BY SCOTT THEN —
Let me paint this picture…
Your child has worked their tail off, and a group of 15 kids have managed to come together to have one of the best seasons you can remember them being a part of. Your parents are like the greatest group at any local pub, all enjoying each other’s company, and knowing what is going on in each family’s life. Your team has a great regular season, the playoffs go well, and next thing you know, you are a participant in the state, district, and finally the National Tournament for USA Hockey.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? It gets better, your child’s team does so well that they make the finals, and maybe even win the National Title at their age group. WOW! Little Johnny, and little Jenny get to live the time of their life. You know how long they get to celebrate… 48 hours. How is that possible? Well because tryouts for the next season begin 48 hours after the final game of the National Tournament.
You now have 48 hours to figure out where they will tryout next year. You must take into account geography, who is aging up, who the coach is, what are the reputation of the associations, does my child play Tier 1, Tier 2, AAA, AA… oh my gosh, so many decisions in 48 hours. Every team has their first tryout in the first 2 hours that they are allowed to, so hope you are a good guesser as far as what coach will take them and if it’s a good fit. And then, even better, is that early tryouts eliminate the coach to truly know what the player will look like the following season.
This year, parents have the greatest opportunity I have seen in 45 years of being involved in Youth Hockey, between playing and coaching. NYSAHA is looking at August tryouts, something unheard of here. Parents can take the time to reach out to coaches, remember, they are not allowed to reach out to recruit players, but you certainly can do your due diligence to see what kind of coach they are and what their plan is.
Don’t be afraid to interrogate the coach, remember, as much as they are a volunteer, you are entrusting the development of your child, not only as a player but as a citizen, student, and person in general to that coach. Some questions to think of…
- What is you season goal, both for my child and for the team?
- What is your coaching Philosophy? (Friendship, mentor, authoritative)
- Who are you having help you this year?
- What is your team strategy?
- How many players do you want to carry?
- Where do you see my child fitting in your plan?
- Who do you want to play against? Where? When? Why?
This is the greatest opportunity for a parent to get the most for the huge investment that they are about to make in their child. Take advantage of it, you might find a diamond in the rough.