One of the reasons that people compete in sports is because a little healthy competition is a lot of fun. In fact, it’s not uncommon for teams to develop little rivalries against one another. This is particularly common in youth hockey.
Sometimes, these rivalries stay fun and are enjoyable for all. Other times, though, they start to get a bit out of control and can lead to some serious bad blood between players.
It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that a rivalry is going too far so that you can stop the problem in its tracks, before it really grows out of control.
One major warning sign is when one team vandalizes something of the other’s. Things like destroying skates or equipment, spray painting mean words on locker room doors, or destroying an athlete’s personal property are all way out of line.
In fact, it’s a good idea to discourage any kind of tampering with the other team’s property. Don’t allow athletes to hide gear or other items, even in a joking way, from the opposing team. This type of behavior can quickly escalate out of control.
Deal with vandalism seriously if it does occur, and teach players to respect the property of others, even rivals.
Name-calling might not seem like a big deal, especially if it’s done in a joking manner. However, what can be a joke to one person can completely tear apart the confidence of another.
Plus, name calling sometimes has a way of devolving into racial slurs or remarks about sexual orientation. To keep this kind of thing from happening, institute and strictly enforce a no name calling policy for all rival teams.
A little team spirit and a little rivalry is healthy. Take things too far, though, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Thus, do your best to get rivalries in check and under control.