The elite players are getting ready to embark on another year of promise, travel and hopes of taking the next step and they have done all the right things. They have trained day in and day out, followed a nutritional diet plan to ensure increased muscle mass and explosiveness, they have sacrificed their whole summer to train and not just train but to push themselves to the limit to ensure the results have been worth it and that they will be rewarded with a great season and the chance of moving away to pursue their dreams in one of the many leagues all across this great country and continent. The tears that are shed at the airports as their parents drop them off to join their teams for this season are soon forgotten as they board the plane and step onto the ice in their new community for the winter. The season is about to begin and they are ready to take the world by storm.
If you as a parent or player have prepared for the up and coming season in this manner and have listened to all the experts then you must be feeling pretty confident that you have done everything you could in your power to ensure you or your child is as successful as possible this year. You have provided the necessary tools for him/her to be successful. You hear all year and from everyone in the rink that the key to success is hard work and dedication and that this hardwork and dedication comes from a work ethic like no one else, well I'm sorry to break the news to you all but this is NOT the way to help your child or yourself get to where you need to be to be successful this year..... The #1 thing every child needs to have to be successful and advance in not only his/her hockey career and realize their dreams and goals but to be successful in life does come from something you as a parent can provide but unfortunately it doesn't involve any amount of money being spent, any sacrifices being made or tears having to be shed as you bid farewell to your 13 yr old as he boards a plane to move to another city to chase his dreams.
There truly is a way to give them the best opportunity possible and that is to prepare them for LIFE, and I don't mean teaching them training techniques or installing into them how hard they have to train or how proud you are that they are moving away and what a great opportunity they have been given. If you truly want your loved ones to be successful at any age please provide them with one thing and that is.........SUPPORT. What do I mean by this? Teach them that they can reach out to you, teach them to learn to think on their own, prepare them for what is to come, be honest and put it all out there. It just isn't enough to say and believe that you have prepared your kids for anything they will face because I ca guarantee you right now that you haven't, and if you don't believe me, just ask any parent from this province or anywhere in Canada that has sacrificed everything and I mean everything for their child both financially and emotionally.
Behind every child that makes it to the NHL is a family of unconditional love, one that has made the sacrifices but havs not allowed family and personal values to be sacrificed because of that. DREAM & DREAM big!! This is a time of year where they need you more than anything, they are scared, nervous, timid and probably questioning every little thig and deficiency they have about themselves as this new season begins. Let them know that as long as they give their best then it's ok, let them know that there's nothing that they can't come to you and talk about, don't shelter them from all of life's evils and have them believe that they can do no wrong, take the pressure that they're feeling and throw it in a closet and lock it away forever, let them know it's ok to be scared and fail at times because it is these failures that will build them into the child that will make you proud for the rest of their lives.
This mentality or philosophy doesn't just apply to young hockey players chasing a dream, it applies to many many more and actually all of society in general. It applies to the young child going to school for the first time, going to your first dance class or getting the bus for the first time or going away to University...this is a time of new and exciting things and they will all be faced with all sorts of adversity in the coming weeks and through this all the one constant that can ensure success for each and everyone no matter what life MAP they are following is SUPPORT, with support and people believing in you and listening and being able to lean on you they can accomplish anything and everyone they want.
My son just had his first ever hockey practice this weekend and I was so excited and nervous to see how he was going to make out, well he made out unbelievable!! He only lasted on the ice for about 20 minutes, but that 20 minutes was enough to make me the proudest Dad their was in the rink that day. Some of the other kids were flying around the ice, doing crossovers & stops and starts. Teagan could hardly stand up and hold a stick at the same time, he got so upset and frustrated at times that it was comical, but such an amazing feeling. However, there were other parents there and some of them that I spoke to were actually disappointed that their child couldn't crossover, couldn't fall to his knees and get back up or that he wanted to leave the ice. The majority wanted to know where to get extra ice time, when there would be skating camps, Geezzzzzz I said, I couldn't even stop on both sides til I was about 22, lol.
Listen up everyone, this is an exciting time for all of these lil boys and girls not just YOU...don't rob them off that, let them have fun and when the fun stops if they don't wanna go back or stay out there then so be it, you have set the foundation for many great accomplishments to come in their lives. It was ironic as we talked about it later because we took my mom out to dinner afterwards and were talking about practice and his first time on the ice and she told me how my very first time I played I only stayed out for about 25 mins, cried my eyes out to get off the ice and never went back again that year...but I did go back the following year and fell in love with the game, they supported me no matter what and I truly believe that made a huge difference in me being able to play this game at such a high level for so long. It also provided me and reminded me that with support there is nothing I should be afraid of, nothing I shouldn't be able to overcome and if I do fall short and disappoint people then that's ok because at the end of the day I know that I still have them and that this is really all that matters!!! . I never truly realized how lucky I was until now that my children are becoming involved in sports and growing up but I have learned a lot from them and I intent on being the same wth my children!!
This is a magical time in many lives so just remember that and enjoy whatever journey you are about to embark on and that this is only one small step in reaching your goals...they may not ALL be realized this year but with the SUPPORT and LOVE and UNDERSTANDING their GOALS & DREAMS are already on their way to being realized!!
Good Luck & God Bless,