An Open Letter from a friend of Mine

I think everyone agrees that coaching styles, techniques, skill, and personalities vary.
Some are good, some are bad relative to your point of view. As a goalie coach, I have the
luxury of being "within" the system, but off in my own little world of blue ice. This offers me
the opportunity to observe the interaction between coaches and parents from a unique
point of view. Here are a few of my personal observations over the years.

Skilled and knowledgeable parents are the quiet ones.

Parents who TRUELY care about their players development are always ready to help
(even if they cannot skate)

Parents who graduated from the ESPN College of Hockey are the loudest and most

Parents that do not understand the minute details of plays and systems will profess more
expertise than the coach.

50% of players goof off in practice. 100% of their parents think the coach is an idiot.

10% of the players on the team work very hard, and get rewarded with additional attention.

Every player will encounter a learning "plateau" during a season where they flat line in
development and play. Coaches understand this. A child in this phase cannot learn new
things. Its normal, it changes, and learning continues. It happens to everyone. Some
parents unfortunately, do not understand this.

7 of 10 players lack the discipline to be quiet and listen when a coach is
explaining/teaching/talking. Information is missed, development is reduced, the coach is

60% of parents believe that winning is important. 10% Believe that it is all that matters...

Only 20% of parents and 50% of coaches understand that success is measured in
IMPROVEMENT, not win/loss record, Goals, or GAA. Improvement is NOT constant, and is
more erratic with younger players.

50% of parents will yell SHOOT when their child gets the puck at the blue line and has 4
players and a goalie between him and the net. 80% of kids (under 10) will actually hear
this and waste a shot.

80% of what happens on the bench during a game cannot be seen, or heard from the
stands. Yet at least one parent will question each major decision without really knowing
why it was made.

A bench is a BUSY place, there is a lot of thinking, lots of movement, lots of quick
conversations. Mistakes happen in this environment at ALL levels of hockey. Miscues, half
heard instructions, and down right "oopses" occur. Relax, we aren't perfect either.

In the history of the NHL, no Mite, Squirt, or PeeWee has ever been offered an NHL contract.
Relax, maybe next year.

90% of coaches really care a lot about kids. The 10% that don't need to be removed.

75% of coaches that quit do so due to the constant barrage of conflicts with parents over
absurd arguments. ALL coaches consider retiring at least once during each season.

Remember.... it's just a game...

Terry Laskowsky
Assistant & Goaltending Coach
University of Michigan Club Hockey (ACHA Div II)