Let go of the control you never had in the first place
If there was ever a lesson that I wish I would have paid more attention to, I would have to say 'Let go of the control you never had in the first place' would be it. I spent a lot of time trying to control an outcome that I had absolutely no say in. If I had only paid attention to the things I had control over, I would have enjoyed the whole hockey experience so much more.
I think I explained my struggle best in my final video interview when I said, "I tended to focus on all of the things I couldn't control. I focused on whether or not he made a team, if he had a good game, if he was getting enough ice time and there was nothing I could do about those things. I would get myself pretty wound up. What I realize as I look back is that the things I could control were the car rides, the times spent with other teammates, other friends, our family time, making sure he had a great meal before he went and a positive experience when he got in the car on the way home. Hockey is a great experience for our kids and an amazing experience for us parents, so we need to focus on the right things, so we can keep it fun."
If I could go back, I think one of the things I would try to do at the start of the year is respect the coaches rules around communication. I often wanted to send emails or have conversations in the hotel at a tournament, in the parking lot, or over the phone when I’d call and pretend I meant to dial someone else but…”while I have you on the phone.” I will admit I could have been much better at all of that.
We’ve had situations where Brock didn’t make a team and I wanted to find out why and truly understand it. My husband’s response would be, “He got cut because he wasn’t good enough to make it, is that what you need to hear from the coach?” That usually ended any desire for me to make a call. On the other side of things, we’ve had situations when trying to talk to coaches was next to impossible. I remember when my husband didn’t understand why my son had been cut from the first tryout. It was a higher-level team, so we wanted to know what he needed to work on and what we might have missed because we were obviously not objective enough. Finally, after much deliberation my husband sent an email, after the tryouts, and asked for some honest feedback. The coach never responded. I could have totally understood if he didn’t respond to a rude email or constant phone calls, but this was a friendly email asking his opinion. I know that parents are often looking for endless feedback so I can see why coaches have to be careful but there needs to be some communication.
So, now that you are coming towards the end of the year, whether you’re a coach or a parent, reflect back and decide what you could have done better. Maybe next year start the year off with some open dialogue of how you want communication between parents and coaches to work. Always start as you intend to finish and then there is no confusion when the coach pretends he can’t hear you when you’ve cornered him in an elevator.
One of my favourite excerpts from the book is from Chapter (10) ten and it states…
"Enjoy whatever level your child is at, watch them thrive, smile, have fun and be part of the experience that will stay with him or her for their whole life. Don't try and achieve it for your kids; let them get wherever they need to go on their own with you smiling proudly beside them."
Bottom line is this: let go of the control you never had in the first place.
Written by Allyson Tufts
Author, Speaker and Passionate Hockey Mom
If you would like to learn more about the series or purchase a copy of the book, visit www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com.
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.