There is no question that tryout season can be both an exciting and stressful time for hockey players and their parents. All players will be working extremely hard to make the team but the added pressure of tryouts can lead to nerves and jitters that players typically wouldn’t experience in a practice or game.
To help alleviate some of the pressure your child is feeling and allow them to have a fun, positive tryout experience (regardless of the outcome) here are some tips.
- Always remain positive throughout the entire tryout process. Acknowledge your child's effort through verbal and physical cues; a quick comment like "good job" or "well done" or a “pat on the back” can go a long way in your child’s confidence. You do not need to critique the tryout, your job as a parent is to be a support system for your child.
- Keep the tryout process in perspective. Not only does your child want to make the team but he/she wants to make you as his/her parent proud. Whether your child makes the team or not do not let them feel like they have disappointed you in anyway as this can effect their self esteem.
- Allow the coach to do the coaching. Leave the technical aspect of tryout to the coaches as this is what they are certified to do. Coach your child by being there for them, motivating them and making sure they are having fun.
- Prepare your child for the possibility of not making the team and never fear failure. Being overly optimistic puts extra pressure on your child and if they do not make the team it can be devastating for them. Remind them there will be another team to tryout for and to use this as an opportunity to continue developing their skills and be ready for the following season.
- Encourage your child to have fun. If your child is having fun and treating the tryout like a normal practice or game, their positive attitude will translate into their on ice play, therefore, giving them a better chance at making the team.
- Take this opportunity to teach your child life lessons whether they make the team or not. If they make the team congratulate them and let them know it was because of their hard work and dedication. If they do not make the team teach them the lessons of acceptance, humility and perseverance.
- It’s ok to seek feedback if your child does not make the team. Speaking with the coach in a constructive way allows you to provide positive feedback to your child. Try to give your young athlete some direction on what they can do to improve, and encourage them to try out again next year.
Regardless of the outcome enjoy this time with your child as it can be some of the best years you will experience together and will create the fondest of memories.
Good luck throughout the tryout process!