Should you force your child to go to Hockey Camp?

Should you force your child to go to Hockey Camp?

The straight up answer to this question is No! And let’s dive into why that is the answer to this question.

Forcing doesn’t help the child in any way

Send yourself back to your childhood and find a time when your parents, mother or father made you do something you didn’t want to do. How did you feel? I’m going to image you said resentful, angry, unhappy and put down. And I am using the word ‘put down’ deliberately because it is about feeling as though I don’t have a voice.

If you had a conversation with your child about going to camp and their response was “I don’t want to go” then listen to your child. They may have been very adamant with their response, explaining WHY they don’t want to go. Listen. Be open to understanding their perspective and reasoning.

What’s their reasoning?

They may have a very legitimate reason for not wanting to go. For example, they may be scared they will be called out about not being able to perform a certain skill, like stopping. And, if that is something they don’t know how to do, then there is a very good chance they are right. A coach might call out they aren’t doing that.

Sending them into a space of feeling more unsettled about their skill level isn’t going to help their self-esteem in any way.


If it’s a skills issue get them one-on-one help

The key thing to take notice of here is that they have called out a skill they are unable to do. How can you get them support to master that skill? Is it time to get them support one-on-one with a skating coach, for example?

And yes, you are right in thinking that they could get support with that skill at a Summer Hockey Camp, if it is one of the skills being taught. But, if your child is already feeling self-conscious about not being able to do that particular thing, dropping them into a group situation where it is likely most of the other players/skaters can do that, isn’t what is needed at all.

Sense of self is more important than skills.

Whilst you only have the best intention for your youth player, forcing them to go to Camp is not in their best interest if they aren’t feeling okay within themselves. You are wasting your money and everyone’s time. Your child will be extremely unhappy and not get anywhere near the coaching they could from the camp. If they feel good about themselves and go to camp, they will come away with stronger skills.

If you make a child, go because you think it’s the best thing for them to do, they will not only resent you, it will harm their level of self-esteem even more.

I think that’s a good enough reason to not force any child to go to Summer Hockey Camp, don’t you?

Having trouble with the mental side of the game of hockey? Karen Cherrett, Mental Skills Coach helps players to understand how their thoughts impact their game; Parents how to support their child's mental wellness; and Coaches to understand mental skills management for their players.

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