Hockey Parents

It’s almost here, the new hockey season, everyone is pumped ready to go! right? Well almost everyone.

The team is picked  or your down to the final cut and the big decision has to be made? All you coaches have come across this at sometime through your minor hockey career, admit it you have. Do we pick little Johnny or Mikey, they are both pretty evenly matched in skill and they both try their hardest but which one? Well lets look at this at a different angle, what baggage comes with these kids? Your assistant who is new to the coaching ranks looks up and says, ‘What baggage? their only 12 years old.’ ‘What possibly could they have that would make us decide on that?’ The other coaches look at each other and you say, it’s their parents, who will give us the least grief over the season. Unfortunally folks, this is how some late picks are made- believe it or not, it’s true.

I came across a great little article the other day on this matter called, 3 Ways To Handle Sports Parents That Get Too Involved. It spoke about how parents make up about one third of the youth sports support system. They are the ones who drive the kids to practices and games, providing nutritous half time snacks or organizing teams parties and most importantly filling the stands.

You see most parents are more then content in being the fan and giving the team support but there is always a parent or two who really wants to get more involved, so how does a coach handle a sports parent who feels they need to give a little more help then the others.

Well here is 3 ways to help the coach out and the rest of the team involved.

1. Establish Ground Rules.

Make it perfectly clear to all the parents that there is no one else allowed into the room unless they are a coach or a player. Explain to them all that you are trying to lessen any distractions that could come around and be a bother to the players. Having fans and others yelling at them through the game is a distraction enough.

2. Get Them Involved In A Small Way.

You know some parents just can’t help themselves, they must help out in some way or form. So what you may do is find something for this parent to help out that actually helps you out. Could be taking stats for the team or maybe helping out with some fund raiser or even better writing a article for the local paper every week about how great the team is doing.

3. Speak To The Parent Privately.

Well it will happen sooner then later and that is that the one parent  who really wants to help out but steps over the line on doing so. If this happens act quickly and with authority speak with the parent privately. Remind them of the first parents meeting where you had set the ground rules out for everyone, no acceptions. Let them know we are all here to have fun, to learn and to be a role model for all the kids. Explain this to them that we all have to be accountable and to be in control of our actions just like we ask our players to do on the ice. When you explain it this way to them they soon will see where you are coming from.

You will also come across the parents that are so helpful, all in the right way that you only wish that all parents could be like that. These are the ones that make the year fun and enjoyable for everyone.

By Warren Nye,
September 24th, 2011