Coach, my son is on a team where the coach is always yelling at the players for making a mistake. My son is having a hard time dealing with this and is so afraid to make a mistake, for fear of being scolded. Do you have any advice I can give him? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Holly J.
It’s unfortunate to hear this Holly, but every hockey player who played any length of time probably has had a coach or two like the one your son is experiencing. The easiest way institute change in players is through intimidation or scare tactics. The problem lies in the fact that it is short lived and at what price? A coach only needs to win one championship or a have a couple players move on to play D1 College, Major Junior or the NHL and is viewed as a genius. But how many players did that coach affect negatively along the way? How many players stopped playing hockey because of this experience? There is a time and place for laying the hammer down on players, but it can’t happen so regularly that players start tuning the coach out, or like in your son’s case, afraid to make a mistake. Hockey has to be played with passion and creativity, and the only way to progress is through trial and error which results in mistakes from time to time.
My advice to your son is to focus on what’s in his control. I don’t care how much a coach yells and screams, I’ve never got yelled at for working too hard. Lastly, I know it’s hard for young kids to do this, but have him speak with the coach privately. Have him explain to the coach how he’s feeling, how he’s afraid to make mistakes for fear of getting yelled at. My guess is the coach will respect the mature gesture and hopefully address your son and his teammates in a different manner moving forward.
All the Best. Coach Pitter