West Hill Golden Hawks
Scarborough's oldest and longest running House League and Competitive Hockey Program ... Since 1954
A Coaches Letter to Parents
A Coachís Letter to Parents
By Darrell J. Burnett, Ph.D.

Dear Parents,

Here are some hints on how to make this a fun season, with lots of positive memories for your kids and your family.

1. Make sure your kids know that, win or lose, you love them. Be the person in their life they can always look to for support.

2. Try to be completely honest with yourself about your kidsí athletic capability, their competitive attitude, their sportsmanship, and their level of skills.

3. Be helpful, but donít coach your kids on the way to the game or at the breakfast table. Think how tough it must be on them to be continually inundated with advice, pep talks, and criticism.

4. Teach your kids to enjoy the thrill of competition, to be out there trying, to be constantly working to improve their skills, to take physical bumps and come back for more. Donít tell them that winning doesnít count because it does, and they know it. Instead, help them develop a healthy competitive attitude, a ďfeelĒ for competing, for trying hard, for having a good time.

5. Try not to live your life through your kids. Youíve lost as well as won, youíve been frightened, and youíve backed off at times. Sure theyíre an extension of you, but donít assume they feel the same way you did, want the same things, or have the same attitude.

6. Donít push them in the direction that gives you the most satisfaction. Donít compete with your kidsí coaches. A coach may become a hero to your kids for a while, someone who can do no wrong, and you may find that hard to take. Conversely, donít automatically side with your kids against their coaches. Try to help them understand the necessity for discipline, rules, and regulations.

7. Donít compare your kids with other players on their team Ė at least not within their hearing Ė donít lie to them about their capabilities as a player. If you are overly protective, you will perpetuate the problem.

8. Get to know your kidsí coaches. Make sure you approve of each coachís attitude and ethics. Coaches can be influential, and you should know the values of each coach so that you can decide whether or not you want them passed on to your kids.

9. Remember that children tend to exaggerate. Temper your reactions to stories they bring home from practice or the game about how they were praised or criticized. Donít criticize them for exaggerating, but donít overreact to the stories they tell you.

10. Teach your kids the meaning of courage. Some of us can climb mountains, but are frightened about getting into a fight. Some of us can fight without fear, but turn to jelly at the sight of a bee. Everyone is frightened about something. Courage isnít the absence of fear. Courage is learning to perform in spite of fear. Courage isnít getting rid of fear. Itís overcoming it.

11. Winning is an important goal. Winning at all costs is stupidity.

12. Remember that officials are necessary. Donít overreact to their calls. They have rules and guidelines to follow representing authority on the field. Teach your kids to respect authority and to play by the rules.

13. Finally, remember, if the kids arenít having fun, weíre missing the whole point of youth sports.

(From Youth Sport Coach, newsletter of National Youth Sports Coaches Association.)

Dr. Burnett is a clinical psychologist and certified sports psychologist specializing in youth sports. He has been in private practice in southern California for 20+ years. Dr. Burnett is active on the lecture circuit. His publications on youth sports, including Itís Just A Game! (Youth, Sports, & Self Esteem: A Guide for Parents), are described at his website, www.djburnett.com He can be reached at his office: 30101 Town Center Drive
Suite 202 D
Laguna Niguel, CA

Phone: (949)-249-2882
Email: djburnet @ pacbell.net