As a parent we think that it’s a good thing having a child who is well developed. And here I am talking about their size of course. They are taller and bigger than the children of the same age.
In your mind I’m sure you are thinking that’s a good thing as it gives them an advantage. They aren’t seen as ‘small’ and especially in the hockey space it gives them the advantage of being able to play against the bigger kids with more ease.
But, is it really an advantage, or a disadvantage?
Being Bigger Isn’t Always Better
For a child that is bigger physically they might be thinking that they have more power than they actually do. They may see themselves as better than the children in their own age bracket, because they are taller and possibly even stronger in one aspect.
But this physical difference doesn’t make for stronger mental strength.
Children with this level of development think they can skate through by being tough. I’m going to use that word to describe their ability to muscle younger and smaller players around.
They may ‘throw their weight (and height) around’ in such a way to feel more powerful than the others on the team.
Notice I am talking a lot her about the child’s mental state. They are believing themselves better than their peers. All due to their physical appearance.
What’s the Missing Piece?
The missing piece in all of this is that due to the belief the child has of being better they don’t necessarily develop strong skills. Their size gets them through, using their toughness.
Others watching believe the child is a better player. And whilst that child might have physical abilities others don’t, the true test of a better player is to not use their strength and size, but to work on their skill set and mental game.
Development and Mindset Win Out Over Size
One day, and it will come, the children who used to be smaller than your child will all of a sudden have grown and developed physically and caught up to this once bigger child. At that time your child, who has been muscling their way around the rink, will all of a sudden be the loser.
I don’t like using that word, yet it honestly describes where they will be placed, because they may all of a sudden be at a loss skill wise and that will show out.
So, your child may all of a sudden not be seen as, ‘as good’ anymore. Something that is not great for anyone’s mental wellness.
The Morale of This Story
There is a morale to this story and that is be the best parent you can be and work with your child to develop their skill level and mental strength, over using their size.
Sure, it’s a great thing they have developed physically earlier than their peers, but don’t let that be the only thing they focus on.
Teach them to hold back and work on how to maneuver around others, despite their size. Talk to them about mentally working on how to pull back from using physicality as a means of winning.
There is a great opportunity to support them to become an amazing player by NOT using their size to propel them forward. Work with their skill levels so once the other children in their team or group catch up, the whole group is fantastic skill wise.
Let your child shine through with their skill set, mindset, and size. That is what makes great hockey players, not the ones that use their size, simply because they can.
Karen Cherrett is a Sports Mindset Coach who specializes in coaching hockey players. Karen coaches players to be more focused and play with ease, not stress. And their parents to support their child in the best possible way. Life playing hockey should be fun. Mental health matters. Hockey should be fun, not emotionally overloading. #MindsetMatters