Pag­ing par­ents: let coaches do their jobs

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/ pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca.

To the Point

Tell me if you’ve heard this one be­fore.

Johnny is just start­ing out as a goal­tender in the atom di­vi­sion of mi­nor hockey some­where in the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia re­gion. He is learn­ing the ropes of the po­si­tion and loves the game.

Big John, as his fa­ther is called, loves watch­ing his son play the game he loves. So much so, he fol­lows Johnny around the rink. If his son is at the far end of the sta­dium, Big John is right there, shout­ing in­struc­tions and looks to be sup­port­ive of his son.

Watch­ing this play out, it seems harm­less enough but then a trou­bling trend starts to show it­self. Ev­ery time Johnny makes a save, he looks to the stands and dad gives him a thumbs up. The same thing hap­pens with ev­ery goal let in.

When Johnny moves to the other end, so does Big John. The whole sce­nario plays out ev­ery pe­riod. Save, ap­proval, save ap­proval, goal, dis­ap­proval.

It be­comes such a rou­tine, that Johnny barely pays at­ten­tion to his coaches on the bench who want him to try some­thing dif­fer­ent be­tween the pipes. In­stead, he only looks to the stands.

There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween sup­port­ing your child and try­ing to cir­cum­vent what their coaches are say­ing on the bench.

I’m just go­ing to put this out there. Fol­low­ing your kid around the rink is stupid. It does noth­ing to spark his de­vel­op­ment. You telling him to get rid of the puck im­me­di­ately does noth­ing for his game if his coaches are telling him to take his time and take a look.

Who do you think Johnny is go­ing to lis­ten to first?

It’ll be you and he’ll be worse for it. Pick a spot and stay there. Enjoy watch­ing your kid play the game they love.

While we’re on the sub­ject, there is a very slim chance that your kid is go­ing to the Show. What­ever you’re scream­ing at him from the stands isn’t go­ing to push him over the top. Nei­ther will offering cash re­wards for goals and as­sists.

Play­ers should be fo­cused on do­ing what they can to help the team, not to pad their stats or their piggy bank.

The only thing it teaches them is the art of be­ing self­ish and putting them­selves above the team. At the end of the day, whether your kid has one point or five, the only score that mat­ters is who won.

What do you think Pa­trick Kane cares about more, his point streak or win­ning hockey games?

I’ll give you a hint — he wants to win.

That’s not to say there won’t be play­ers who shine on the ice. Ev­ery team has them. Your kid may even be one of them.

And, if he’s that good the goals will come. You don’t need to dan­gle Loonies and Twoonies in front of his face like a car­rot on a stick to get him to score. It should be about him hav­ing fun and his team play­ing hard, not about what you can brag to your friends about.

He should be told that there are two sides to a hockey game, that his coaches’ ad­vice rules and that your team’s suc­cess is his suc­cess too.

“My lit­tle hockey star scored three times to­day and did what I told him to do. What did yours do?”

“Mine got back on de­fence, sup­ported his team­mates and lis­tened to his coaches.”

Rid­dle me this, which do you think is bet­ter?

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