Before having children my wife and I both loved the game of hockey. She loves it for speed, intensity, and passion of the players. I love it for everything it taught me in life and how it made me who I am today (I spent lots of time on the ice and in hockey rinks!), I also love to watch hockey for the skill, speed, and intensity of the players and situations. We knew when it was time for our oldest to start activities and sports that hockey would be on the top of our list.
When you chose to become a hockey parent there is very little room for the inbetween, most hockey parents are either all in or on the outside looking in. Hockey is very rarely the “second” sport with children and slowly starts to take over. In all honesty, I don’t know how or why this happens. We had no intent on becoming hockey crazed parents, but we are, most of my friends are hockey parents, when I talk to people in social situations at work or in the neighborhood hockey always seems to pop-up, yes it has taken over our lives and we are happy about it!
We very quickly realized after my oldest daughter’s first year of hockey that we needed to do more than just take her to practice and games, we needed to do more than enroll her in summer hockey development programs, we needed to do more than get her in a spring and summer 3 on 3 league (all things we have done!). All the other parents do this and in our town you need to take these steps to keep your child’s development at pace with that of the players in their age group/ grade.
So what did we do? We established some deliberate strategies that enable personal development goals we created for our hockey player. Our goals are simple:
- Enable our daughters to develop into confident and independent people
- Build a strong work ethic and understanding that you need to work for what you are given
- Establish a personal identify they are proud of and reflects who they are inside
- Progress in hockey skill development and team placement year to year
The strategies we utilize are pretty simple and were not immediately clear to us, they started to evolve organically but it eventually became clear to my wife and I that we were on to something! Here are our strategies:
- Build a Love of the Game of Hockey with a Strong Hockey Culture: Make our hockey players feel like hockey is just something we do around here, in our family we play hockey. There is no choice if we want to do it or not, we just know it is something we love to do.
- Create Well Rounded Athletes: Find complimentary sports that enable hockey and reinforce critical skills and mindsets needed to be successful. Participate in sports/ activities that build skills that hockey does not directly enable.
- Nail The Basics Through Developing Strong Foundational Skills: Help our children develop strong foundational skills at a young age. We focus on Skating, Edge Work, Stick Handling, and Hockey IQ. This might sound basic but we are not worried about playing in tons of games or winning trophies.
- Position Our Players in the Right “Pipeline:” Hockey is political, there is no doubt about that. From a young age position our players in the right association, teams, or programs that will give them an opportunity to highlight their skills and abilities in top programs as they get older.
Remember my players are young and these may change or evolve over the years based on their development and hockey careers. In my next few blogs I will take you through each strategy and discuss why we feel it is important and how we are bringing it to life.
-North Star Hockey Dad