In A Devilish Mood: It’s that time of year once again, so let the games begin
The start of the season is always very chaotic and exciting at the same time, with coaches trying to figure out their lineups and finally getting to see what their players can do in game situations, to parents getting their first looks at their child’s team and trying to figure out who the top competition will be this year, to hockey directors making sure all the “behind the scenes” activities (ice schedules, uniforms, team rosters, etc.) have all been set to ensure a smooth, successful season.
I happen to fit into all three of those categories. I am a coach, a father of three travel hockey players and the hockey director here at DYHA. I can tell you that these three hats pull me in several different directions, but whether you are a coach, parent or hockey director, our ultimate goals should all be the same.
That goal is to ensure that each child finishes this season achieving the following three things:
1. Have Fun! – Let’s face it, if our children are not having fun at what they are doing, they will not want to participate in that activity any more. Hockey is a great team sport made up of a bunch of individual athletes. It is also very much a mental game and if a child shuts down his/her mind because he/she is not enjoying what they are doing, then that child’s chances of success are severely diminished, which in turn, diminishes the team’s chances of success. There is nothing better in sports than watching a team, who on paper is inferior to another team, come together as one unit, play as a team, and defeat the supposedly superior team. We have all seen this happen and the one thing I can tell you about that team is that each kid on that team is having a blast! Let’s make sure our kids are having fun.
2. Develop Their Hockey Skills – While all players’ skill levels are different, each child has the same opportunity to develop as a hockey player. It is very easy to say that the players who score the most goals are the best players, especially at the younger levels. I think it is important to teach our kids that no player on the team is more important than any other player. A good hockey team is comprised of players who are strong in different areas of the game. While one player may be good at putting the puck in the net, another may be good at defensive skills and keeping the puck out of your own net. To me, both these skills are just as important to the team. A successful season is one in which each player on the team developed as a player and improved his/her skill set.
3. Learn Valuable Life Lessons – As I stated in a previous article, our goal as coaches, parents and hockey directors is to teach these children, through the sport of hockey, valuable lessons that they can take away that will help them succeed in whatever it is they decide to do as they enter adulthood. About 99.9 percent of these kids are NOT going to play in the NHL for a living. As they mature, our hopes are that they have developed a great work ethic, good communication skills and the ability to work well in a team environment. These three traits are essential to the success of any hockey player and they will also dramatically increase the chances for success in life.
Here’s to hoping we all have a great season, no matter what hat you are wearing.
Brad McCaughey is the director of hockey for the Desert Youth Hockey Association.
(Oct. 13, 2017)