This scene is played out again and again at any local hockey arena.
You know the one?
It's a close game with under ten (10) minutes to go in the 3rd period of a crucial hockey game. Your child's team is vying to move onto the next round of a tournament or playoffs. You and the other hockey parents are caught up in the action of the game. The cheering gets so loud at every shot or passes made you can't hear yourself think!! You can cut the intensity with a butter knife as it winds right up as the seconds count down on the scoreboard.
Then it happens!!...For one brief second, you look over at the bench as a new set of fresh legs come onto the ice, and you notice your child is not one of them. Several minutes have now gone by and your child still hasn't been back on the ice to play instead they're at standing/sitting watching the game.
It takes a couple of seconds to collect your thoughts. Now you have shifted focus from enjoying the game, to diligently watching the bench in great agony to see if your child will ever come out for another next shift before the game ends. During this whole time Seconds seem to feel like minutes, minutes seem to feel like hours, the end of the game could not come quick enough.
Then it hits you like a tonne of bricks!! The coach has benched your kid.
All the while inside your head you're saying to yourself. Have you got to be kidding me? What are they thinking? Meaning while this little voice in the back of your brain is saying, "So much for the "fair play" rule." So, unless your child is the next big "thing" then it's going to happen and how you react to it or handle it will have a positive or negative effect going forward.
What Not To Do
Do Not Lose Your Cool
The most natural thing is to get angry, and all worked up about what happened. Some people react differently to different situations. Don't lose your temper in front of the kids, in front of the adults or the coaching staff. It's not about YOU and your EGO!!. If there is no better time to keep it in check, then this would be the time. If you lose your cool, then you run the risk of being kicked out of the rink or worse being barred from the arena to watch your kid play. Either way, It won't turn out well for you or your child.
Do Not Vent On Social Media
Nowadays people voice their displeasure thru social media streams. Whether its Facebook or Twitter it's easy to be anonymous bashing the coach about benching your child. What does it serve? All it does us further avoid solving the problem.
Bad Mouthing Coaching Staff Away From The Rink
Venting your frustrations and bad mouthing the coach and the staff in front of your child and his teammates is a recipe for disaster. If the kids pick up on that, it will surface in the dressing room amongst the kids.
Some Simple Advice...
Self Imposed "48 Hour Rule"
Most hockey association have a mandated 24hr rule before you can speak with the coaching staff but we prefer the 48hr rule. It will take 24hrs for your emotions to return to normal and the extra 24hrs will allow you time to reflect on what happened. It will let you analyze with a more precise mind. You will be able to see things much more apparent.
If your team was eliminated and your child was benched then wait a week or two and then follow up with the coaching staff.
What Does My Child Have To Work On?
Coaches do what they think is right and they're not out to intentionally hurt or deflate your child's self esteem. One way of going about having the coach gain trust is to have an open dialogue and discussion about your child's benching.
Follow up with the coach and have an adult conversation about what your child has to work on for the next time the situation arises he has the confidence in picking your child to put out on the ice in critical situations. What you as parent's see in your child's abilities. Your child's coach may see something entirely different. The coach has picked your child for a reason; they are good enough to be on the team.
Turn Negative Situation Into A Positive Situation
It's not easy seeing your child get benched. It's not easy seeing your spouse with tears rolling down after what just occurred. Like we said before, every child will get benched or miss a shift if they're playing competitive sports. It's not house league where the emphasis is on having fun with jo pressure of being expected to win. Everyone knows the drill when they signed up.
Best to turn the benching into a positive situation. It's straightforward as parents to sit and sulk and be upset and not do anything to address the situation.
Stop and think before you lose your control by chewing out the coaching staff. It takes many years to build up a good reputation as a hockey parent but just moments to destroy it.
In the meantime if you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss.
Until next time!