Tips for Parents of Athletes (or Anyone, Really)

Today I wanted to share some insight from one of the best strength coaches in America.

Mike Boyle of has consistently developed elite athletes in all sports for decades.

He shared this list through his newsletter recently.

Mike Boyle

While his approach to training is adaptable to all sports, he has first hand experience with numerous championship hockey squads at the collegiate and professional level. (He’s helped train other championship teams in various sports, but hockey is big in the Boston area)

So these are not my words, but they offer great wisdom when dealing with youth athletes.

See where they fit into your role as a parent and/or coach, and help foster a positive athletic experience for your son or daughter.

24 Tips for Raising Young Hockey Players
By USA Hockey

Editor’s Note: The following was adapted from a list created by David Lynch, trainer for 8- and 9-year-old soccer players at Stockholm soccer club AIK.

Here are 24 tips for parents raising young hockey players:

1- The kids pack and prepare their own hockey bag.
2- Always be on time for practice.
3- Make them put their dirty training undergarments in the wash.
4- Tell them to give 100 percent at practice and games.
5- The kids carry their own hockey bag in and out of the ice rink. That’s carry, not wheel.
6- Teach them how to tighten their own skates.
7- Play hockey with them, where they want and when they want to.
8- Make them wear their equipment until it’s been outgrown, then buy new equipment.
9- Buy them new skates when they need them, not when they want them.
10-Buy second-hand skates and save yourself a fortune.
11-Teach them not to hate other teams.
12-Win or lose, remind them to love the game, and the game will love them back.
13-They will respect teammates, the opposition, the refs, the other team’s coaches. If you don’t teach them this, the coach will have to do it.
14-Let them dream they can be a Patrick Kane, but don’t give them any expectations.
15-Blaming teammates, blaming the ref, blaming anything is out. This goes for the players and parents. Set a good example.
16-Let them play hockey at home with a tennis ball.
17-Take them to hockey games and let them watch the pros.
18-Tell them hockey is for fun. Practice is for fun. If it isn’t fun for them, talk to the coach/club or move to another club.
19-Encourage them to watch hockey training videos on YouTube and let them try and perfect some of the moves.
20-Encourage them, support them, but never ever shout out instructions from the bleachers.
21-Don’t car-coach after practices or games. It sucks the fun out of the game. They know if they played well or poorly.
22-Encourage them to play other sports.
23-Don’t try to “train” your kid. Take them out, ask what they want to do and let them do it.
24-Tell your kids that you love watching them play.


Mike Boyle

Pretty “common sense” stuff that isn’t so common these days.  And that’s too bad.

Sports should be a great experience in the developing youth’s life.


Remember the small percentage of athletes who make a career from sport.

Let’s develop some great people through the experiences of sport, and strive to keep a proper perspective.

Live. Love. Lift.


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