Ugh … This sometimes is an unfortunate consequence of coaching kids. Many of the leagues today have the “24 to cool” rule adopted. It is a reminder to both parents and coaches to allow 24 hours to think about what has happened in a situation and time to “cool” down before speaking with emotion or aggression. This can be printed in an expectation handout at the start of the season explaining appropriate behaviour of players, parents, and coaches, given out by the coach and signed by the parents. The best thing a coach can do is remain calm. If a parent has become emotional or aggressive with you, calmly tell the parent that you will speak with them privately, and have one of your other coaches or league representatives attend with you. Remind them first of the “24 to cool” rule. If private meetings are not possible, emails can be exchanged, with league representatives always included in the email string. Remind the parents that we are all there for the kids, and if there is a problem then discuss it away from the players. Parents sometimes can discourage many a good coach – remember in those times the gratification of the kids’ smiles and enjoy the sport.
Coach Robinson says:
“I’m a big believer in just letting a kid be a kid in the rink. Too many parents push their kids in hockey and don’t let them enjoy the game for what it is. I always wanted to model myself after my dad as a hockey parent. He sat there and clapped for both teams, and he always said “good game,” no matter how bad I played. Even when I was older and knew I stunk sometimes, he always seemed to find that one little thing I did right in the game and compliment me on it. I wish more parents were like that, because I often think it’s the parents that end up pushing kids out of hockey. Judge their enjoyment by the smile on their face.”