Avoid the trap of overestimating your child’s abilities
By Warren Tabachnick
Like most parents (especially of the hockey variety), you probably think your child is the best. You wonder why they are not on the first line or given more ice time… or why they’re not the starting goaltender. As a parent, it’s only natural for you to feel this way.
But let’s face it, there comes a time when every parent needs to step back and look reality square in the face. Unless you’ve actually suited up and taken to the ice or stood behind your players on the bench, it’s almost impossible to be objective in evaluating your child’s skills and talent to play the game. This is how you can fall into the trap of overestimating your child’s abilities.
Like it or not, our emotional attachment to our offspring impedes our ability to fairly assess their performance especially when stacked up against their teammates, of whom we can be much more critical.
The fact is your child’s current relative skill level may not hold up as they move on in their playing career. As they get older and move into higher levels, players just keep getting bigger. Also—heaven forbid—injuries can totally derail the trajectory of a youth hockey career, as can a simple change in your kid’s focus. Maybe they’ll find themselves getting involved with another sport or hobby, or with a love interest who takes up much of their time (they are getting older, aren’t they?). You get the picture.
If you see that your child is working hard and doing everything they can to improve but it’s just not happening, it’s a good indication that you are overestimating your child’s abilities and they’re not as good as you think they are. Your child’s coach might let you know that he or she lacks the ability to play a specific position (or even make the team). That doesn’t mean they should quit playing; it just gives you some better perspective.
In fact, if your child does possess noteworthy athletic ability, you can be sure those around you will let you know. Perhaps the best indication that your child has got skill is the reactions from his/her teammates.
It’s not so bad to be overestimating your child’s abilities sometimes. But if it causes you to react in a manner that creates friction with the coach or the other parents—not to mention your child—it’s time to look yourself in the mirror.
If on the other hand you truly believe your child is the next Sidney Crosby, get a second opinion from a qualified coach or someone who has played at a high level. They will know best if your kid has what it takes to move on.
Warren Tabachnick is the editor & publisher of CrossIceHockey.com. You’ll find him on the ice, weakly.