Lesson #3 – Parents see hockey through a different set of eyes
I learned a lot during the interviews for this video. At the end of the video Brock tells the story of being the backup goalie during playoffs. As I listened to his perspective I realized he understood why, but as a Mom I didn’t. I believe that kids often know their place on a team; they know who the best skaters are, whose best on the penalty kill or who makes the biggest saves, and they are okay with that. I think, as parents, we often make it so much worse for them, or we fill their heads with our own opinions that contradict what they are being told in the dressing room. If your child is struggling with their hockey experience, I think as parents we need to help them with that, but we need to ensure that it is them that’s having the struggle, not us, before we step in.
Often parents will request meetings with coaches to discuss something they don’t understand or agree with. I’m all for these meetings if your objective is to be fair and if you’re able to listen as much as you talk. I think it’s important to have a good line of communication. The challenge for parents is that you must decide what your objective is going to be before you enter into these meetings. If your plan is that you’ll walk out knowing you get everything you want, your child will get the most ice time and you’ve talked the coach into naming your young player as the Captain, then I think the meeting is a waste of time. You need to go into those meetings with an open mind, knowing you might not like what you hear. It’s important to realize that you might have to help your young player in dealing with the fact that he or she may not be the starting goalie or the first on the power play. Often parents will say things are so political when in truth they just didn’t like the answer they were given about their child’s abilities.
If I can offer any advice, don’t be the parent that asks the same question over and over and sends emails daily. Your child will get the brunt of that behaviour, not you. Sometimes teaching your young player how to deal with constructive criticism or a difficult leader is a great way to help them improve. Your son or daughter isn’t always going to get a fair coach and, in that case, your job is to teach them to advocate for themselves. If they are too young, you should do it for them. If things don’t improve once you’ve done that, you need to support your young player to do their best regardless of who is running the bench as long as they are safe. On that note, it is never okay that your young player has to deal with inappropriate behaviour or feel unsafe in any way. If you feel uneasy, it’s up to you to go to the association and make sure the situation is rectified.
One of my favourite stories in the book is from when I ask my husband if he felt that our son had what it took to go somewhere in hockey and his response was, “I don’t know and I’m not the one to ask. That’s how parents get disappointed; we aren’t objective enough to make that call.” At the time it really irritated me because he had played hockey all his life and had a good understanding of the game. The only difference was that he could be objective with the kids he coached but not with his own son. He was right. When we love our kids unconditionally, we tend to see hockey through a different set of eyes.
Written by Allyson Tufts
Author, Speaker, and Passionate Hockey Mom
Stay tuned for next week’s video, “Before you yell at your child for their performance on the ice, take a good look at your conduct in the stands”
If you want more information about the series or if you’d like to purchase the book go to www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.