The view from the bench during hockey tryouts is one that’s difficult to fathom for many hockey parents. It’s a lonely place. Even if you have vivid memories of your own experience trying out for teams as a youngster, there’s just no possible way to fully appreciate the perspective of your child.
Though we all try, don’t we? Communication is important during the tryout process. Your child wants to know you’ve got their back, because the reality is no one else in the building does.
Well, that’s not completely true. One memory I have of NSWC tryouts involved a young goaltender standing on his head and receiving applause from every parent in the stands. The pessimistic part of me says that this only happened because it was a goaltender and thus not threatening to take the forward or defensemen spots.
The optimist in me says that there are indeed positive, supportive people in the hockey universe.
Which take resonates louder with you?
Regardless, you’re about to bump into a lot of people when tryouts start up this year, so whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, it’s important to navigate the process with tact and respect.
Most coaches have differing beliefs on the appropriate nature of participation during tryouts. Some spend all their time studying tryouts intently from a safe spot. Some prefer spending time on the bench learning about how the players operate. And some are always on the ice directing sessions how they see fit.
So, you might not actually meet face to face the people who will coach your sons and daughters in the season to come, and that’s alright. It’s not the right time to introduce yourself or ask questions. Parents might think selecting a team is easy, but it’s anything but. Coaches need to concentrate and make decisions they think are best.
The life of a hockey parent is also the lifeblood of their social network. If you’re new to the game then chances are you haven’t said goodbye to all your non-hockey friends just yet. Don’t worry, you can reacquaint with them in a decade.
For now, the folks chilling with their Double Double’s a few shuffles down from you in the stands are your new friends. Your only friends.
So give a good impression, k? Or don’t bother, but just remember, you’re going to be spending time with all these people for an entire season (and beyond), and the ups and downs to come will be a lot easier to deal with if you start on the right foot.
This one is for both parents as well as players. While your child is putting his or her best foot forward on the ice and you’re doing the same up top, you’re both going to learn a lot about yourself.
How will you react when your child gets crushed by a clean hit? By a dirty hit? How will you react when your child seemingly gets far less ice time than his or her peers, thus losing the opportunity to make the team?
That last one is a trick question, and here’s the truth of it: every parent feels that way.
The reality is that while you’re stressing out up top, your child is experiencing far deeper pressure on the ice. It’s a difficult process for them, but it’s one that will go a long way toward building their inner dialogue and helping them prepare for future stressful situations away from the rink.
And that’s kind of what it’s all about, right?