Sunday Q&A #4
Q) My child has now made the decision after this season- which will be his jump to rep hockey, to pursue being a goalie, full time. We have little knowledge of the position but want to help him as best we can. He battles indecisiveness and has a tough time sticking with things, but he seems to be all in on this. What are some tips you can give us?
A) You’ve got a long road ahead! Only kidding. (Kind of)
First things first, be a supportive parent, above anything else! I cannot stress this enough.
Hockey comes long-behind being a supportive, responsible and caring parent. Put your child ahead of any hockey game and have their best interests in mind at all times.
There will be a ton of growing pains, and being a goaltender is probably the toughest position in all of sports. You are on an island, all alone with no one there to save you.
That being said, the life lessons and challenges that a young goalie will face and overcome to be successful will set the foundation for your young child to use for the rest of their life. Facing adversity in a hockey game is a parallel to that of life. How does your son or daughter react after giving up a bad goal? Do they blame their defense? How about when they have to sit 5-6 games in a row? Do they pout, and blame the coach? Or do they use it as fuel and work that much harder in practice, and away from the rink to make the most of the next chance they get in the net?
These are the lessons you must instill in your young athlete. They have made the decision to become a goaltender, and with that comes a lot of pressure and responsibility. It sounds harsh- but it’s the truth.
It’s your job as the parent to mold your son or daughter at a young age into a strong-willed athlete, that embraces challenge, rather than running away from it. It is so important early on to help the mind-set, and to keep things positive and in perspective from you, the parent. As they grow up, and move on to higher levels, they will take these skills learned early on and add their own spin on what will help them thru pressure situations.
As far as the technical aspect of the position, trust your coaches. If you don’t have a ton of knowledge regarding goaltending- let people that do handle it. That being said, if you feel your child is being neglected as a goalie, as we often do- ask for help. Reach out to those around you and find someone willing to lend a hand. My contact information is everywhere, and I would gladly get you in touch with help in almost any area geographically.
This is an age where the fundamentals of the position need to be nurtured and will set the ground work for excelling at the position as they get older and move on up. Don’t get caught up on what others are doing. Take your time to learn the basics. Don’t be so focused on trying out for teams or looking at where their peers are at. Everyone develops at different ages.
The last thing I will touch on is this. Don’t get sucked into or feed into being ‘that’ parent. I do this for a living. Believe me when I say- when we scout kids, at the junior or college level, being a high maintenance parent will severely hurt the chances your son or daughter have at getting a serious look. That reputation will follow you no matter where you go. Trust that your coaches have the best of intentions. Make sure you are supportive of your child. Keep things fun. Be open and honest with them. If you know they can work harder- push them to give it their all. It is after all, a lot of time and money going into this. That being said, they have to enjoy coming to the rink every day. You cannot will your child into becoming a world class athlete.
Don’t ever forget that hockey is merely a vehicle to drive your son or daughter to become a better person. If you set out with aspirations for your 8 year old to play in the NHL, you are sadly mistaken. Learning and developing qualities such as leadership, team work, sportsmanship and work ethic are what is most important. Wins, trophies, banners and championships are merely a by-product of hard work and the sacrifice that you as parents, and the kids themselves make to become the best they can be.