Goalie Parenting In Perspective
I ended my last article "Athleticism And Development" (click here for link), with the statement, "Getting parents to heed this advice; well, that's another article." Well this is the article.
Too many parents assume the role of agent and coach by maneuvering for playing time and lecturing their child on how to play the game.
A player should be left to secure his or her own playing time. In the end, protecting one's child backfires because no one can be ultimately protected from competition. Parental support should be limited to paying for fees, training and equipment, emphasizing the importance of fair play and attitude, driving to and from the arena and giving moral encouragement.
There are two parts to developing a player: teaching and coaching. Teaching is imparting knowledge - knowledge that an expert gains from countless hours and years of experience. One of the most dangerous things is to take action based on "partial" information. Yet that is what a lot of parents do; they give playing advice to their child.
Coaching is motivating. A coach, if he is to help push a player beyond what the player thinks possible, must at times resort to exposing the athlete to painful truths and stresses beyond what one thinks he can handle. A parent's instincts can run counter to those of a coach. Often, parents will try to protect their child from hurt by deflecting criticism or making excuses. As long as a coach is not being abusive, he should be allowed to do his job without contradiction.
Parents often feel that the more their kid plays, the better he will be. As my previous article explains, this is true up until it has the adverse effect by inhibiting athleticism, promoting injuries and creating stagnation. Worried about their child falling behind or perhaps because they do not want to anger a coach, many parents enroll their kids in senseless summer hockey. Anyone who tells you that you need to play summer hockey is wrong. What is needed is two to four weeks (the amount depends on the player and his specific needs) of dedicated goalie training.
The gist of my angst is that parents worry; worry about every shot; live and die with every save; worry about what others think; compare; fall prey to rumours; and generally let emotion rather than facts influence their judgment. Find a competent goalie coach and let him do the work he is paid to do without sabotaging him. Let go, trust and remember it's not academics; it's just a game.