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Re: Communication with Coaches

How much communication should a parent be having with coaches? I see some parents engaging coaches before and after each game (beyond the greeting, small talk etc...) as well as emailing, texting, phone calls not to mention dinners and drinks. I would think this is to much and I would imagine it could be somewhat annoying for the coaches. We generally engage in small talk, congrats and thank yous. Should we be doing more? As a parent what are the do and don'ts at this level? Any guidance would be appreciated.

two factors --- the coach and player age.

coach -- they are people [insert jokes here] and as such some are more personable, available and/or outgoing: these persons tend not to 'hide' in the locker room or 'walk' away after a game.

age -- coaches tend to be very wary of parents HS and above. its either they have to be careful 'not to say the wrong thing' (let slip that X played awful) or expect any moment for the parent to 'get to the point' and complain about their child's [playing time, line, number, not being captain]. witnessed at a graduation party this summer a dad 'corner' an assistant demanding to know why his son was not captain.

so you see certain parents 'always' chatting with the coach. some are friends: they have know each other for years (they talk about stuff other than hockey), some coach other teams and some --- yep are tolerated, you can almost see the coach looking for a fire alarm to pull (they talk about the game just played).

i have coach numerous teams, mite to HS, top to bottom, club and town, boys and girls. i am very outgoing and will chat with anyone but noticed i am much more careful now as a HS coach: head boys for fall, assist girls for winter. just to many instances of parents, being --- parents. and if i say or act incorrectly (in their minds) they will spend the rest of their child's career 'bad mouthing' me so why should i feed that situation and sour others (i make enough blunders on my own).

for HS winter (fall is much more relaxed) i am an absolute basket case before the game up to the start: either its a tough one, or one we need or the worst one we should win. after the game: it is what is was so even a tough loss does not alter my personality.

and please NEVER hesitate (especially at the younger ages) to communicate issues. HS and above the child should be doing this.

Re: Communication with Coaches

Wow, actually some good insight today. For the youth ages:

Peewee and above: drop him at the rink and go do your shopping, return when practice is over. No need to talk to coach unless you run into him after a game or practice. Do not talk about playing time or coaching style. By this age, you should have done your homework and known what you were getting into. Coaches don't change over the summer. Engage the coach only if your son is having a problem with another kid, and only if your kid can't handle this situation on his own.

Squirt: Squirt minor you're probably still tying his skates, so you get much more exposure to coaches before and after practices/games. Talk to coaches about non-hockey stuff as much as you want, but not just because you're trying to impress him. Just be a normal human being. If you have a hockey issue (playing time - should be about even at this age, skill development, player's attitude) make a phone call and schedule a face-to-face meeting after practice one night to discuss. Don't talk about this stuff in front of other parents, it makes the coach uncomfortable. Don't ever, ever talk about another front of others or in a private meeting with coach. Squirt major you should be in the locker room less often as the kids start to tie their own skates. By end of squirt major you should be just about where peewees are.

Mite: Just about the same as squirt minor, but the intensity should be ratcheted way down and the bar for calling a meeting with coach should be way higher. At mites, you should probably only check in with the coach a couple times a season to see how your son is getting along with his teammates, whether he is giving consistent effort, and ask whether he is improving his skills and attitude.

My $0.02. I prefer to let him build his own reputation and try to deal with issues on his own. I'd hate to interfere with his hockey experience by being a needy parent, so I err on the side of doing my own thing while he does his thing.

One thing I would recommend at all levels (club hockey) is a short discussion with the coach in January or February to find out where he stands for next year, especially if you are the type that can't make a realistic evaluation of where your own kid fits in with the team. If the coach hasn't approached you by mid-February about next year, then you owe it to your kid to initiate this discussion yourself. This gives you time to work the phones if you need to find another team and possibly get a couple of skates in with the other team before tryouts.

Re: Communication with Coaches

Even simpler. Don't talk to the coach.

Some advice: your kid is not as good as you think he is.