Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Parents Should Boost Kids, Not Slam Coaches When Players Miss Team Cut: Experts

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Parents Should Boost Kids, Not Slam Coaches When Players Miss Team Cut: Experts

Article excerpt

Don't slam coach when player gets cut: experts

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TORONTO - Chris Joseph suited up for 19 seasons of professional hockey -- including 14 years in the NHL -- but even after a lengthy career at the sport's top level, he still remembers the sting of disappointment he felt after being cut from a team as a kid.

"I was always the type of player that if I did get negative feedback from a coach -- and I did a lot -- I took it personally a lot of times," recalled the former defenceman, who grew up in Burnaby, B.C.

"But never once did I ever think: 'That coach is out to lunch,' or 'That coach is completely wrong.' I thought: 'Well, I have to be better. ...' And maybe to a fault -- maybe I was even too hard on myself. But I think that attitude helped me look within and try to be better all the time."

Now a coach himself in St. Albert, Alta., and father to two sons in minor hockey, Joseph has fresh perspective of how parents cope with the news that their kids don't measure up.

"There's a lot of criticism when teams are selected as to how the process is done. Everybody questions it. And a lot of them think that their kid should be on the higher team," he said. "I've found that over the years that occasionally one or two kids will fall through the cracks or they'll get higher than they should be. But for the most part, most kids usually end up about where they should be. And yet, if you talk to Mom and Dad lots of times, their kid's gotten the raw end of the deal."

Joseph said while almost every parent will be disappointed when their child is cut, they have to be realistic about the youngster's abilities.

"Is it his skating is not up to speed? Is it he doesn't play the position as well as somebody else?" he asked. "A lot of parents will look at their son or daughter's strengths and they'll look past some of their weaknesses as a player."

Joseph echoes a chorus of experts who say parents should focus on encouraging kids after they are cut rather than levelling critiques against coaches.

"A typical example we see from parents is that when their kids are cut, they get really upset themselves which doesn't help their children," said Natalie Durand-Bush, associate professor of sport psychology at the University of Ottawa.

"They'll blame the coaches, they'll blame the politics of the sport -- some of this could be true. But instead of helping the child -- just identify(ing) their strengths and weaknesses and try(ing) to bring it down to something they can control, to keep working hard to maybe try again next time and make the team the next year, they get really upset. They blame the association, they start writing nasty letters to the association to say: 'How could they cut their child? Their child is the best out there. ...'

"I think that really confuses the child more than anything," added Durand-Bush, who also works as a mental performance consultant with athletes as young as nine years old. …

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