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"I Got Cut, Dad. Now What?"

09/12/2014, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

How to deal with getting released from a hockey team.


The unthinkable has happened.

Your child was released from the hockey team they were trying out for. 

So now what?

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

The purpose of this post is not to dive into the mentality of parents watching their kids go through the tryout process, but instead to outline the plan after the decision is made. 

Let’s take a second to outline the range of emotions children feel after being released from a team:

  • devastation
  • ambivalence
  • relief
  • fear
  • pressure

The list goes on and on. Every young hockey player feels the sting of reassignment differently, just as every athlete feels the excitement of making a team differently. The key is how to deal with those emotions.

Remember, tryouts are about your child, not you. You're there to support your son or daughter throughout the process, not muddy the waters with your own frustration.

Here are the steps to take when tryouts are finally finished. 

"I Got Cut, Dad."

Imagine these words as your child gets into the car after a game or practice.

Your child needs you in this moment. They don’t need you to pour fuel on the fire. Ignore the players who made the cut because they don’t matter. Your son or daughter does.

It’s in this situation where you can teach your child to be a victim or a survivor.

The Survivor

“It’s alright, son.”

Getting released means there’s an opportunity for growth. How can you get past the devastation? Use this situation to look at the positives of where your child is headed and how they can help their new team.

The reality is that many players feel the sting of the first cut so deeply that they forget they aren’t a shoo-in at the next level either. 

  • A survivor is motivated to prove the doubters wrong

  • A survivor maintains a positive, determined attitude 

  • A survivor is a leader, a beacon of dedication 

Teaching your child to be a survivor infuses them with the life-skills necessary to deal with disappointment later in life. Getting released from any team - hockey, soccer, cricket, it doesn’t matter - is an opportunity to graft strength onto a vulnerable skeleton.

The Victim

“How is that possible?”

Parents who place blame are deflecting pain from their children. 

It’s completely understandable. Most hockey players want nothing more than to make their respective A1 teams, and when they don’t, parents revert to a primal state driven by protective instincts. 

Here’s the truth, though: your child is not physically or emotionally harmed by getting cut from a hockey team. In fact, you’re causing more longterm psychological damage by not confronting the issue head-on.

And what’s the real issue? 

Your child isn’t good enough, or he didn’t fit what the coach was looking for.

Dealing With Reality

To qualify all of this, let me clarify: coaches make mistakes. They’re trying to put together the best roster possible. Players who get the best results in tryouts more often than not find themselves on the inside.

So, sometimes it’s not about being the fastest skater or the player with the best shot - it’s about who uses those tools most effectively. 

When your child is released from a team, these are the types of questions you need to work through. Getting released means there are areas of weakness to improve.

The survivor finds those areas and focusses on them. The victim does not. 

Whatever scenario unfolds for you and your family this fall, make the choice to be stronger for the experience rather than weaker.

Teaching your child to be a survivor will serve them better in the long run, on the ice, in the classroom, at home and down the road in whatever profession they end up in.

Even if that profession is hockey.

photo credit: Robbie Grubbs via photopin cc

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