Deep breathes….. I am not saying I am giving coaches a pass for their lack of compassion or the fact that we pay them and they work for us. Our players deserve the same respect and treatment as the coaches first line players. We all know they get favored and we also know they help win games. However, sometimes we need to look at our players not from the “mom” perspective but from the athlete perspective. Our emotions for our kid can cloud our response to some things happening on the ice.
Not all players develop at the same pace and not all players are superstars, even though we would like to think ours are both. Now is my kid a first line player, maybe, but he is not today. Our player was badly injured and was out for the first 3 months of hockey. But he is back now and fighting his way back into the line-up. Even though he was injured at the beginning of hockey season he still reported to the team on time. He did not want to miss the bonding of the team which happens in the beginning of the season. He did not want to be the guy who just showed up three months into the season expecting to be rostered.
My husband and I are “normally” are not the parents who call the coach to complain or bitch during the season, especially not during a game weekend, but we are guilty of that this week. We always felt that if you called a coach then you would have to be able to step into the coaches’ position and do his job and for that we are not qualified for. However, I am qualified to know when my player is checking out and it is our job to figure out why! Hence, the phone call to coach. Keep in mind, we personally like this team and the coach, they are professional and follow through on procedures a solid organization for sure. We would go back next season.
The call actually went better than I thought. This coach is known to be feared by his players. They are afraid to approach him and talk with him, I do not like this tactic. However, he is always extremely professional with us as parents. When I called he actually said, “I knew this call was coming, I was expecting it,” hmmm, I must have a reputation, no idea why, OK, I do know why. Coach and I had a good call. I told him my concerns and that we were not getting what we expected and we were not happy, we agreed on some things and debated on other issues. We talked about the injury and the setback for our player, but that he is back at 100%. We discussed our player’s hockey ability, his quickness and all of his hockey skills and that they are back in place. Well, yeah, hello, that is why I am calling, because why are you still not playing him.
Here is where we agreed. My player, who is emotional and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is trying too hard and trying to move his game to fast. He has been out for so long that he is pumped to get back in the game. But he is thrown off his mental game by overthinking. I told coach that I agreed. We do know our son and coach was spot on.
During our conversation I told coach, don’t you get it, he is playing to get your attention, instead of playing the game and he is messing up. He is trying to get you to give him positive feedback, Coach agreed. Then coach says, well my door is always open to my players and they can talk to me anytime. Yikes, OK here is where Hockey Mom comes out…. I said “coach with all due respect, you are not approachable and half your guys are afraid to even walk past your office.” And with a little chuckle he says “yeah I guess I can be a bit intimidating”, I am like seriously,” a bit intimidating”, I said “how about a lot…..”
Following our conversation, Coach followed through, as promised, on some of the action items we talked about that he would do to help our player along and I am confident he will continue to follow through on the plan we discussed. Honestly, refreshing. Again we really like this organization and the call was to get the perspective of both sides of the circumstances. Because there are always two-sides and sometimes our kid’s version is skewed, yes, really it is. We all know it, we just do not like to say it out loud.
My husband and I agreed with the mental aspect of the problem here. Though I have other gripes, we have to agree on this one, because we know our son, sometimes he thinks too much. You want to scream at him…..STOP thinking, go play your game and go have FUN.
It seems so easy, but the players make it so hard on themselves with the mental conversations they have on the inside. They defeat themselves before they even hit the ice. It is frustrating, you can fix skating, fix stick handling, give them any lessons they need, but that internal mental conversation you cannot help, they have to figure it out on their own.
Quite frankly as a hockey mom who tries to fix everything, I cannot do this for him. Welcome to adulthood my player, it’s not all it is cracked up to be. You need to overcome and fight harder and harder every day to get to the top. If it were easy, everyone would be playing hockey at a higher level.