Parents and guardians are the silent heroes of a player’s success. They are the ones ensuring a player get her proper nutrition, making sure they get enough sleep, are always making sure they make it to and from the rink and give the financial contribution that allows girls to play. Sometimes parents are undervalued at how much they actually contribute to a player’s success and development. However, parents and guardians must also realise that undisciplined conduct CAN and WILL affect a player on a team. We as coaches cannot express enough our gratitude for all you do, but please don’t become ‘‘that parent’’, meaning you are hovering the line between being supportive and being disruptive.
To put it more clearly, here are some discouraged behaviours:
The Chrono’s: Those who take out their timers to compare down to the second how much ice time their daughter has had compared to others. Please do not put yourself in this situation, we as coaches do our best to ensure we play all players as evenly as possible. It does happen that a specific player may not have as long a shift, or less ice time for multiple reasons: Player took a penalty, teammate took too long of a shift, puck was stuck in our zone, a powerplay or penalty kill … etc. All decisions are based in the heat of the moment and we try our best to make the proper decisions that is best for the team.
My daughter is the next Poulin: It’s very easy to look at a team and see only your player. It’s admirable how passionate you can become about their hockey career, and sometimes it is hard to stay objective. Think to yourself, you are not the only one who thinks your daughter is the best player on the ice. We see their talent and will use it; however coaches are very objective to whom we feel is the strongest player at the time. Sometimes it is in your players favor, sometimes not. It all depends on the situation of the game, for example we need an offensive player to score a goal or we need a defensive player to defend a lead. If they are not the ones we decide to put on the ice, it just means your player needs to work hard on that area of play and prove to us that SHE is the one who deserves that spot. We will recognise hard work and progress, and hard work pays off.
Coaching from the stands: It does not work. In fact, it mostly disrupts other parents and can affect the bench. A parent shouting out coaching commands to their player from the stands does not have the impact you think it does. We can relate that you are excited about the game and want to ensure the players success, but most times it just puts more pressure on the player and can actually have a negative impact on their game. If you have something you would like to say to your player, please wait till the drive home in the car where it may be said discreetly.
All in all, a team is not just the girls on the ice. It is also the coaching staff, mangers and parents. To have everyone on board and working together to value respect and hard work can actually change the entire dynamic of a team; and this in a positive way. By offering support and being objective, I am telling you that as a coach it will bring a more positive experience and development from everyone. There is a reason there is a parents code of conduct, and if it is followed it helps teach our players the values of discipline and earning your spot on a roster.
Yours in female hockey,