Parents’ Role in the Stars Program
Hockey Parents Can Make All the Difference
In the Stands
Parents can take the fun out of hockey by continually yelling or screaming from the stands. Parents should enjoy the game and applaud good plays. The stands are not a place from which parents should try to personally coach their kids. Kids often mirror the actions of their parents; and if they see mom or dad losing their cool in the stands, they'll probably do the same on the ice.
Players will also determine their own appropriate range of behavior based largely on how they see their role models behave. Make sure that you set a positive example for your child.
Car and Home
Some parents not only spoil the fun for their kids at the ice rink, but also in the car, believing this the perfect place for instruction. To serve their children’s best interest, parents must try to keep things in perspective. There's more to life than hockey, and the car and home are not places to coach. Parents are responsible for supporting and respecting the coach's decisions and abilities. It is unfair and unacceptable to put children in a position of having to decide who to listen to -- their parents or the coach.
Also consider that the worst damage to a team can be done from within. Talking negatively about coaches’ decisions or the performance of teammates will poison your child’s attitude and destroy the unity that the team has worked hard to build. Take the high road by reinforcing the other role models in your child’s life, including his coach and teammates.
Parents should remember that if a child wants to improve, they have to practice -- not just play. Even if a child is not the "star" player for a team, practice stresses the importance of teamwork, establishing goals, discipline and learning to control your emotions, all of which are important lessons children can use both in and away from sports.
The average player sees 15 minutes of ice-time in each Pee Wee game. Think about the energy spent over the years arguing about missed shifts here and there…then consider the value of 75 solid minutes of ice-time at practice. Make sure that your priorities are in order.
Support Your Child AND The Coach
It happens to every player – a disappointing game…a poor performance…maybe some tough motivation from his coach. Instead of criticism (of him, his teammates or the coach), what your child really needs is support. Remind him of his talent and love for the game, reinforce his self-confidence and urge him to work hard to overcome the weakness or challenge. Maybe even buy him some ice cream.
Criticism of the player, his teammates or coaches in this kind of situation will only undermine his respect for the team, the coaching staff and, ultimately, his own abilities. If he does not understand what to change or how to change it, encourage him to approach his coach right away. Coaches have a great respect for players who can understand their weaknesses and show a willingness to work hard at them. And a player with a negative attitude will go nowhere quickly. Choose your example from the real world…there are a lot of them.
Always Be Positive
Parents serve as role models for their children, who often look to adults for advice, direction and approval. Never lose sight of the fact that you are a role model, and strive to be a positive role model. As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is show good sportsmanship at times to coaches, referees, opponents and teammates.
Remember that your children are PLAYING hockey. It is important to allow them to establish their own goals and play the game for themselves. Be careful not to impose your own standards or objectives.
The best way to help children achieve goals and reduce their natural fear of failure is through positive reinforcement. After all, no one likes to make mistakes.
If your child does make a mistake -- and they will (remember, they're just kids) -- keep in mind that mistakes are an important part of the overall learning process. Strive to be supportive and point out the things they do well. Make your child feel like a winner.
And don’t forget to just sit back and enjoy the games once in a while!
If you have questions or concerns about your son or daughter’s hockey experience or development, remember to:
1) Keep your composure.
2) Gain the right perspective.
3) Contact your manager OR the Stars Director…
Scott Buzney Director, NJ Stars Hockey
Director of Hockey, ProSkateNJ