This new hockey season can be a time for change. Not everything from last year will be the same and that’s okay. Look at this year as the opportunity for your child to grow as a player and to gain new life experiences. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and simply enjoy the game from afar. Here are some reminders for parents and some new things to try this upcoming season.
Don’t be the coach
There’s only one head coach of the team and they are behind the bench. Yelling from the stands doesn’t help develop your child as a player and they probably can’t hear you while the action is happening. Enjoy being a fan and leave what happens on the ice up to the coaching staff. In Milos Raonic’s Players Tribune essay, he explains why he is grateful that he never talks about tennis with his parents, even to this day.
Give the kids responsibility
One of the great things about sports is that they help to build character and responsibility. Leave it up to the kids to tie their skates, put on their equipment and carry/wheel their own bags. Once you feel like they have a comfort level in doing all of these activities by themselves, it’s time to let go. This helps to grow a child’s independence and confidence.
Hockey equipment can be expensive. However, there are cheaper alternatives that exist. Take a look at used gear. Just because something is more expensive it doesn’t always guarantee better quality or longevity. Remember, kids are growing up fast and will likely outgrow the equipment before it gets a full lifespan of use. This is an easy way to save a few dollars each year.
Encourage them to have fun
It can get lost in all of the happenings of game day but never forget why kids choose to play sports – to have fun and spend time with their friends. Sports build character and teach skills that are very unique. Players should leave the rink knowing that even if they lost, they still had fun playing and that they can reflect on hockey as a positive experience.
Less can be more
There isn’t always a need for a reward. Offering your child something in return for scoring a goal or promising a post-game meal at a restaurant can skew why they want to play the game. If they aren’t having fun just playing the game and being on the ice, there could be something else going on that needs to be addressed. The love of the sport is the biggest reward of it all.