So your child just finished his game and you have a lot to tell him about his performance. There are a few things you want to ensure when you speak to your child about game performance. No matter how you approach this situation your feedback to your child has the most influence of anyone. What you say matters, even when you think they don’t care or even listen – they’re listening.
You know your kid best, so think about how he reacts to your words before rushing into the post-game discussion. Here is some advice to consider:
- Be consistent about when you have the discussion (e.g. driving home, at home during the post-game snack, next morning etc.).
- Be consistent in your approach. Ask how they felt about the game and listen to it – it sets the stage for your feedback, and they may say something that surprises you.
- Always identify a few positives.
- The last part focuses on your recommended improvements and corrections for next time.
When you get to the critical part of the discussion pick no more than 3 things you want your kid to work on. Be clear whether you are discussing a concept or a skill. Examples of concepts are work ethic, on-ice awareness and decision making, and positional play. Examples of skills are aspects of skating, passing, shooting etc.
Use the same approach whether your kid played poorly or great. Discussions after a great game are opportunities to understand from your kid’s perspective why they played so well. He felt good after eating something, or maybe his skates were sharper than usual. Ask him what went through his mind during a certain play. There are cues and patterns that you can pick up for preparation and positive reminders for the next game.