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Life Lessons from Team USA Athletes

By USAHockey.com, 02/24/14, 12:45PM MST

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Brought to you by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program

Our American athletes were just thousands of miles away from home in Sochi, competing against the very best of the world.  And our kids are were watching these men and women on TV in awe, wondering how they got "there."

Of course, these U.S. Olympic participants aren't just lucky or talented.  They've learned a lot over the years to be able to make it to the top.

Lessons like the courage it takes to respect an opponent.  Taking a "big picture" perspective.  How to recover from setbacks.

As parents, these are great lessons for your kids to keep in mind as they were watching the Games.

The Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports team, together with the experts at Positive Coaching Alliance, have spoken with some of America's top winter athletes and coaches about what they learned in play—and how that made a difference in life.

Set Goals Together.  At the beginning of any season, it's important that both you and your child each write down a separate list of youth sports goals.  Then compare lists.  Hopefully, there's agreement in important areas.  Jim Craig, 1980 Miracle on Ice goaltender, speaks about what he calls a "shared dream": "And you have to understand that if you are going to be successful in life that you can’t do it individually. It’s really collective."

The Right Coach Is Important.  It may not necessarily be the one who gives the most playing time or wins the most, but the one who teaches your children how to succeed off the field and sustains their love for the game.  So take your time choosing your child’s team!  Picabo Street, 1998 U.S. Olympic alpine skiing gold medalist, has strong opinions about this because of her four kids: "I will literally skate across town [for the right coach." 

Give Them a Break.  There can come a point when a young athlete plays so much that it isn't play for him or her anymore.  This is referred to as "burn out."  This can happen when an athlete practices too much, plays too many sports, or simply doesn't enjoy the game anymore.  Let them leave the game if they don't love it.  Sometimes, kids just need a long break to re-fill their Emotional Tanks.  Katey Stone, 2014 U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey head coach, states, "Our kids need some time to step away from everything and have a little bit of balance, so they can be better players when they get out there." 

Respect Your Opponents.  Your kids look to you in the stands and will emulate your behaviors.  So try to cheer for everybody, even the opponents!  Sometimes, for various reasons, it can be difficult to respect the other side.  It can take real courage.  Jenny Potter, U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey silver medalist, once received a post-game compliment from a Team Canada goaltender, of all people!

Phil Housley, 2002 U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey silver medalist, points out that a current rival can become a teammate in an instant.  “When you're growing up, you might be playing on a certain team within your city league.  You might have to move to a different team.  And all of the sudden, you meet some new friends, form new teammates, and now, you might be battling the guys that you were originally with.”  So you can never be sure who your kids will be playing with next!

Be a Supportive Base.  Kids need to know that no matter what, win or lose, there is one place where they have unconditional support.  It's not necessary to talk about the game at home, unless they want to.  And if they do, remember that home should be a place of positivity.  Hannah Kearney, 2010 U.S. Olympic mogul skiing gold medalist, remembers coming back to her hometown after not placing in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, thinking that she had let down 3,200 people.  She was wrong.  "It made me a lot more comfortable four years later, knowing no matter what happened in Vancouver, I was going to come back  home to a community that was going to accept me."

Look at the Big Picture.  As we mentioned, kids take their cues from you, their parents, and from their coaches.  If each game's result is treated as a matter of life and death, that pressure will seep into the fun your kids are having.  Results matter, but another way your kids can "win" is with what they learn from playing.  Tony Granato, 2014 U.S. Olympic men's ice hockey team assistant coach, says, "If we could just look at it as a game…understand that there's a lot of learning that goes along with it and valuable lessons that will be important later on in life."

What other life lessons have your kids learned from sports? Join us on Facebook to share your thoughts.  If you like this article and want more please subscribe to our Fundamentals eNewsletter today!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility shown by people every day. We created Responsible Sports, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display responsibility. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the field. Join the Responsible Sports movement!

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

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The 2021-22 Season is coming!

By Matt Leaf 05/25/2021, 9:30am MDT

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still a reality, the USA Hockey Officiating Program is looking forward to getting everyone back on the ice in what will likely become the “new normal.”

As we get closer to minimizing the effect the virus has had on our everyday lives, the successful completion of our USA Hockey National Tournament series and the IIHF Under-18 World Championships is a promising indication that hockey is back and will be better than ever for the 2021-22 season. 

As early player registrations mirror those trends from prior to the pandemic, the following is some information as to what officials should expect over the summer months and for the start of next season.

 

SUMMER DEVELOPMENT CAMPS AND ADVANCED SYMPOSIUM ARE BACK!
The Summer Development Camp Program is being downsized slightly as some facilities are still not available this summer, but we have latched onto the USA Hockey Player Festivals to be able to provide a quality development experience for those officials who qualify.

The Advanced Officiating Symposium is scheduled for early August in Providence, Rhode Island.  USA Hockey is working closely with the host hotel to maximize participation while still adhering to state and local COVID-19 restrictions. The goal is to be able to accommodate everyone interested in attending this one-of-kind get together of top ice hockey officials in a dynamic and engaging program.

 

RULE CHANGES
USA Hockey is in the midst of our quadrennial rule changes process, meaning there will be an updated 2021-2025 version of the Playing Rules Book prior to the start of the season.

Although the fundamental structure of the game will not change, there are several rule changes likely to be adopted that will require officials to pay attention to their rule knowledge and commit to the proper application of the rules. Officials will play a major role in USA Hockey’s efforts to improve the culture of body checking and, in return, officials will be provided more support through organizational initiatives to curb abuse of officials and unsportsmanlike behavior.

 

REGISTRATION JUNE 1
Officials registration for the 2021-22 season will open on June 1. However, since the updated playing rules will not be adopted until the USA Hockey Annual Congress in mid-June, hard copies of the 2021-25 Officials Playing Rules and Casebook will not be available until early August. A summary of the adopted rule changes and a PDF version of the updated rulebook should be available relatively soon after the Annual Congress. As a result, the open book exam, online module curriculum and seminar program will become available during the week of June 21.

 

SEMINARS
One of the outcomes of the pandemic was it required us to take a hard look at our seminar program and make significant adjustments to best prepare our membership for success on the ice. Officials should look for the re-introduction (local restrictions permitted) of the in-person level 1 and level 2 seminars, with the level 1 format returning to an all-day seminar experience. The level 1 standardized seminar curriculum will include the online module curriculum as part of this experience in an effort to streamline their registration process. Level 2 officials will experience a half-day in-person seminar which will include an ice session. 

The virtual “zoom” classroom seminar appears to be here to stay for level 3 and level 4 officials, even though some areas may choose to also provide in-person seminars for our most experienced team members. Either way, the goal is to be able to accommodate the needs of all of our officiating members with options that provide flexibility and efficiency. The online module curriculum for level 3 and level 4 officials is also being modified to streamline their registration process without compromising the educational value.

The level 2-3-4 closed book exams will also follow a modified format like last season where they will be able to complete the exam online within seven days of the seminar they attend. It is important to note these modified closed book exams will still be timed, so they must be completed in one sitting.

 

ADAPTING THE BEST WE CAN
The final thing to expect for the 2021-22 season? There will likely still be some restrictions and protocols that must be followed in certain local areas. The game may not look exactly like it did at the start of the 2019-20 season. Although we do not expect any full-fledged shutdowns as happened during the 2020-21 season, we will still need to be diligent and follow local guidelines in order to keep our game and its participants safe and on the ice. 

USA Hockey is excited about the opportunity to get everyone who was involved prior to the pandemic safely back on the ice. There is also huge growth potential as people feel more comfortable to get back into daily life and look for new ways to engage. There is no reason why hockey cannot be that avenue where everyone is welcomed, included and encouraged in a way that a lifelong passion for the game is nurtured.

USA Hockey thanks you for your continued support and your involvement in our programs.

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