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10U Q-and-A: Relieving Anxiety

03/16/2016, 1:30pm MDT
By Guy "Goose" Gosselin, ADM Regional Manager

Q: My 10-year-old is anxious about making the A-team next year.
Is there anything we can do as parents to alleviate this?

A: Absolutely! Regardless of how big or small, praise your player for work ethic, sportsmanship and some of the highlights they demonstrated this past season. Praise their mental and physical skill development – how far they’ve come – rather than their statistics. Help them cultivate a growth mindset. Let them know that you're proud of them no matter what team they play on; that you love them unconditionally.
It's probably also a good idea to put the hockey bag away for a while, stay active, continue a sporty lifestyle and participate in complimentary sports. Doing this usually alleviates hockey anxiety and helps re-kindle the passion and desire your player has for the game. It also helps them become more well-rounded intellectually, emotionally and physically, not to mention broadening their social circle of peers and adults.
When it comes to alleviating anxiety, one important key is to avoid being overly critical. That will only add to the anxiety. Keep things positive in casual conversations around the house or in the car. Also, be realistic in helping your player create goals for himself or herself. Lastly, always be available when they need support.

Remember, the true value is in the journey itself and the life skills learned while participating in youth sports.

The author, Guy "Goose" Gosselin, made his NHL debut with Winnipeg in 1988. He is a two-time United States Olympian and was inducted into the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

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