Hockey is an incredible sport that inspires a lot of passion in both its fans and players.
For young athletes, their love of the game is often inherited from their hockey-loving parents, inspiring them to have a deep love of the game from a very early age. As parents, we want our children to succeed and be the best that they can possibly be, but sometimes we lose sight of what is truly important and the hockey push can be too much for our kids.
The idea of your child joining the elite handful of hockey professionals to play in the NHL is something that most parents have considered and something that many parents are actively striving for on behalf of their children. But when is too much hockey simply too much?
First of all, hockey should be a fun experience for your child. While every young player has their share of ups and downs, conflicts with other children, and struggles with the game, they should also have significantly more positive experiences than negative ones. If your child is crying and becoming withdrawn, there’s a good chance that they simply aren’t enjoying the game anymore. This type of negative experience will not only affect their performance and love of the game, it may also impact their relationship with you in a damaging way.
Secondly, it is important to remember that the odds of your child making it to the NHL are very small. That isn’t to say that becoming an in-demand NHL player isn’t possible, but rather to say that children also need to have emphasis placed on their school work. Working as hard in school as on the ice is an important part of success. After all, intelligent players are in-demand players. If your young hockey player doesn’t make it to the NHL, they will have the grades necessary to go to college or university. They may even be able to use their hockey skills to earn a scholarship!
Lastly, do your best to leaving the coaching and criticism to the coaches. When your kid has a rough day at the rink, they need to have a safe place to go and know that they are loved no matter what. Admonishing them in the car on their way home is sending them the message that they have disappointed you, which can in turn lead to feelings of inadequacy. Cheer your kid on in the stands and at home and they will learn to love hockey almost as much as they love you.
At OHA, I had an opportunity to play with some of best players in the country and had coaches that pushed me to be my best, positioning me to play for the Penticton Vees and now the University of Denver.