Pretty much every parent harbors a (secret or not-so-secret) belief that his or her young athlete will eventually make it to the pros. Parents who do believe this often, usually unknowingly, put a lot of pressure on their kids. What these parents need to realize, however, is that the chances of going pro are relatively slim and that youth hockey, at the end of the day, shouldn’t be about preparing for a career but about having fun and preparing for life in general.
First of all, parents need to realize that only around 1 out of every 2000 young athletes are going to make it big. Those are pretty low odds. That’s not to say, of course, that you shouldn’t encourage your child’s dreams, but it is to say that you shouldn’t be too devastated or surprised if your child doesn’t make it big. Furthermore, you also want to make sure it’s your child’s dreams you’re trying to play out, not your own.
Secondly, it’s important to recognize that being too hard on your young athlete in the hopes of him going pro can also have the opposite effect. If you push and push your child, studies show he’s more likely to experience burnout and give up on sports at a young age than if you just let things be and encourage your child to try hard and have fun.
Finally, remember that hockey is, at the end of the day, about fun and about the multitude of skills, such as leadership and the ability to work with a team, that can be gained from it. Don’t focus on going pro, especially not when your little one is very young. Instead, focus on having fun and just let whatever happens happen.