Status is something that adults tends to care a lot about, and, unfortunately, they sometimes let their concerns about status affect their kids. This is especially true in the world of hockey parents, in which many parents think it’s an absolute must that their kids land a spot on an AAA team and then will do anything and everything to make sure that their kids keep that spot.
In reality, though, this is just plain silly and can be harmful to a child by putting too much pressure on him or her. At the end of the day, youth hockey is just that- YOUTH hockey. It is not a professional sport, so it doesn’t really matter what team your kid is on or if it’s an AAA team. What matters more is that your child is part of a supportive team where he can learn and grow as an athlete and, even more importantly, as a person.
The best way to take the “status” element out of youth hockey is to, first of all, when you search for a league for your child to join, not pay attention to its status or prestige. Instead, look for teams with good coaches that support and encourage their players and treat everyone equally and also give each player equal playing time and, thus, equal time to learn and grow.
Secondly, once your child is on a team, don’t make too big a deal over his performance, whether it’s good or bad. If you start bragging about your player and getting your own worth from him or her, you’re setting yourself up to become overly status conscious. And, if your child isn’t the best player on the team, you also shouldn’t panic because, after all, it’s just a game. Focus on fun and personal growth, and everything else will fall into place.
The bottom line is that, even if you hope your kid will “go pro” one day, there’s no need to start out on serious, upper level teams super early. In fact, doing so can quickly lead to burn-out for your young player. Instead, push status aside and focus on fun and learning to love the sport. At the end of the day, that’s really the only thing that matters.