6 Ways To Get Through a Youth Hockey Tryout
Heart is racing, adrenaline is pumping and you're worried, afraid and stressed all at the same time. No, you aren't running a marathon, you are at a youth hockey tryout.
Will they be able to keep up? Will they make the team? Will the other three goalies all come down with mono on the critical last day?
Kidding on that last one..I think.
Nothing will unravel the coolest hockey mom quicker than a hockey tryout. It's an all in, high stakes kind of deal. Your player has identified what team they want to play for, you've paid your tryout fees and marked those days with BIG, RED circles (maybe that is just me) and now it's go time.
I would guess that the moms and dads sitting on the bleachers, standing behind the glass or in the warm room feel way more anxiety than the most nervous of player.
And why wouldn't we? We want our player to be successful, to be happy, to beat out that really big goalie that came out of nowhere with a great glove...oops, sorry.
So, how do you get through the process without succumbing to the tension and nerves?
1) Don't watch your player too closely. There's nothing worse than having your nose pressed up on the glass, analyzing every move and seeing every "mistake" up close and personal. And yes, that goes for you too goalie parents!
2) Use the "hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil, see-no-evil" method of hockey parenting. Don't judge the other players, parents or coaches or that really big goalie who just came out of NOWHERE..I digress. Negativity breeds stress and you are under a lot already...those hockey bills are enough.
3) Resist the urge to speak to the coach at tryouts. He or she doesn't have the time to get into an involved discussion with you right then...during tryouts...with a hundred other parents listening in. Not the time.
4) Try to keep your player's emotions in check. They aren't "stupid" and they are NOT "the worst player out there". Even if they didn't perform all that well. Again, negativity breeds stress. They don't need it either.
5) Use discretion when celebrating and don't be the sour grapes parent if you aren't able do the celly yourself. Sometimes we just don't know what coaches are looking for in a player, what they need to round out the team or the type of skills or effort they are scouting. Be happy for your newly rostered player but be respectful of those who didn't make the cut. And if you are on the cutting room floor? Don't throw shade (it's really fun using a 14 year old's vernacular) at the organization, coaches, other parents or players. I have known several parents who have been blacklisted from a rink or association because of a badly worded email, phone call or tantrums thrown in the lobby.
6) Have some wine. No, really. I have several hockey mom friends who have a glass or two at the rink bar in anticipation of their nerves. Who are we to judge? If it's not broke don't fix it.
As for me, I clench my teeth, wring my hands and try to talk about other things. And I never press my nose against the glass...even when a really big goalie comes out of nowhere!
Good luck and let me know how you handle the stress of tryouts!