Raising an athlete is no easy task, and raising a hockey player takes this to a whole new level. From some parents feeling overprotective of their young star, to others being concerned that the coach may be too harsh, many minor hockey parents are tearing their hair out over their child’s new hobby. Many find themselves wondering, “how will I be able to handle this for the next ten years?!” however by following the tips below, you may find yourself with a better understanding of the culture behind hockey, and find some of your worries dissipating.
- Leave the Coaching to the Coach
Although you may have been the star of your high school’s championship winning team, it is important to let your child’s coach teach them on the ice. That’s not to say you shouldn’t help them practice outside of formal practice, but rather during practice, let the coach do the coaching. By interfering with what the coach has to say, your young player may become confused about certain aspects of the game, which will hinder their development in-game. New players do not have the judgement skills to know which advice they should follow, and their performance will ultimately suffer.
If you experience continued frustration with how a coach performs his job, bring it up to him or the organization. It’s best not to embarrass your child at practice by doing this in front of his teammates, but a simple phone call or email should get your message across. If you really feel that you should be coaching your child rather than someone else, you may find yourself most comfortable if you take an official coaching position yourself, so that the job is not left to someone you don’t trust.
- Avoid Comparisons Among Players
If your child is just starting out as a hockey player, they may not show much skill in the beginning. All players start somewhere, and they all have learning to do. With youth sports, it’s easy for parents to compare their child to another player, wondering why they aren’t as skilled at skating or shooting. This is natural, and with time you will see development in your player’s weak points; however, during the first few seasons of their hockey playing career, comparing their performance to another youth player’s performance is detrimental. It may seem natural to you, but over time you will drive yourself crazy over wondering what could possibly be done to make your child the star of the team, rather than the kid who lives across the street from you. This creates tense relationships between parents and players, which is not healthy or beneficial for anyone involved. Avoid this tension by taking no part in comparing your child to others, and focusing on their performance alone.
- Winning is Not Always Most Important
There is a saying which goes “you learn more from your losses than your wins,” and this statement is particularly true with hockey. You and your child may be frustrated by losing, and it’s understandable: nobody has fun losing. However, recognizing the development of your child’s skills goes much farther than only recognizing their wins. After a loss, discuss the game with your player, and get their input. Many factors go in to making a great hockey player, and the biggest hockey stars didn’t find their fame by crying over their losses. Successful players see losses as a way to better their game, and this is how losses at a young age should be treated. Do not yell at your child or otherwise berate them for a loss, let them know that they tried their hardest, and have a conversation with them about improvements they can make. If you see mistakes in their game, help them practice to better develop themselves in that area so that they will continue to improve at the game without ever getting discouraged.