October 12, 2015

How to Instantly be a Hit Hockey Parent

If you’re a new hockey parent, let me just tell you, there’s a pattern you want to avoid. You know that feeling of seeing an email from someone, and you know it’s just gonna be bad news? Well, for a coach, we get a lot of parents who are just like that email. Like, I’m a pretty fast runner, so I’ve toyed with the idea of just sprinting the other way…or hiding behind a post when I see certain parents, but I’m too suave (and modest) to do that.
Now there are other parents who are simply a joy to see and be around. I’ve refrained from fist bumping them, but I certainly wanted to (read: suave)!
We’re at a point with our training company where we are selective about who we have as clients. So our client list is about 99.9% awesome parents. And I’d like to share what we look for when we consider which parents are awesome, and which are like a bad email.
Does being a hit parent, like our clients matter? I’d love to say it doesn’t, but as a coach, there is a definitive positive bias towards players and parents who treat us well and make us feel good. In turn, I often notice myself taking a little bit of extra time with that player, or being a bit more concerned about their development. This isn’t on purpose, but it just happens when I have a good relationship with the player and their parents.
So given the amount of power your coach has over your kid and their career, I highly suggest checking out some “hockey parent hygiene” tips I have to be an awesome hockey parent.
1. Awesome parents are respectful of the coaches time
In Yogic tradition, there was a guru, and a student. It was 1on1 training all the time. Nowadays, for whatever societal reason we tend to value the contribution of the coach or guru less…we want to go to Yoga classes that are 40 large so that we only have to pay the drop in fee of $20, rather than dedicating time, effort and energy to an integrative and holistic practice. But I digress, the coach nowadays has to address the needs and concerns of up to 20 players at a time. They also have lives. By talking their ear off about your kid, you’re likely boring them, even if they’re smiling, and they probably have other things to do. They do not have time for a 20 minute conversation with each parent. They might really like to do it, but it’s simply a math equation: 1 coach, multiple kids.
Of course, if you have an issue that needs to be addressed, some feedback for the coach, or some positive comments, go and talk to the coach. But know beforehand what you want to say to the coach, say it, and then give them an out to end the conversation. If they want to and can continue the conversation, they will. I know this sounds like simple social skills, and it is…but sometimes hockey parents forget when it comes to hockey topics.
2. Awesome parents don’t seek reassurance
Awesome parents don’t go looking for the coach to confirm or reassure what you think of your kid. You’re setting the coach to either lie to you or piss you off. Just ask for feedback, accept it and move on.
Your kid won’t get any better by you reassuring your idea of their playing abilities. Live in a world of “what is” and look for honest feedback rather than living in a world of “what should be”.
3. Awesome parents are informed
Some parents think they should not ask questions to the coach. No, you should still ask questions if you are unclear on anything. But you should do your research first and come prepared to ask good questions. Check your email, ask your kids, ask other parents if you’re chatting with them anyway. Come with good questions, and don’t waste the coaches time. They will appreciate it.
4. Awesome parents are involved
Be involved. Awesome parents ask good questions, ask for feedback, offer to help, and send thank yous. They do all this while being respectful of the coaches time. Parents who do this are not transactional, doing a favour and expecting something in return. Instead, they seem to do these things because they want to be helpful, friendly, or just good people.
Involved parents also screen coaches and opportunities. They value quality and actively seek out the best developmental opportunities.
Do your kid the favour of being an awesome parent with coaches. You’ll notice that coaches will be more at ease with you and may start to warm up to your kid. This can go a long way to helping their hockey career if they get a little bit of extra attention here and there. And if it appears like your “awesome hockey parent” tactics are not working right away, don’t hit the panic button and go bezerk! Give it time. Be patient. You might have to let your newfound reputation of being an awesome hockey parent slowly permeate the hockey zeitgeist.

P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.

1 Comment
  • Nate, October 16, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jason, great insight as always. I think the post will strike a chord one way or the other with all readers. There are some tough truths you've shared that many coaches think but can't say. Being on the lucky side of developing athletes you have the opportunity here to attract like minded clients, and you'll succeed in matching your passion for training with your opportunity to work with great people! Keep up the honest work! Nate

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