Next to you and the other parent in your child’s life, no one is more influential than your child’s hockey coach. This is someone whom your child spends a lot of time with and whose personal mission it is to help mold and grow your child into a successful athlete. Because the coach plays such an influential role in your child’s life, it only makes sense that you would want to get to know him or her.
It’s important to make sure that the coach’s values, beliefs, and philosophies as they relate to sports and athletic training are in line with the values, beliefs, and philosophies you want your child to take to heart and put to practice. If there’s a serious disconnect between the person you hope your child becomes and the person your coach hopes your child becomes, your child probably needs a different hockey environment.
A good coach will take the time to introduce himself to parents at the start of the season. He will also be direct when questioned about his coaching approaches, beliefs, and philosophies. You and a coach don’t have to agree 100% on everything, but you should agree when it comes to how losses are handled, the goal of the team, what the coach wants children to get out of being on his team, and other important matters such as these.
Ideally, a coach will be focused on building skills and sportsmanship rather than on winning and will treat players with respect and kindness at all times, win or lose. Remember, though, that just because a coach says he believes in something doesn't necessarily mean he practices what he preaches. Attend a few practices and games to see if your child’s coach is really all that he says. Also, make sure your child knows he can speak up if he ever feels mistreated or threatened by his coach. Listening to your little one, staying in contact with the coach, and “checking in” at practices and events from time to time can ensure you’re happy with the instruction your child is receiving.