Monday, February 2, 2015

Blame and Shame Does Not Belong in Youth Hockey

No one likes to lose. It’s just plain not fun. Unfortunately, however, losses in hockey are inevitable. And, also unfortunately, when losses do happen in youth hockey, parents often start in with blaming and shaming. They might blame the referee for making bad or unfair calls, or they might blame the coach, or, worst of all, one or more of the young players themselves.

When parents engage in this “blaming behavior” often enough, it can filter down to the kids. And, before you know it, little players are blaming others for their losses and even for their own mistakes. You see, at its root, that’s the real problem with blame. It often keeps the blamer from accepting responsibility for things he’s done or failings on his part. When players and parents blame others for their losses, they don’t allow themselves to take an honest look at their own shortcomings or give themselves a chance to learn and grow from their mistakes.

Simply avoid blaming others is the solution. While adults should definitely cease from blaming others, both on and off the ice, and especially in front of their children, it’s important to teach kids the reverse behavior- how to learn from their failings. After every game, ask them what they did well and what they can improve on. Also, as hard as it may be, parents need to emphasize that hockey isn’t really about winning but about a love of the game. 

It’s not just parents who need to teach these attitudes and behaviors either. Coaches really need to make them a priority as well. If all of the adults in a child’s life are emphasizing these positive things, the child can’t help but learn the right way to behave.

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