I found this great article from USA Hockey. Please take the time to read the whole thing. It is very well written.
10U: Don't be that Parent
02/14/2014, 10:00am MST
You might have seen one of these signs online or at your local rink:
These are kids.
This is a game.
Parents should cheer for everyone.
The referees are human.
You and your child do not play in the NHL.
Every year, we see a handful of stories about youth sports parents overstepping their bounds. These parents’ actions are equal parts shocking and troublesome. Unfortunately, youth hockey is frequently the setting for these disturbing situations.
It's not easy for a parent to sit back and remain silent during any activity involving their son or daughter – nor is silence the expectation – but if the comments aren’t positive, then they aren’t appropriate.
Remember, it’s just a game.
Let the Coaches Coach
Please don’t coach from the stands. Allow the coaches to do their job. Be positive, supportive and encouraging. Let the child have fun, enjoy the game and play with their friends.
Brian Copeland, hockey director for the Junior Tigers of Colorado Springs, Colo., says one issue he frequently sees is young players constantly looking to the stands to seek approval from their parents. A disapproving look or gesture from mom or dad can remove a lot of the enjoyment for a child.
Moreover, it makes it difficult for a coach to do his or her job.
"The biggest problem you see is parents trying to coach from the stands," Copeland says. "You'll see this when kids start looking for their mom or dad in the stands while they're on the ice. The issue here is that it undermines the coaching staff. We want the kids to focus on the game while they're out there. It's hard to do that if they're constantly worried about what mom or dad think."
Parents also might be tempted to do some “car coaching.” Many kids fear the car ride home after games and practices because their parents want to dissect their performance. It’s good to be supportive and listen, but silence is okay, too. There will be good games and there will be bad games, but let them know that their performance does not mean you love them any more or any less.
Chances are, the parents are more riled up about a loss than a 10-year-old kid. Don’t be that parent.
Have an issue? Talk to the coaches privately and respectfully.
Rob Blake, a 20-year veteran of the National Hockey League and current assistant coach with the Junior Kings in Los Angeles, believes communicating and involving parents helps them understand expectations.
"Something as simple as having a meeting with parents before the season to discuss what's expected of them can benefit everyone," Blake says. "No matter which youth sports you're working in, this can be issue. Just communicating expectations and the goals of your staff can help build the type of culture you want."
Ice time is one thing that frequently leads to these problems in the course of a season. Blake believes that keeping the lines of communication open during the season is the only way to avoid the type of behavior that discourages kids.
"Parents have a tendency to only watch their son or daughter," Blake says. "The thing that people are most likely to complain about is ice time. Again, communicating with parents throughout the season to express concerns or just talk about the season helps develop a good environment."
Establishing a Positive Environment
The trick for coaches is to develop an environment that creates a positive culture of encouragement and education for young hockey players to develop skills and foster a love for the game.
The work, however, can't just come during the games or practices. According to Copeland, working with parents before a season clarifies their role within the organization. Additionally, explaining that these games are for kids, not parents or coaches, can prevent a lot of these issues.
"The biggest thing we're trying to do is create a culture where kids have fun playing hockey," Copeland says. "Kids quit when they're not enjoying it anymore. You see a lot of parents who are former players or athletes in any sport, and sometimes they have a hard time letting go of their playing days. My 8-year-old daughter is playing her first year of hockey, so I get it. But I just enjoy going to the games and cheering her on. That's what's most important to remember. The games are for the kids, not the parents."
Copeland says he distributes literature from USA Hockey and other organizations discussing how parents can positively contribute to their local youth hockey community. As important as this is before the season, reminders during the year or as problems arise, help to reiterate the message.
Hockey is a team game. The players on the ice, and their friends on the bench, aren't the only people on the team. The coaches behind the bench and the parents in the stands all have roles and responsibilities for helping the team succeed. For parents, their role is to reinforce the messages and lessons taught by coaches while fostering a love for sport in their children. Please let the coaches coach and the players play.
Sit back. Cheer. Enjoy the season. Enjoy the ride.
USA Hockey has zero tolerance for misconduct and abuse. Read more about USA Hockey’s SafeSport Program, which explains the systems in place to ensure your child’s safety on and off the ice.
CVSA has created the following locker room policies in order to create and maintain a safe, clean and enjoyable environment for all CVSA members and participants at events, including games and practices. Therefore, we ask that the club members read and follow the following locker room policies.
Supervision in Locker Room
It is the policy of CVSA to have at least one responsible adult present directly monitoring the locker room during all team events to assure that only participants, (coaches and players) and family members are permitted in the locker room and to supervise the conduct in the locker room. Any individual meetings with a CVSA participant and a coach, parent coordinator (or someone other than the parent) in a locker room shall require another responsible adult be with the coach/parent coordinator/parent monitor at all times. Further, responsible adults must personally monitor the locker room environment at all times while participants are present.
Rough-housing, Cell Phone and Video Game Use in Locker Room
While many players and parents bring cell phones to hockey practices and games, CVSA will not allow cell phone use for calls or photos in the locker room. The use of cell phones can be distracting for players and interfere with coaching and player conversations. In addition, the opportunity for inappropriate locker room photos exists, and may cause harm to those that were not prepared for photos to be taken and/or shared. The supervising parent or coach will ask that cell phones be kept out of the locker room or concealed where they are not used or heard.
CVSA requests that video games are not used in the locker room at practices and games. Please keep these games in the snack area, viewing area or in the car.
CVSA is concerned with the safety and well-being of its participants and therefore our policy is that no rough housing or verbal abuse by players, coaches or parents may occur in the locker room (or other locations in the rink). Those that participate in this behavior will be warned and then asked to leave the rink.
Food and Drink in the Locker Room
At times players, coaches and their families will have food or drink in the locker room prior or post games and practices. CVSA would like to continue a positive relationship with the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center, and encourages respect for all rink property. Therefore CVSA asks that members be sure to leave their locker room area clean and bring all food and waste out of the locker room when they leave. This is also a case where the locker supervisor can play a role and help monitor.
The implementation of these above stated policies require and deserve the assistance of all players, coaches, parents and volunteers. Thank you for supporting the safety and well-being of all players and their families.