There are many benefits that are derived from playing youth hockey. Boys learn good sportsmanship and self-discipline. They learn to work together, how to sacrifice for the team, how to enjoy winning and how to handle defeat. In the process, they also learn important lessons about physical fitness as personal health.
The degree to which your child benefits from his youth hockey experience is as much your responsibility as it is theirs. I order for your child to get the most out of a youth hockey program, it is important to show support and offer encouragement while maintaining a genuine interest in the team.
Parents serve as role models to their children, who often look to adults for advice, direction and approval. Never lose sight of the fact that you are a role model, and strive to be a positive role model. As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is show good sportsmanship at all times to coaches, referees, opponents and teammates.
Remember that your children are PLAYING hockey. It is important to allow them to establish their own goals and play the game for themselves. Be careful not to impose your own standard or objectives.
The most important aspect of your child's youth hockey experience is for them to have fun while developing physical and emotional skills that will serve them in life. A healthy, risk-free environment that emphasizes the importance of fair play, sportsmanship, discipline and, most importantly, fun will be invaluable for your child as he continues to develop a positive self image.
The best way to help children achieve goals and reduce their natural fear of failure is through positive reinforcement. After all, no one likes to make mistakes. If your child does make a mistake - and they will (remember, they're just kids) - keep in mind that mistakes a an important part of the overall learning process. Strive to be supportive and point out the things they do well. Make your child feel like a winner.
(reprinted from Parents Code Of Conduct -USA Hockey )