Last week we talked about getting released. It’s a tough subject, but it’s an important one to explore in western Canada, where hockey talk rules the supper table and evenings and weekends are spent smacking around a circle of vulcanized rubber.
And whether it’s through those countless hours spent on the ice practicing or through naturally-born talent, sometimes it’s even more of a surprise when a player makes the team they’re trying out for.
So now what?
Whether you’re feeling the sting of being released or the elation of making the team, the world will continue to turn.
Like last week, let’s take a second to outline the range of emotions children feel after making the team:
Most of these emotions can be felt after getting cut as well, but the point remains that it’s the individual player who must deal with these emotions, and not his or her parents.
No, a parent’s job is to support and ensure that whatever it was that brought their child to this point, they encourage it to continue.
Here are the steps to take when tryouts are finally finished.
This is a proud moment for every parent. Your child is happy, they deserve some time to reflect on the accomplishment. This is also the right moment to focus on the strengths that contributed to success.
Here are 3 questions to ask your child if they make the team:
What skills do you think helped you make it?
What type of player do you think you are at this point?
How can you help this team enjoy success this year?
It’s crucial that the excitement of making the team is channeled into a year-plan of dedication and enjoyment, and you can help kickstart this process by reminding your child that the hard work has only just begun.
One of those questions deals with the new team for which your son or daughter is going to play. Possessing skills the coach found valuable enough to choose is one thing, but being part of a team, something bigger than an individual, is a vital element of development in minor hockey. There are going to be times throughout the year when things don’t go smoothly - this is the easiest item of the year to predict.
How will your child deal with the valleys?
How can your child make the players around him better?
How can your child contribute to a healthy, safe dressing room environment?
Some of the most prevalent problems in minor hockey start in the dressing room, because hockey is about more than just scoring goals on the ice, it’s about scoring points with new teammates, new peers. Learning to function as part of a team is a lesson that should be more important than padding the stats in atom or peewee.
Every year there’s a dip around November. Every team, every level. The focus wanes, dedication drops off and ultimately performance suffers, both that of the individual and as a result, of the team. The excitement of tryouts wears off and fatigue sets in.
This is natural, but the coach won’t put up with it for long. You can help avoid an extra helping of November Dip by asking those positive-value based questions in September.
Being named to a hockey team is a treasured experience for young hockey players, no matter what level it is. Some families can’t get passed falling to a certain team, but for the most part, it’s the kids who make the conscious decision to contribute to their new team who retain values that will be important as adults.
Hockey is about learning lessons that will serve our kids as adults in the real world. People often talk about the dangers of living life vicariously through their children. Well, if the lessons our children are learning are based in teamwork, dedication and consistent daily improvement, then I say this is a case where it’s a-ok to play along.