This blog entry is about the role of a parent in a player’s hockey career. I am a big believer that a child will excel in hockey if he or she has the passion for it. My father likes to repeat the words of the great Martina Navratilova. An interviewer asked, “For those young tennis players watching, how often should they practice?” Navratilova replied starkly, “If they have to ask then they will never be successful.” I do not believe one’s child should be pushed; the pushing must come from within.
Kids will gravitate to things they like. They should be given the freedom and encouragement to do so.
In my opinion, the only thing kids should be forced to apply themselves in is school. A side advantage of having a child who is enthusiastic about hockey, is it can be used to keep them accountable in school. I knew that if I acted up in school, hockey would be taken away. That said, the biggest reason I kept up my education, was the influence of my father and the example he provided me. The last thing I wanted to do was to disappoint him by being a dummy.
My dad played the perfect role in my hockey development: he drove me to hockey, paid for my equipment and training, and offered plenty of moral support. After games, if I wanted feedback he would indulge me, however, he never volunteered his opinion of my performance. I also appreciated that, while most other parents were yelling at their kids or the refs from the stands, he would quietly observe the game and cheer when our team scored.
Perhaps this piece should be titled “Thanks Dad!”