Keep in mind that, above all, the motivating factor for most children who enter an organized youth sports programme is their desire to have fun.

With a supportive attitude and a fundamental understanding of the “basics” of “Hockey on skates”, everyone will come away from their youth sports experience with a positive feeling.

Parents should enjoy the game and applaud good plays. The stands are not a place from which parents should try to personally coach their kids. Kids often mirror the actions of their parents; if they see mum or dad losing their cool in the stands, they may do the same on the ice.

Parents should try to keep things in perspective. There is more to life than Hockey, and the car and Home are not places to coach. Parents are responsible for supporting and respecting the coaches decisions and abilities. It is unfair to put children in a position of having to decide who to listen to — their parents or the coach.

Parents should remember that if a player wants to improve, they have to practice — not just play. Even if a players not the “star” player for a team, practice stresses the importance of teamwork, establishing goals, discipline and learning to control your emotions, all of which are important lessons players can use both in and away from sports.

Hockey parents can help create a fun and supportive environment by making certain the children are wearing properly fitted equipment. Parents also need to support the coaching staff to ensure all young players are kept safe and injury free. We work very hard to make sure that the child’s first experience within our Club is positive, safe and enjoyable, to the extent that they will want to come back. Parents and coaches alike should refrain from placing unreasonable expectations on the young players. There are many benefits that can be derived from playing youth Inline Hockey. Boys and girls learn good sportsmanship and self-discipline as well as learning how to work together as part of a team. In these and many other areas, they also gain life skills.

Parents serve as role models for their children, who often look at older adults for advice, direction, and approval. Never lose sight of the fact that you are a role model and strive to be positive. As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is to ensure good sportsmanship at all times to coaches, referees, opponents, and team-mates.

Remember that your children are Playing Hockey. It is important to allow them to establish their own goals and play the game for themselves. Be careful not to impose your own standards upon them.

Avoid placing an exaggerated emphasis on winning. The most important part of your child’s Hockey experience is for them to have fun while developing physical and emotional skills that will serve them well later in life. A healthy, risk-free environment that emphasizes the importance of fair play, sportsmanship, teamwork and importantly, fun, will be invaluable for your child as they continue to develop a positive self-image.

The best way to help children achieve goals and reduce their natural fear of failure is through positive reinforcement. After all nobody feels good about making mistakes.

If your child does make a mistake — and they will (remember they are just kids) — keep in mind that mistakes are an important part of the whole learning process. Strive to be supportive and to point out the things they do well. Make sure your child feels that, regardless of the outcome of the game, they had fun.

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