Follow these 18 keys to your child’s hockey success to ensure they have a positive experience
As a parent of a young hockey player, you face a multitude of stress factors. It seems like you’re balancing everything at once—the practices, early-morning games, frigid ice rinks, the meals after practice and before games, the travel—and oh yes, the cost.
Given everything you have to deal with as hockey parents, it’s only natural for you to be on edge every now and then. Any perceived slight, no matter how big or small, can set you off. But did you know that your actions can have a direct impact on your child’s hockey career?
We’ve compiled a list of 18 keys to your child’s hockey success that every hockey parent needs to know to ensure their child has the best possible hockey experience they deserve.
1. Proper Nutrition Hockey is a grueling, demanding sport. Are you ensuring your child gets the proper nutrition they need to perform at their best?
2. Time to Digest A big meal can adversely affect your child’s performance. Eating too close to game or practice time is never good (we’re not exactly sure how Stanley Cup-winner Alexander Ovechkin can eat what he does before a game and still manage to be the NHL’s leading scorer.)
3. Hydration Young bodies need plenty of water to replenish lost fluids, especially during and after a strenuous activity like hockey. Muscles rely on it for lubrication. Make sure they have enough for games or practices.
4. Rest Up! Peak performance from your young hockey player requires that he or she gets enough rest.
5. On-Time Performance Be sure to arrive on time (or better yet, early) to games and practices.
6. Positive Reinforcement Your child looks to you for support during trying times, like after a hard practice or a tough loss. Always be there for them and never, ever criticize them. And don’t dwell on their poor performances.
7. Spectator Sport Never shout negative comments from the stands. Your child is sensitive to how you behave, especially in a public setting.
8. Fellow Parents Be sure to conduct yourself properly with parents of your child’s teammates (and that goes for the parents of the opposing team as well). Keep it to yourself; never criticize your child’s teammates or opponents.
9. That Smell Hockey bags can produce some very pungent odors. Always remove your child’s equipment and air it out. And wash those jerseys and socks while you’re at it!
10. Check the Bag Before heading to the rink, make sure every piece of equipment, jerseys, socks, mouthguard, etc., is packed in the hockey bag. It’s a real heartbreaker to arrive at the rink for a game or practice and discover a vital piece of equipment was left at home!
11. Homework Education is Job 1 for parents. In fact, if your child is a varsity hockey player, good grades are compulsory if they want to keep playing on the team!
12. Know the Rules of the Game Make it a point to learn the rules of hockey. It’s good to know things like icing, offside, and especially the power play and penalty kill. Depending on your child’s role on the team, those last two will help you understand why your child might (or might not) be told to sit one out.
13. Respect the Coaching Staff Providing a safe and positive experience for your child means their coach must use his or her best judgment and make snap decisions at crucial times. No matter how hard it may be, do not approach the coach during a game. If you feel you need to address the coach on a particular matter, it’s always best to use the “24-Hour Rule”: Wait a day to cool down.
14. Assess the Situation If it appears your child is not putting in the effort, ask them if hockey is really what they want to be. Also, ask this of yourself: Is that what what your child wants, or what you want for them?
15. Keep Calm and Play Hockey Criticism of your child by others can be hurtful and is never called for. If you happen to overhear something negative, don’t fall into that trap and lose your cool.
16. Drink Responsibly Alcohol is often the source of many a conflict in life. If you must have a drink at the bar, don’t embarrass your child by consuming too much.
17. Name of the Game Finally, keep in mind that the whole idea of getting your child involved in hockey—or any sport for that matter—is for them to have fun and for the valuable experience of participating in a team sport.
18. Life Lessons Believe it or not, the game of hockey teaches your child some valuable lessons that will benefit them throughout their life. Do your part by making the experience a positive one.