I’ve been asked why we push such an intensive hockey schedule on our son.
Truth is, we don’t have to push it at all. I’m a hockey mom by default, not by choice. But it’s a title I wear proudly.
My children, especially my son, are very focused on sports, and to me that is exceptional. Sports are important to us as a family, and I’m proud that my children want to be involved in team sports. My son wants his intensive hockey schedule, and I support him.
I see so much emphasis on it being ok to not like sports, and I support that entirely. I’ve told both of my children from the start that they do not have to do sports. But I feel there should be equal emphasis on the fact that it is ok to eat, sleep, and breathe sports!
My son has the makings of a cliche jock. Even at six, athletics come easy to him. He loves to be on the ice, and then comes home and practices in our basement because he wants to.
If you look at any of my social media feeds you’ll see they are flooded with love for my family and my side work. You’ll also see an overabundance of one very specific thing… hockey. Hockey has become my passion. It is something that has brought joy to my face during a time of year that I despise. We have become a hockey family. And while my daughter might complain to others about going to hockey, she can’t stop talking about it at home. And my son, well, to my son hockey IS life.
Our intensive hockey season schedule is currently something like this:
- 3 days of on-ice team practice each week
- Potentially 1-2 games each weekend (not every weekend, but many)
- Dryland training exercises (including practice shots, puck handling, etc) 7 days a week at home
- Dryland training exercises at home 4-5 days each week (jogging outside, pushups, situps, stretches).
By keeping a busy hockey schedule, our son has become well versed in the true meaning of sportsmanship. He understands that sportsmanship is a multifaceted concept. Sportsmanship is a concept that is essential for kids to understand. For me, it can be broken down into the following areas:
You don’t have to be the best player on the ice (or field), but my goodness, we want our children to try hard and show dedication to the sports they choose. If they aren’t dedicated to what they are doing, then why even do it, right?
I don’t encourage my kids to play sports to fill up their time and keep them busy.
I want them to be passionate about whatever it is they do. Hockey is something my son is obsessed with. He doesn’t like to sit and watch it on TV, but he will read books about it, and go straight to the basement to practice when he gets home from on-ice practice.
There is a winner and a loser of every game. I’m sorry if you don’t like that. And I’m sorry if you think it’s cruel that I feel that way no matter the age of the competitors.
Both of our children have inherited our competitive nature, but they also know how to be competitive and respectful at the same time.
We have focused on teaching that confidence and competition are different than arrogance, and that there is a fine line between both.
My husband and I tell our kids that they must respect themselves by equally pushing and rewarding themselves. They know to take care of both their bodies and their athletic equipment.
Kids have to respect their team by cheering them on and helping when help is needed. In a team sport, it doesn’t behoove anyone to not help others grow.
Teammates become friends, and they will always learn from one another.
I teach my kids to respect the coaches by giving them their full attention. We’ve seen countless times how frustrating it can be for a coach when they are explaining a drill and no one is listening. They pour their hearts into coaching, so my kids know to give them the respect they deserve. Respect the other team by acknowledging good plays. And if my kid notices that someone needs help, he knows to offer a hand, regardless of what team they are on.
Keeping our emotions in check is important whether we win or lose.
We’ve stressed to our children that we don’t need to cry when we lose. Why? Well, because a loss is good for you. It grounds you. It puts things in perspective. It reminds you to push and work harder as an individual and team the next time. It’s also equally important to keep emotions in check when you win. No showboating, no over-celebrating. Be excited, be proud, then move on.
These values are apparent on the ice, or field, or court, and hopefully, at school and at home as well.
While my husband and I believe that an intensive hockey schedule is important and beneficial to our son, there are many that don’t see it the way we do. I recently read an article that stated that year-round hockey can result in an increase in injury. While I see the point, I respectfully disagree.
We will never push our son to play hockey or attend a hockey camp if he doesn’t want to.
By choice, our son plays the following yearly schedule:
- Six months of regular hockey season
- One month of spring fling
- Six weeks of additional spring hockey, with 3 upcoming Canadian tournaments
- At least two week-long summer camps
- A pre-season camp in fall 2020.
Hockey has become such an integral part of our life, for our entire household. We rearrange our work schedules and our personal lives to ensure that we do not miss a single moment of hockey.
For us, it is important to make sure that our son has every opportunity that is available to him to play and practice. He shows the commitment and promise, and we want him to know he has our support every step of the way.