It’s easy to get caught up in the game. 3rd down, 2 yards to go, the quarterback sets and throws and – ohhh – the wide receiver drops the ball. In an effort to chase down the puck, a defenseman mistakenly scores an own-goal. Your heart sinks. And with the game on the line, the center simply misses both free throws and the team loses. Ugh!
And before you know it, you’re yelling from the stands. It might start with an innocent “C’mon!” but sadly in many cases it deteriorates into yelling that can erode kids’ confidence and self-esteem. You’ve likely witnessed a parent yelling things like, “C’mon Michael, Go to the ball! What are you doing? Get it together! What’s the matter with you? Move your feet! Turn and go! Go! Gooooooo! Awwwww man. Come ON!” Or maybe you’ve found yourself guilty of this behavior, too. It happens.
But a commitment to good sportsmanship is not just the job of the athletes and coaches. Parents play a critical role in setting the tone – at home, in the stands, and after the game.
Before the game, remind your child – and yourself – that practicing good sportsmanship is something important, something you together commit to, and something in which you and you’re your child can take pride, regardless of outcome of the contest. Let your child know that you, too, will work on your commitment to good sportsmanship and will be practice it in the stands.
During the game, work hard to not be “that dad” or “that mom” who loses their cool. While you think the spotlight is on the field, it’s actually on you in the stands in the eyes of your children. They see and hear it all. And during the game is your moment to demonstrate that you walk-the-walk and practice the very same good sportsmanship that you ask your kids to show.
Try things like ‘no verbs cheering’ where you only clap, wave your sign, whirl your rally towel, and yell “Yay!” No verbs helps you steer clear of coaching from the stands or criticizing your child or any others who are competing. Cheer for good plays – by both teams! When a controversial call happens, be silent – or maybe even give a ‘brush it off’ sign to the team and fellow parents in the stands. If your child seems not to be paying attention during the game or is losing focus (picking weeds in the outfield?), resist the urge to say or do anything during the game. Save it for a conversation between you and the coach afterwards on what you can together do to help your kid stay engaged in the game.
Remember that they are kids who play sports to have fun and to learn. With learning comes mistakes. And traits like grit and determination happen when kids get the chance to struggle, figure out solutions on their own, and overcome obstacles. Give them the space – and the quiet from the yelling – to figure it out themselves.
After the game, resist the urge to ‘break down’ what you saw. Start with asking, not telling. “What was the most fun part of that game?” “What was your favorite play?” “What did you learn from that game?”
And above all – before the game, during the game and after the game, remind your children that you love them and are proud of them, win or lose. And that you are especially proud of them when they practice good sportsmanship. Who knows, your kid might quickly respond, “I’m proud of your good sportsmanship in the stands, too, Mom!”
The Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ program, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, promotes good sportsmanship in youth sports so that our kids can have the fun and positive experience they deserve. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support doing the right thing on and off the field.
In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ program, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.
©2015 Liberty Mutual Insurance and Positive Coaching Alliance. All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed without express written permission. Any reproduction in whole or part by and individuals or organizations will be held liable for copyright infringement to the full extent of the law.
Even with almost 50 years of involvement in hockey, you can’t plan for the current state of the world and the impact coronavirus has had on our game. I think it is safe to say that nothing prepares you for the changes that have taken place in our daily lives and the uncertainty of when things might return to normal. Or in this case, what will become the new “normal.”
Our expertise is hockey, so what we’ll address in this piece: the impact of the global pandemic on our game and how likely it will affect our game in the immediate future.
USA Hockey continues to post information on COVID-19 on the main website. These updates keep our membership informed of specific programs and the changing safety recommendations that will be in place when hockey returns. Be sure to check back regularly for updates and other hockey information.
On the officiating front, much of what we are able to do from a program standpoint is connected to player events like national tournaments and player development camps. As you know, the national tournaments (along with the March, April and May IIHF World Championship events) were cancelled. The Officiating Program then canceled our two instructor training programs that were planned for late April and early May in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
At this time, details for any potential summer development camps are still being determined. On the player side, several camps we are connected to were cancelled, and the few camps that are still in planning have been dramatically downsized. The Officiating Program continues to monitor the decisions made for players and will take advantage of any opportunity we have to salvage our summer camp program and maximize participation.
The good news is, we are confident we will have a 2020-21 season. All indications show no reason to delay registration. It will open as scheduled on or around May 26, followed by the open book exams and online seminar curriculum on June 1.
SafeSport Training (required for anyone born in the year 2003 or earlier) and background screening (learn about the new national level screening program in the Q & A section) will also be available to complete at that time. If COVID-19 still has things slowed down in early June, it would be an ideal time to get these requirements completed.
The biggest unknown will be the timing in which we will be able to conduct seminars. The vast majority of rinks are currently closed, and many of them took this opportunity to remove ice to save operating costs and do maintenance. There is now doubt they will be prepared to quickly ramp up once they are allowed to do so, but as with most everything right now, the timing is uncertain. As a result, some of the earlier seminars may be pushed back a few weeks. The District Referees-in-Chief will secure ice times and facilities so we can provide seminar dates and locations as quickly as possible. We are also encouraging our instructors to think outside the box by providing some weeknight seminar options, and to look at other ways to best meet the needs of our members.
The Advanced Officiating Symposium, scheduled for Providence, R.I. in late July, is still going to plan. We will continue to monitor the situation, including local restrictions and travel advisories in the coming weeks, and we will announce any changes in advance to allow for alterations to travel arrangements. Click here for up-to-date information or to reserve your seat at the 2020 Advanced Officiating Symposium.
These are difficult times for everyone, and although our hockey family is important to us, it is a small fraction of the big picture that is impacting our daily lives. To quote Andy Dufresne in his letter for Red that he left under the big oak tree in The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We hope the coronavirus is conquered with minimal loss of lives and a return to a prosperous normal as soon as possible. We hope your passion for the game of hockey will only grow as a result of its absence. We hope we are back on the ice in the coming months and that the 2020-21 season will be our best yet.
Thank you for your continued support of USA Hockey and don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to make your hockey experience a better one. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and be prepared to be back on the ice soon.
In order to comply with new requirements from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), USA Hockey will be implementing a national level background screening program. This program will replace all USAH Affiliate coordinated background screen programs.
Why must officials be screened?
Per USA Hockey and USOPC policy, all coaches, officials, board members, employees, volunteers, billets and anyone else who will have regular contact with, or authority over, minor athletes are required to submit a background screen before any contact with minor athletes.
Who is required to be screened?
Officials who are 18 years-old (or older) prior to June 1 of the current year.
Any official, 18 years-old (or older) without a completed valid background screen (national or USAH Affiliate coordinated) after April 1, 2019.
All national background screens are valid for two seasons, and starting on June 1, 2020 a national background screen must be completed and in good standing before receiving an officiating card and crest.
What are the timelines for launching the national background screen program?
Beginning on April 1, 2020, background screening will be conducted by our national background screen vendor, National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), and information on background screening will be included following your registration.
As of March 22, 2020, applicants will no longer be able to submit new USA Hockey background screens through USAH Affiliate vendors, and will not be able to submit new screens through NCSI until April 1, 2020.
If you were screened after April 1, 2019 for the 2019-20 season, your screen is valid for the 2020-21 season, and you will not need to be screened under the new system until prior to the 2021-22 season. If your most recent screen is from prior to April 1, 2019, you will need to be screened under the new system, after April 1, 2020, in order to participate in the upcoming season.
All new screens submitted through the new NCSI national screening program after April 1, 2020 will be valid for two seasons. For example, a screen submitted and approved on April 15, 2020 will be valid through the end of the 2021-22 season, which is August 31, 2022.
How can members complete their required background screen?
A link to submit for screening will be included in your membership registration confirmation email and posted in the drop-down menu under the OFFICIALS tab at USAHockey.com.
Background screens through NCSI under the national program will cost $30 for all domestic screens. For international screens (members who have lived outside of the U.S. for six consecutive months in any one county during the past 7 years) the flat rate fee is $150. If that country is solely Canada, the flat rate fee is $75.
Where can members go with questions about the national background screen program?
Please refer to the USA Hockey Background Screen webpage at USAHockey.com.