If you’ve recently signed your child up for hockey, then you probably have high hopes about how involvement in this sport is going to help your little one. Fortunately, it definitely can help him or her in a variety of ways. It can help with physical things, such as hand-eye coordination, but, even more importantly, it can also help with internal things, such as self-confidence and character. If you’re
Teach the Important Lessons
To start off with, as hard as it may be, focus on helping your child to learn the most important lessons of hockey, rather than on praising a good play or criticizing a mistake made on the ice. The “sports stuff” is up to your child’s coach to handle, NOT you.
Your job, instead, should be on helping your child find ways to be a good sport, encouraging your child to persevere when things get tough, and on building your child’s confidence when he’s feeling down. If you can focus on these internal things, rather than the game/sport related things, you can help your child to begin to build character and to take away the most important lessons the sport has to offer.
Be a Good Example
It’s important to remember that, no matter how much talking you do and how much you say the right thing, your child is still, ultimately, going to learn from what you do, and this can have even more of an impact than what you say.
So, in other words, practice what you preach! Don’t yell at the referee if you don’t like a call…and then expect your kids to learn respect for adults and sport officials. Don’t talk badly about other players in front of your kids (or at all) and expect them to learn good sportsmanship. Remember, your example speaks volumes, so always be mindful of how you act and the things you want your child to learn from the sport. If the two don’t line up, then you’ve got some changing of your own to do.
The bottom line is that if you focus on character development and make it more important than other things, including and especially winning, then your child stands a much better chance of learning hockey’s most important and valuable skills…the ones that take effect OFF the ice.