In This Post…
- Part I – Mutual Respect Series – Hockey Parents |
Beginning today we start our 3-part series on mutual respect within women’s hockey. We’ll take a look at three key participant groups – Youth hockey Parents, Players, and Club / High School coaches. We’ll identify some situations that commonly occur and ways in which we can show a bit more mutual respect to those we deal with throughout the hockey season. Enjoy!
Youth Hockey Parents
- Let the coaches, coach… It’s hard. You see something that makes you go cross-eyed and scratch your head. “What in the world are my daughter’s coaches doing,” you think to yourself. Before you get too frustrated and wind up telling your own daughter how YOU think she should be playing – try asking the coach first what her/his thoughts are. Sometimes parents can wind up undermining the coaches efforts and possibly confuse their own daughter without knowing it. Best to get all the facts first. Your daughter may not know who to listen to if she has 2 sets of people telling her what to do. So before coaching your daughter, ask to talk with the coach. You can frame your question as, “Hey I noticed you did x, y, or z in the game the other day. I wanted to ask you first so I don’t mix messages with my daughter. Can you help me understand what you want from her?” Any coach would not only welcome the conversation but respect you for understanding her/his position. By doing this, you are clearly respecting the boundaries between coach, player and parent.
- Use your words to be supportive, acknowledge great effort, and encourage… Hockey is an exciting game that elicits instant knee-jerk emotional reactions. Sometimes it’s hard not to voice that excitement out loud. So when the occasion presents itself and something exciting happens – be that positive voice in the crowd! Let it be known, appropriately of course, that someone other than your daughter just made a great play. Her parents will appreciate you for it! As fast as hockey is, mistakes happen. You don’t want to be that parent who lets everyone in the building know who just made a mistake, believe me, they saw it too. And especially if it’s not your own daughter! Probably best to watch your comments about the officials as well. They have a tough job as it is. If you don’t have something positive to say, best not to say it. The more you praise, the better everyone will feel around you, and the more respect you’ll earn as someone other parents will enjoy being around.
- Be a positive organizer… Pizza parties at the team hotel, pool parties at someone’s house in the summer, if it’s positive and for the good of the team – go for it! If you are getting people together – make sure it’s for a positive purpose and for everyone to enjoy. As they say, misery loves company too, and the disgruntled hockey parent is one person you don’t want to commiserate with. You know this person… the one who always complains about the coaches decisions or lack of ice time their daughter gets. Some of the stuff that goes on from parents these days is down-right diabolical. Respect your daughter, her experience, and her teammates enough to stay away from the negativity. There is no need to corral a group of parents to plan and take down your daughter’s youth coach because she or he is not working on the PP breakout enough. You have an out, it’s called the end of the season when you have a choice to return to the club or not. Be the type of parents who bring people together, not pull teams apart!
Until Next Time…
Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org and beginning his 3rd season as an Assistant Coach with the Yale University women’s hockey program. Grant has developed an experienced perspective in the world of women’s ice hockey, having coached and recruited players from across the globe during his 25+ year amatuer and NCAA coaching career. He has coached at 6 NCAA DIII and DI programs in the NCHA (D3), the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, ECAC, and the Ivy League (DI). Beyond coaching, Grant served as a site representative for the 2019 NCAA quarterfinal of the D-I NCAA Tournament. He also currently serves as an Officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association as Vice President of Membership and sits on the AHCA’s Women’s Hockey Executive Committee.