Think back to when your child first expressed an interest in hockey. When that happened, it’s very unlikely that your child talked about winning championships or making millions of dollars. Instead, he or she probably said something very simple like, “That looks like fun!” Sadly, though, if we’re not careful, as parents, coaches, and others in the youth hockey world, we can take away all that initial fun out of hockey and make it so that kids don’t get any joy out of the game anymore, and really, taking away the fun is pretty much the worst thing we can do.
When we make it so that hockey is no longer fun for our kids, they are going to lose interest in it, and they are much more likely to reach “burnout” at an early age and give up on the game altogether. Plus, the whole point in playing a sport, other than to develop valuable life skills, is to have a good time, so what’s the point in playing if your child isn’t having fun!?
So, in order to avoid stealing the fun out of the sport, you, of course, need to understand what kinds of actions and behaviors are considered “highly discouraged.” While you might think it would be obvious, it’s all too easy to ruin the fun without even meaning to. If you’re guilty of any of the following behaviors, though, it’s definitely time to change some things:
· Being overly critical of everything your child does/ every play he or she makes on the ice;
· Requiring additional practice/coaching/training in addition to the hard work your child is already putting in;
· Not allowing your child to play any other sport;
· Never giving your child a day off;
· Using negative, critical “coaching”;
· Never praising your child/player;
· Insisting on maintaining a strict practice/workout schedule in the off-season;
· Focusing only on winning;
· Bashing the coach, other players, etc., especially in front of your child;
If you are guilty of any of these things, it doesn’t mean you’re the worst parent in the world, but it does mean you need to change a few things to keep hockey fun for the kids in your life because, at the end of the day, having fun is the whole point! #YouthHockey, #HavingFun