This story about the world of Canadian soccer offers many messages to hockey parents as well: The world of soccer is continuously changing; news now regularly breaks on Twitter, and rarely does a day pass where a link to an interesting article fails to land in your inbox. This easy access to information has been a good thing. It has brought clubs closer together, allowing them to reach out and connect with other clubs across the country, enabling them to benefit from sharing knowledge. It has also given people a forum in which to exchange ideas, discuss problems, and develop solutions to the myriad of issues that are holding back the game in our country.
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Possession, as they say, is nine-tenths of the law. In hockey, it may be worth even more. That’s what a comprehensive USA Hockey study suggests, adding statistical muscle to back the belief that puck skills are learned in practice, not games. From the smallest PeeWee to the most-talented Olympic player, the ability to effectively handle the puck is in short supply these days. Many coaches within USA Hockey attribute these diminished skills to a mindset that advocates more games and less practice.
Parents play a huge role in determining whether youth sports are a positive or negative experience for their kids. Although there is no set formula for success, there are some important guidelines for all parents to keep in mind.
The world of soccer is continuously changing; news now regularly breaks on Twitter, and rarely does a day pass where a link to an interesting article fails to land in your inbox. This easy access to information has been a good thing. It has brought clubs closer together, allowing them to reach out and connect with other clubs across the country, enabling them to benefit from sharing knowledge. It has also given people a forum in which to exchange ideas, discuss problems, and develop solutions to the myriad of issues that are holding back the game in our country.
Some parents unintentionally become a potent source of stress when they over-identify with their child’s sport performance. How might this happen? All parents identify with their children to some extent and want them to do well. Unfortunately, in some cases, the degree of identification becomes excessive, and the child becomes an extension of the parent’s ego. When this happens, parents begin to define their own self-worth in terms of their son or daughter’s successes or failures. The father who is a “frustrated jock” may seek to experience through his child the success he never knew as an athlete. The parent who was a star may be resentful and rejecting if the child does not attain a similar level of achievement. Some parents thus become “winners” or “losers” through their children, and the pressure placed on the children can be extreme. The child must succeed, or the parent’s self-image is threatened. When parental love and approval depend on how well the child performs, sports are bound to be stressful.
No matter what you think about teams running up the score against a significantly weaker opponent (and there’s plenty to read about that!), there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: Parents and players on the winning team need to act as if they’ve been there before.
With hockey being so fast and unpredictable, it’s only natural to endlessly evaluate your play. You kick yourself between shifts, your coach whispers/yells at you between periods, you lose sleep tossing and turning after the game and then the dreaded video session highlights your play in front of the whole team. In this day and age with parents, coaches, video, agents, scouts, etc., holding you accountable for your play, it’s hard not to work yourself up into a bite-sized mental breakdown after a game.
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Practicing your stickhandling is important if you want to become a better stickhandler. Hockey Shot has a number of hockey training aids that will help make your practice time a lot more fun, and a lot more effective. One product that makes stickhandling more ice-like is the Green Biscuit. Click here to see a video showing specific drills and methods for improving your stickhandling using the Green Biscuit.