If you coach youth hockey, you probably have both good days and bad days…days where you love the sport and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else….and days where you’d rather be doing anything else.
These good and bad days are normal since coaching is both rewarding and frustrating at the same time. Coaches have many jobs to do, too many people butting in with their opinions, and the stress of being in charge of a whole team to deal with.
Fortunately, there are a few key things you can do, as a coach, to cast aside the stress, relax, and get more enjoyment and less hassle out of your involvement with hockey. Below, you’ll find some tips that should help you greatly in your journey as a coach.
Tip #1: Don’t Take Anything Too Personally
Most coaches go into coaching because they have a strong desire to help others. Thus, when things don’t go according to plan, such as when a player stops showing up to practice or a parent yells at you after a game, you may feel like you’ve failed at your goal.
Similarly, when parents whisper about you or the kids get upset with you, it’s easy to get your feelings hurt. The key to feeling better, though, and to not feeling bad in the first place, is to learn not to take anything personally or to heart.
Players play badly for their own reasons; it’s not your fault. Parents get angry for a million reasons, and so do players. You have to learn to “disconnect” a little from the negative and to remember that, more often than not, it’s not about you.
Tip #2: Forgive Yourself…and Others
When you make mistakes as a coach…and you will…be sure to forgive yourself. If you have a rough day and say harsh words to a player, apologize to him first, and then forgive yourself.
In the same vein, if you lose a game or if your players just aren’t getting a particular strategy and you know it’s because of some failing on your part, don’t beat yourself up.
Instead, learn from your mistakes, whether they’re hasty words or distracted coaching, and use them to better yourself and your team.
Tip #3: Be Yourself
While it may sound a bit pat, there is no better advice than to “be yourself.”
As a coach, it can be tempting to “give in” here and there to make your players like you…perhaps at the expense of their respect. It can also be tempting to say things you don’t mean or to be dishonest in an attempt to please everyone, which never works.
Don’t fall into those traps. As a coach, you need to be strong in who you are, your policies, and what you believe. That is the only way you can be successful and still manage to get some joy out of the job as well.
As you can see, being a coach can be tough, but if you follow these simple tips, it can be at least a little bit easier.