Help, My Kid Wants to Play Goalie!
Take a deep breath.
Many parents try to talk their child out of playing goalie. Maybe it would just be easier if she plays out (of the net, that is). Maybe it will be less stressful (for you) if he’s not the goaltender. It will definitely be cheaper—now you have to fit your child for goalie equipment! Maybe you just don’t want to help buckle those pads! The fact is that if your child wants to be a goaltender, there may be nothing you can do to change her mind. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but here are a few tips to help you through.
- Let him try it out first. Don’t go out and buy all new goalie equipment right away. Talk to the local hockey arena, the team or another goalie and see if you can borrow a set of goalie equipment for a day. You could even get some roller hockey goalie equipment and let your child play in the driveway to make sure they she really likes being the keeper of the net.
- Look for used equipment. Kids grow out of equipment fast, and it will be easier on your wallet if you get most of the equipment pre-owned. If there are no used sports stores in your area, ask around at your local rink or check online (just make sure you get the right sizes).
- Try all positions. A lot of children enjoy playing goalie—and playing out. It is not a bad thing to start playing as a forward or defenseman because it allows your child to gain confidence on the ice and develop her skating. Most children decide what position they want to play at 7 to 9 years old.
- Consider your child’s personality: Goalies may feel little stress in games with no scorekeeping—but that will end at Squirt or sooner. When the time comes, can she bear criticism? Is he confident in the face of blame? What if she doesn’t get to play in every game? Can he be a good, supportive backup? Some children do not have the temperament for goalie.
- Talk to your child. Make sure that your child really wants to play goalie. I had to make this same decision myself as a child. For awhile, I had the best of both worlds: I played in the net some games, and right wing for the rest. I loved playing goalie, but I also loved to score goals. At 7 years old I had to pick what I loved more, and I chose to play out.
I remember my parents telling me that I had to pick a position. I knew it was coming, and I was happy that they let me try both positions. If my parents never let me try both, I couldn’t have made a well-informed decision. If your child wants to be a goaltender, the best way to handle the situation is to embrace the decision and let him try it. Who knows, your child could be the next Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur or Molly Schaus.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Jeremy Rupke of HowToHockey.com for this story. If your child is starting hockey, check out how to ice skate on Jeremy’s hockey tips blog.
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