Youth hockey is a wonderful sport that’s a lot of fun for the players. However, it also teaches them a lot of lessons, lessons about life, teamwork, and responsibility. Some of those lessons, though, won’t be learned without a few mistakes or poor decisions along the way.
When the young athlete in your life makes a poor choice or a mistake, what should you do? The answer isn’t to berate them or make them feel horrible. It’s to help them to learn from the mistake and to bounce back and become better than ever. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help make this possible.
Sometimes, parents, coaches, and other people in a young hockey player’s life have the tendency to “freak out” when something goes wrong.
They might get mad when a player makes a wrong move on the ice or stops attending practices. Whatever the case is, your job is to not lose your cool.
Don’t blow up at or yell at your player. Instead, ask him what’s going on, why he made the decision he did, and how he could do better next time. Try to focus on the consequences of the bad choice and how to avoid those consequences in the future.
When you stay calm and approach the topic in a gentle, understanding manner, you’re more likely to get a positive final outcome.
Stop Habits from Forming
When players make one mistake, it’s no big deal. However, a continued mistake can start to become a habit.
As a parent, coach, or other adult in a child’s life, you want to prevent bad habits from forming. That’s why it’s important to reinforce good habits, like attending practice regularly, always playing your best, and consistently showing good sportsmanship.
And, when you do catch bad behavior or poor decisions, address it right away. If you can prevent it from happening again, you can stop a forming bad habit in its tracks.
Remember, your job is to be supportive and encouraging of your young athlete no matter what. If you can do that, there’s a good chance your player will always bounce back from any bad choices.