Know the Coach

Welcome back to the Ten Rules series where we examine Lloyd Percival’s list of How to Establish Rapport with Your Athletic Child. In the first post, we looked at the background of Percival and his involvement in developing The Hockey Handbook. Now we look at each of his ten rules and how they may (or may not) pertain to you and your young hockey player. 

Rule #8 You should try to get to know your child’s coach so that you know their philosophy, attitude and ethics. Finding out where the coach is coming from will help you feel more comfortable with them taking a prominent role in your child’s development.

The coach has a tremendous influence. Too many parents let their children play for coaches whose approach they feel uneasy about. Here is where you should speak up. Unless the coach has the moral values and principles you want passed onto your child, my advice is; get your child out of there.

This is not the first time that we have discussed this very particular rule of Percival’s. I’ve talked about the importance of knowing your child’s coach and their moral as well as technical approach to hockey in a number of previous posts, because it’s simply the most important consideration about the hockey program your children are involved in.

In Percival’s day a great deal of trust and faith was automatically given to authority figures, be they priests, teachers, bosses or coaches. In a time when parents generally assumed that a coach would be looking after the well-being of their children while working at making them better athletes, Percival warned “unless the coach has the moral values and principles you want passed onto your child, you should get your child out of there.” This was tough talk for the time, because he was not referring to the Graham James’s of hockey coaching when he wrote this – that kind of horror was not even imagined at the time, although it surely existed. Percival was speaking to a more benign, yet still extremely important type of ethical influence coaches can exert over children.

One thing hockey parents can absolutely do is ‘coach-proof’ their sons and daughters. This includes making sure you understand the ‘moral values and principles’ the coach brings to the hockey team. Get to know them as well as you can and pay attention to the things they want to teach these kids.

The most important things young hockey players take from their years in the sport should be good memories and a strong set of ethics and principals that they can transfer to their professional and personal lives. As a parent it is your right to know more about your childrens’ coaches, to understand their philosophy and motivations and to make sure they’re a good influence on your children.

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About The Author

Gary Mossman is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario. He is member of the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR) who has appeared in The Hockey News. CONTINUE

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