design. Differences will include:
- Size of the playing surface (not to exceed half the ice surface)
- Number of players on the ice
- Size of nets
- Goaltending options (no goalie, rotating goalie, designated goalie)
- Modified rules, including number of passes, shift lengths etc.
- Ringette Canada has produced a Jamboree Guide which outlines a number of playing options. This guide is a working document that will form the basis of more formal guidelines to be put in place for the 2019/2020 season.
- In coordination with Ringette Canada, provincial ringette organizations will work with local organizations to gather feedback from players, parents, coaches and organizers on their experiences this year. This will be done using a series of standard surveys.
- Where possible, it is requested that games be videotaped so that feedback collected can be compared to actual game play, with some events being used for more in-depth analysis related to player engagement.
- The aim of this data collection is to gather information about which programs are most effective, in an effort to create national consistency in developmental outcomes, while providing flexibility at the local level.
The following is an overview of each provincial ringette organization key activities and plans with regard to Children’s Ringette. For more specifics about what is happening in your province/community please contact your provincial organization’s Children’s Ringette Lead.
Ringette British Columbia has launched a new Children’s Ringette Program with two divisions, FUNdamentals 1 and FUNdamentals 2 in place of existing U8 programs. Players are placed into divisions based on their development.
Lead: Rebecca Adams, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ringette Alberta will be working with it’s members to develop a plan to adopt small area-games starting with testing game formats later in the 2018-19 season in partnership with Ringette Calgary (Cal East).
Lead: David Myers, Executive Director email@example.com
Ringette Saskatchewan will be organizing Children’s Ringette in the new year (2019) where players will be able to experience a series of different small-area games. Games will be recorded and feedback from participants will be collected. Details for those interested in participating will be released before the end of 2018.
Lead: Amanda O’Donnell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ringette Manitoba was the first provincial organization to formally move to small-area games, when they launched the Ringette4U program in 2014. They will be continuing to offer this program in 2018-19 and beyond, while participating in the national effort to gather feedback about programs being offered and build consistency in developmental outcomes.
Ringette4U is an instructor-led ringette program focused on developing athletic abilities in children aged 3-8. Participants progress through a series of levels, identified by colours based on their skill development. A rural version allows for programs with lower numbers to be combined into a single program offering.
Lead: Melanie Reimer (email@example.com)
Ringette Ontario will be working with its members to develop a plan to adopt small-area games. This season, Guelph Ringette’s U7 program will be using small-area games and will be participating in the national initiative to gather feedback on different game formats in support of Ringette Ontario’s planning efforts. They will also be hosting events in February and March for other local organizations to experience small-area games.
Ringuette Québec will be working with its members to develop a plan for the implementation of small-area games. The Rive-Sud U8 program has moved to a program focused on small-area games, including tournaments within the regional organization. This program is providing learnings for other organizations in the province. A larger tournament (Festival C), which will include players from other organizations, is planned for the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Website: None at this time
Lead: Marie-Lyne Fortin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ringette Nova Scotia is collaborating with ringette organizations within the Halifax Regional Municipality to run a supplementary program where players will be exposed to each game format twice over the course of the season. Sessions will be running in a loop starting in November 2018, with two organizations in attendance at each session and each organization experiencing the format twice.
Website: None at this time
The choice of format ultimately depends on the number of players, number of teams, skill level and equipement/ice time available. Coaches and local associations are encouraged to choose from the options available, based on what works best in their setting.
If your association is offering a program which includes small-area games during the 2018-2019 season, we are interested in receiving your feedback. We ask you to please contact Kelsey McIntosh at email@example.com.
Coaching small-area games is not much different than coaching a traditional game and players will quickly adjust. Here are some tricks to help you prepare.
- Use small-area games in practice, don’t wait for a tournament
- Start with simple rules that reinforce skill development and promote inclusiveness, then build on them. For example, every player must touch the ring, then make three passes before taking a shot etc.
- Get quickly into action, then provide feedback
- Keep it fun and be creative
Divide the ice into two, three, four or more sections, with sections dedicated to skills and others to small-area game. Choose game rules that reinforce the skills that you are teaching during the practice.