Thursday, September 5, 2013

Older Wiser Hockey Parents

On the sidelines with my daughter Sophia
    If I only knew then, what I know now! There are a few things I would have done differently and I certainly would have stressed a lot less. There's a lot we can learn from hockey parents who have been there and done that, so why not share their wealth of experience and knowledge before we drop the puck on a new season?  Over the next couple of weeks check for my posts where you will read about some really neat hockey parents who get it right!  I was fortunate to connect with them during my research for my monlthy USA Hockey Magazine hockey mom column. We'll start with  Kellie Merrill. Kellie lives in Wasilla, Alaska, a small town, probably just like yours, where parents are often complaining about coaching or not winning, Her daughter is a 2nd year PeeWee, Tier II level. She plays for Mat-Su Amateur Hockey Association. Her son also played all his years at MAHA from mini-mite to 2nd year PeeWee. She stays very involved with both her kids’ activities. and has served on the MAHA board for many years. She is now dipping her toes into the sport of swimming.

1. You and your husband love hockey, but what if your kids didn't share the same passion for the sport? How would you handle that?

My son starting playing hockey as a mini-mite; when he was a 2nd year peewee my husband and I noticed that he just did not LOVE hockey as much as we loved hockey. Every year when hockey season was starting we would ask him if he wanted to play and he would say that he would that he did so we just kept registering him and cheering him on.

When my daughter started playing hockey, as a mite, we could just see the natural hockey passion in her. She loves hockey 24/7 as much as my husband and I do. She is currently a 2nd year peewee playing on a co-ed Tier II team. When my son was going to be a 1st year bantam we sat down with him and explained that he needs to play hockey for him and not for us. We enjoy watching him play but not if he doesn’t want to. It’s far more important for him to want to play for him and not for us. He said that he would like to try a different sport. He wanted to try swimming. He loves it!

As a parent I am passionate about supporting and watching my children enjoy what they are doing instead of seeing a lack luster performance because they think that is what I expect them to be doing.

2. Have you heard or seen parents refer to hockey as "an investment?" What are your thoughts on that? (I've heard parents say it's going to pay off with a scholarship or NHL selection)

This doesn’t factor into any of our thought process. We are happy to afford for our kids to be part of a team and live healthy active lifestyles. If it turns into something more then that’s great but we do not have that expectation. My daughter has her own goal to play in the Olympics; this is something she came up with by herself. We will support her in doing all we can to make her dreams and goals become a reality.

3.  And how do you avoid the "comparison trap?" (comparing how he or she is doing against a friend or star athlete)

This is an easy question for me to answer. I have never been one to compare my children to others in sports, school or life in general. As long as my children are improving or making adequate gains I am happy. I compare them to themselves and no one else – this makes them 2nd to none!!

I mostly remind parents that the sport of hockey isn’t always about winning or the scoreboard. Hockey is about developing players. Like I said earlier as long as my daughter’s skills are developing year after year I am happy. Yes winning is great fun but it really isn’t everything (my daughter would disagree with me on this). I found that if we don’t make a big deal about losing a game the less dwelling my daughter does. If we focus on specific plays she did really well she gets excited about talking about that instead of dwelling on the loss. Then of course having her favorite meal, watching a favorite movie or some ice cream after a really hard loss will soothe the soul. I get so excited this time of year because she is excited! I feed off of her enthusiasm because of that I can tune out a lot of negative talk/behaviors of parents. I’m there for her and not them. I can’t get this time back. I want to think back and remember how much I loved going and watching her play youth hockey and not how much a loathed it because of being surrounded by unhappy parents. They will regret that time – I will not!

No comments:

Post a Comment