Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography
Watching your kid on the ice should be an enjoyable experience for sports parents. Cheering along the team and supporting the players with positive encouragement provides a great atmosphere in the rink. Being involved and making sure kids get the most out of their participation can help increase their outlook on playing sports.
The game can get competitive but when that trickles up into the stands is when it can start to become a problem. We’ve all read about, or maybe seen in person, about the parents who take it too far – the ones who yell at the referees or shout at the opposing bench – creating an uncomfortable environment not only for those sitting around them but for the players on the ice as well.
Being a good sports parent doesn’t mean giving up every weekend and vacation to send your child to a hockey camp or having them shoot pucks in the driveway. It means you are there to support them in having a smile on their face every time they tie their skates.
Here are some traits that a positive sport parent has:
Players shouldn’t feel the pressure to perform but rather see the benefits that an active lifestyle brings. Let them decide what they want to do and the activities they want to participate in. One of the goals of youth sports is to encourage players to be physically active and carry on their active participation as they grow older. The research shows that playing in multiple sports helps to build better athletes.
Emphasize and remind your players about the fun instead of the score. Deciding to play sports should leave positive memories. When kids first get into playing sports it’s not to earn a scholarship or to play professionally, it’s to have fun with their friends and look forward to coming to the rink every single time. Don’t worry about talking about the future when the present provides enough to enjoy.
From your body language to how you talk about other players and coaches, your influence can go a long way in shaping the attitudes that kids have on participation and the pressure to perform well. Treat them the same after a win or loss, with the understanding that as long as they are having fun the result doesn’t matter.
If you trust the coach you have to allow them to do their job. Undermining the coaching staff with different directions or instructions will only confuse young children and put them in the tough position of having to pick a side to listen to. If you have an issue with the coach, take it up with them in a private setting.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of minor hockey and the games wouldn’t be possible without them. From coaches, trainers, managers and administrators there are many ways to get involved with your child’s team. Lending a hand can go a long way and lets you gain an appreciation for all of the work that goes into the season. Planning fundraisers and team events are great ways for the parent group to help off of the ice.
The list of what life skills our kids learn from hockey is endless. Teamwork, time management, respect and work ethic are just some of the many characteristics that can be carried from the rink to the classroom, and later on the workplace, as players grow into young adults. Hockey provides a safe environment for learning and skill building.
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