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PODCAST | Parents Role in Player Development

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 09/17/15, 11:46AM EDT

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Richard Monette from Active for Life sits down to talk about the role parents play in their child's athletic development.


We all want our kids to be happy, healthy and successful. But how do we know we are doing the best for our children?  

Kids who have fun playing a sport are more likely to stay active and healthy for their entire lifetime. They also have a better chance of becoming a top athlete. So make it fun, and make it quality! 

Parents: When you were a kid, what was your experience with sport? When you participated in Phys. Ed. classes, team sports, swimming lessons, or dance classes – was it fun? Did you learn skills? And did it make you want to keep playing?  

Doing what is best for your child is what Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) is all about, and Canadian sport is working hard to develop Long-Term Athlete Development plans for all sports. What those plans tell us is that early specialization, and early intense training in most sports just doesn’t help the child develop to be the best they could possibly be. The evidence is that too much early specialization actually prevents children from developing to their full potential.

Hockey Canada has created an LTPD resource titled ‘Hockey for Life, Hockey for Excellence’ and is available to view or download.

Designed properly, children’s sport can be fun. It can also provide exciting challenges and rich skill development.

If we make it fun, challenging and instructive, we can expect two results:

  • More of our children will stay physically active throughout their lifetime.
  • More of our children will reach the top ranks of amateur and professional competition if they choose the path for elite training.   

Active for Life (activeforlife.ca) compiled this list of DO’S and DON’TS for parents who want to help their child enjoy sports and learn great skills.

Do

  1. Do your homework
    Make sure the activity your child is interested in is safe. Meet the coaches and visit the play area. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and rules if you don’t already know them. Help your child prepare and set realistic expectations for their participation.
  2. Let the coaches do their job
    If you’ve done your homework, you can rely on them to assess your child’s skill development and they’ll let you know when your child is ready to advance.
  3. Behave yourself
    Don’t curse and yell. Don’t argue with coaches, referees or other parents. Playing sports is an opportunity for your child to experience fair play. It’s a chance for them to learn humility in victory and grace in defeat. And while it’s fine to cheer for your child, it’s better to support all the kids who are out there, having fun. As the hilarious Hockey Canada PSAs remind us, it’s just a game.
  4. Talk to your child
    Learn about their participation and their enjoyment, show your interest and let them know you want them to have fun.
  5. Get active yourself
    Be a role model for your children, because studies show that active parents have active kids. Nearly 70 percent of children of parents who play sports also play sports, according to a recent Statistics Canada report.

Don't

  1. Don’t bribe your child to play
    Participation and skill development will be the reward for a child who is having fun in a supportive environment.
  2. Don’t force your child to play a particular sport
    Just because soccer is close and convenient does not mean your child will enjoy it. Let her find a sport that she enjoys and excels at. And make sure she samples a wide variety of activities. It can take time before a child realizes they like a particular sport.
  3. Don’t fixate on a single sport
    Science has proven that children need to develop as all-round athletes before they specialize in one sport. By participating in a variety of sports kids develop many movement skills, avoid injuries from over use and won’t get bored or burned out.
  4. Don’t compare your child to others
    Let him enjoy participating without having to worry about others. Not all children will develop at the same time, so skill levels are often different. And not all children will enjoy the same sports. If they aren’t having fun, let them try something else.
  5. Don’t rush things
    As long as they have the opportunity, kids will learn movement and sport skills when they – and their bodies – are ready. Until about age 5, kids should be learning basic motor skills, the FUNdamentals. After age 6 they can sign up for organized sports programs, but make sure there is an emphasis on skill development, not competition.
  6. Don’t fixate on results
    Kids can and will be competitive, but they aren’t concerned about who wins or loses. Children play sports because they want to have fun, because they learn and master new skills and because they get to spend time with their friends.

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Breakaway, the minor hockey podcast puts you in alone with some of the best and brightest minds in the game today. Each week, Dan Pollard sits down with the leaders of hockey to discuss everything from scoring more goals to how to grow the game. Subscribe to the Breakaway, The Minor Hockey Podcast on iTunesStitcherPlayerFMSoundCloud or wherever you consume your podcasts.