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The Team is Set! Now What?

09/26/2014, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

5 steps to take once your hockey team's roster is set...



Your son or daughter is through the rigours of tryouts. It’s a tough month that seems to drag on and on. Regardless of your thoughts about where they ended up, at least the process is over and your family can start planning for the season to come.

This is the last post in a series of tryouts-related articles, next week we start talking about nutrition, coaching and in-season training.

1. Victim vs Survivor

It’s crucial to address the disappointment your child might feel about landing where they’ve landed. Like we talked about last week, however, the upcoming season still belongs to them, and they have an opportunity ahead of them to prove people wrong. Being a survivor means accepting the challenge of their new team, their new coach, and performing to the best of their abilities day in and day out. 

2. Negative Effects of Entitlement

A dip in performance once tryouts are finished is common. The important distinction to make is whether that dip is due to mental or physical fatigue or whether it’s a product of entitlement. Sometimes players feel like they’re owed something from their new team - ice-time, captaincy, respect from teammates - these elements are earned, they aren’t automatic. Here are a few situations where entitlement becomes obvious:

  • a player moves down a team and acts like he’s better than the team
  • a player makes a new team and feels he deserves more ice-time than in previous year
  • a second-year player treats first-year players with a lack of respect

Fortunately, these are life-lessons your child’s new coach should be working through early on.

3. The Team Above All Else

If minor hockey success is defined by the learning of life-lessons, then the most successful minor hockey players on earth place the team above all else. Parents, on the other hand, often do not - parents place their energy in strictly their own child, which is understandable. The key is to recognize your bias and remember that coaches and players are tasked with contributing to the team first, the individual second. Individual results will follow if a player employs a healthy, team-first process. 

4. The Endless Cycle of Energy

Your child is about to get exhausted. Practicing and playing games multiple times per week, external training and private lessons, school-work (hopefully), family time and fitting in activities that have nothing to do with hockey can take its toll on a minor hockey player. The great thing about hockey in Vancouver is the endless options for powerskating classes, offense-specific classes and dryland training. It’s up to you and your family to determine what is most important (asking a current or former coach you trust will help), but it’s crucial to remember the energy-in energy-out rule. 

5. Habits

At Home

Start the season off with good habits: sleep routines, homework schedules, training schedules and nutrition. Your child needs to be fuelled like an athlete, being a kid doesn’t let them off the hook. 

Make sure you check back next week for the start of an epic 10-article guide to minor hockey nutrition!

At the Rink

Other coaches' mileage may vary, but here are the habits that are important to me at the rink, whether I’m coaching atom, peewee or major midget:

  • punctuality (it’s ok to be early)
  • proper gear (jerseys, socks, everything else)
  • happy face (no grumps, that’s not fun)
  • work ethic (trying to be better than yesterday)
  • focus (listening to details)
  • open mind (understanding new skills, techniques and systems)
  • dedication to the team (a hockey player is only as good as his teammates)

It’s time to start another hockey season. Players are hungry to start playing meaningful games, so let’s make sure we kick things off with a bang.

How many of these habits does your child already use? Which ones could use some work?

photo credit: 泰德 via photopin cc

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