How Do You Deal With the Pressure to Play Travel Hockey?
Bob said: Pressure to play travel hockey is an issue that should really boil down to what your child wants. A parent needs to read the signs indicating that a child wants to play travel hockey. While a child will often need prodding to get ready and go to practice, the child who consistently does not want to go may not be suited for travel hockey.
With that said, sometimes, the kids who complain about doing things outside their comfort zone just need a little push to discover they enjoy whatever it is they are so adamantly opposed to doing. But, after a season of travel hockey, it should be apparent whether or not the child wants to continue with the sport at a higher level. I always make it clear to my son that he can play whatever sport(s) he wants and at whatever level he wants, but that he will participate in some physical activity to balance him as a person.
In his first year of Midget hockey, he decided that he didn't want to continue to play travel hockey despite his obvious skill level and the prodding of several teams trying to convince him that he "needed" to continue or he would fall behind. We laughed about the coaches who had told him this. I questioned, “fall behind in what?” I had never been a parent who thought my son was going to be an NHL player. My goal is to involve him in a sport he enjoys and allow him to grow and experience the life lessons that it can teach. Therefore, the level he reached would be a result of how much work he put into it. At that point he loved hockey, but just didn't want to have it take up so much of his life so he decided to try other sporting activities.
The following year the travel hockey flame was rekindled and he was more enthusiastic than he had ever been about playing. He still loves the game, and despite the fact I really believed he may be able to play at a collegiate level if he really wants to put in the work, he plays for fun and most likely will play for the rest of his life.
The bottom line is, a family should not be pressured into anything, especially when it comes to their children. Ultimately, they should have the biggest say in what they want to be involved in and at what level.
Editor's Note: Congratulations to Bob Diamond for winning this week's contest. As a thank you for his answer, www.BladeTape.ca is giving Bob $150 worth of NHL BladeTape. Want to win this week's prize? Be sure to click here for the latest Grow the Game contest.