The amazing thing about young hockey players is that they are often excited and enthusiastic about the sport…until they’re not.
Young people go into a sport excited and ready to have some fun. Over time, however, their interest can naturally wane. This is especially true if they are subjected to a lot of pressure or harsh practices and treatment.
The good news, though, is that enthusiasm for the sport can come back. Sometimes, it happens on its own. Other times, however, a little encouragement and the careful use of motivation techniques can go a long way.
Address Discouragement Right Away
One of the key factors in keeping young athletes motivated is being able to recognize discouragement.
Players can get discouraged for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s a lost game, failure or difficulty with obtaining a skill, or even poor treatment from teammates, discouragement happens for all kinds of reasons.
Good coaches (and parents) should keep a careful eye on players. They should notice when discouragement, often disguised as a lack of interest in the sport, occurs, and they should take immediate steps to end it.
A few positive words, some extra time spent with a player, or just a hug of understanding can go a long way toward ending discouragement in its early stages.
Include Praise with Every Criticism
For many young hockey players and, honestly, even adult players, criticism can be hard to take.
After all, no one likes to hear that they’re not doing great and that they need to improve.
Too much criticism can often lead to discouragement. For this reason, all of the people in a young player’s life are encouraged to give criticism in as kind and positive a way as possible and to try and follow up each criticism with a little bit of praise.
By following these tips and just working hard to be kind and supportive in general, young hockey players can easily stay more encouraged and motivated.