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Parents, Remember These 7 Tips During the Tryout Process

By Tom Bly, Chair, Coaches Program, 04/12/18, 11:45AM EDT

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Advice to help make Tryouts easier for your child


Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

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.

All players work extremely hard to make the team during tryout season. They place enough pressure on themselves and can feel it coming from everyone around them. For coaches, they want to make the correct decision with a limited amount of time to do so.

This is the second article in our series on Tryouts, check out 8 Things Coaches Look for When Selecting their Team.

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.

1. Stay Relaxed and Positive

Whether you realize it or not, your body language, what you say and how you say it can greatly influence a kid. If you are visibly stressed, your child could feel extra pressure to perform well on the ice and not disappoint you.

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.

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.

2. Help Prepare

Don’t do it all by yourself – kids need to learn responsibility – but be a helping hand before leaving for the rink. Whether making a meal or helping to pack their equipment, being there to help support your child can ease their mind and help them focus on getting mentally prepared for the tryout. Doing this will make it one less thing the player has to worry about.

3. Perspective

This isn’t the only team in town and if your child doesn’t make the team they want, it doesn’t mean they can’t play hockey this season. Focus on the positives and improvements that have been made since last year and know that these skills will continue to develop. Not only does your child want to make the team but they want to make you as their 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 affect their self-esteem.


Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

4. Don't Compare

No two players are the same, and comparing your child to the best players on the team could hurt their development. Give more attention to what they do well. Not everyone can be the top scorer on the team – the other players are just as important. Wondering why your child isn’t as skilled or doesn’t play more than another kid only hurts the experience of watching them play sports.

5. Feedback

If you have any questions about your child’s development or something that happened on the ice, wait until after tryouts to approach the coaching staff. Leave the technical aspect of tryout to the coaches as this is what they are certified to do. It’s okay 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.


Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

6. Bring the Right Attitude

Encourage your child to do the best they can and to learn as much as possible. Always stay positive and remember that this is never the end of the road. If a child isn’t having fun, they won’t want to keep playing hockey and nobody wants that. Your actions can have a great impact on how your kid views the sport. Additionally, be constructive and positive when speaking to your child after tryouts. If they made a mistake, they will learn from it. Their skills will only get better as time goes on.

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.

7. Next Steps

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.

 

Regardless of the outcome, enjoy this time with your child as it can be some of the best years you will experience together. Good luck throughout the tryout process and stay tuned for the next edition in our Tryout series!


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Bly is a Barrie, ON native and holds the position of Chair, Coaches Program in the OMHA.

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