By now you’ve probably turned the page on the 2015/16 minor hockey season. The playoffs have been completed, and you and your hockey playin’ son or daughter are left to face a bleak summer of long days and oppressively bright lower mainland sun.
It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? Saying goodbye to something that was there for you morning, noon and night for the past seven months?
Whether you win or lose, completing a season is a bittersweet time in a young hockey player’s life. As parents you might be relieved it’s over, but for young athletes, remember - hockey is often their primary source of friendship and the source by which they develop the majority of their character and teambuilding skills.
That’s why it’s so important we extract hockey’s lessons before we wave sayonara to the season for good.
In case you hadn’t noticed to this point, I’m a coach/writer. It’s a pretty sweet gig, partly because I love doing it, partly because I’ve the ability to craft a powerful message that makes a positive impact on the lives of many.
That being said, I’ve learned to embrace what I’m good at, namely, writing from a particular perspective: the perspective of a hockey coach.
When it comes to perspectives of which I simply don’t possess the requisite subject matter expertise, I’ve gotten good at asking the right questions.
Because, hockey parents, sometimes you’re difficult to understand.
You know who else is difficult to understand? Minor hockey players. On that topic we can find some common ground. So instead of telling your kids what you think, coast into the offseason by asking them what they think. If you can absorb their knowledge on the season and how they feel about it once they’ve had time to decompress a bit, perhaps that will help shape your perspective on both the season that was and the season to come.
Alright, here’s how smrt I is!
Once the season is finished, every parent becomes a coach. Actually a lot of you are coaches during the season as well in different capacities. Deconstructing the season is an ongoing process while you’re still practicing and playing games. Coaches and parents and coach/parents all think too much, but once the season is finished it’s easier to gain clarity.
Ask yourself: what do you want out of hockey for your children? Whether you’re a coach or a parent, chances are this answer will be fairly similar.
Appropriate post-game questions:
It doesn’t matter if you’re a coach or a parent, you want to win. You want success for your child. You want them to be the best. Sometimes we forget that being the best version of yourself still counts.
So here’s the rub: it’s a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario. Go back to those questions - there’s no mention of goals or personal statistics. Why? Because goals and personal stats are an effect, not a cause. We can control cause; effort, determination, teamwork, even passion to an extent. A minor hockey player can’t control how good he or she is at scoring goals relative to his or her peers.
As a parent, you want your child to score the most goals. Don’t lie to yourself, it’s perfectly natural. The problem is that once the season ends, if the focus of your conversations is points and status, then your child will miss the point of the hockey season and in the long run they’ll end up having a tougher time scoring goals and improving anyways because they’re focused on the results instead of the process.
Hockey doesn’t work that way.
At least that’s what I believe, but I’m just a mere hockey coach/hockey writer.
What do you believe?