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Dealing With Bias Minor Hockey Coaches - Is Your Child Getting the Short End of the Stick?

March 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 172

First off let me start by saying that coaching minor hockey is a tough and often thankless task. As a coach you often have to deal with scheduling issues, parental communication, difficult hockey parents, and at times behavior challenged children. Minor hockey coaches in most cases are volunteers and if it wasn't for them there wouldn't be hockey programs for your children to play in. I am thankful for them and everyone that has a child in minor hockey should be as well. However that does not dismiss some of the shenanigans that go on behind the bench with coaches and the way they handle their kids and the kids of close friends.

Most minor hockey coaches have their own kids on their team. Although it does exist you won't find very many non-parent coaches. If that was the case the minor hockey world would be a perfect place. With parents coaching their own kids I have come to accept, although not agree with, the fact that there is going to be some level of bias in terms of ice time or power play time or whatever the "special" case may be. This being said, there is a certain level, in my opinion, in which a little extra becomes the blatantly obvious to the point of embarrassing.

If you're reading this you've probably experienced this type of situation at some point as it happens more frequently than it should. I've been witness to games where the head coach's kid has been on the ice for nearly the whole game while the other players play every other shift. The worst part is even though the coach's kid has played the whole game he/she hasn't really done all that much while the kids that can produce sit and wait. But really that's beside the point. The real point is what's ethical and right as well as what coaching certification is supposed to teach coaches.

Hockey coaching clinics are supposed to teach coach's "hockey development for children in a fun a safe environment". Now many will argue that's what practice is for however game time is just as important for kids as ultimately that's what kid's want- they want to play.

Different coaches have different philosophies. Some always roll the lines no matter what. Some like to shorten the bench if they are in a losing position. Others roll the lines and only want the last five minutes of the game to be theirs. Whatever the case may be bias coach's that focus on only two or three players does more harm than good. I've seen super players that can score or make something happen every time they're on the ice not get half of the ice time that a player with half of their ability does. It's a complete disrespect to the game as well as the parents that pay money for their child to play in a supposedly "fair" environment. I get it that at higher levels of hockey, bantam-midget, that ice time is based on performance but when kids are younger than that they should be given the same opportunity as everyone else.

So what should you do if you find your child in this position? Well, depending on the league you play in and the level there isn't all that much. What I do recommend is the following:

  1. Speak with the coach directly about your concerns. Be friendly and professional and be sure that you state your case in a fact based manner. Express to the coach your feelings. Be sure to keep your emotions intact.
  2. If you don't get a response from the coach that is a suitable resolution you can always escalate to the convener of the league. Again, be cordial and professional and be sure that your argument is fact based. Do not be emotional and do not slander anyone.
  3. If there is no change that meets your expectations then I would consider looking at other leagues or teams for your child. There are many out there and with a bit of leg work you'll find one that is suitable.

Depending on the level of hockey and the league your child plays in you may or may not get any results. One thing that it absolutely necessary though is to remove all emotion from your discussions and remain professional and cordial at all times. Hockey is an emotional game and it's difficult to not be emotional especially when it comes to your child. Remember that the world of minor hockey is a small one and word travels fast. Nobody wants a hot-headed hockey parent on their team and if you behave in such a way it will do more harm to you and your child then good.

Visit the Wonderful World of Minor Hockey for advice, musings and insights into the fun, exciting and often intense game of youth hockey.

Source: EzineArticles
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