Q&A: Dealing with Parents and Equal Ice Time for Players
Pete asks: “As a coach, what is the best way to deal with the parent who thinks their child doesn’t get the same amount of ice time or shifts as everyone else? We even keep track of the number of shifts each player goes out. The only time they differ is when we have the Power Play or Penalty Kill to deal with. We have explained that to them as well.”
Answer: “This is a very sensitive issue. First of all I would like to ask what age group and what level are the players participating? I believe that in order for players to develop, particularly at the younger age groups, that all players should get the opportunity to play equal time and in all situations. If we tell players at a young age that they can’t do something, they start to believe just that.
“As players get older and at higher levels of competition, I realize it becomes more critical to define their roles and reward them with ice time accordingly. I have made a commitment as players become more mature, that is primarily around the ages of 14 to 16 (Bantam/Midget), that I communicate with the players specifically and their concerns regarding ice time. If parents feel the necessity to address it with me, I kindly explain my decision-making process to them. Make sure to let the player know what he or she needs to work on specifically to participate in those situations! As you know, some parents have difficulty being objective regarding their son/daughter, and this will always affect their perception. As a youth coach this will always be one of our greatest challenges.”
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Jim Johnson, Co-Founder of flexxCoach.com, for answering this question. flexxCoach is dedicated to improving the youth sports experience by improving the quality of adult leadership. For more information about flexxCoach, please visit their website at http://www.flexxcoach.com/
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