Between the ears

Discussion of Minnesota Youth Hockey

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JSR
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Between the ears

Post by JSR » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:06 pm

Hey guys, wondering if anyone has any advice. I coach and I coach at a high level of soccer and am very good at it but hockey wise I played high school hockey but I consider myself pretty low level in my coaching abilities in hockey but I like to help where I can..... I have a player, he's a bantam he's a really excellent skater, above average hands, great attitude and his effort is top notch on the ice but he's 13 years old and he is having a real hard time with the mental aspect of the game. Where he is supposed to be, when he's supposed to be there, he's just thinking way too much which is slowing him down and causing mistakes and turnovers on the ice and it's just not coming naturally o him. If you show him to do something on the ice he'll do it, he'll do it exactly and almost perfectly but also somewhat robotically like there is no creativity or critical thinking going on. If you see him in drills, or 3on3 games etc... you'd think he was one of the best players on the ice but in 5on5 full ice games at high levels he disappears or is sometimes even a liability because he just doesn't seem to get what he's supposed to be doing.... Is there anything that can be done to help him? I want to help him because his attitude is amazing and you can see how badly he wants to get better and his folks say he loves the game and works tirelessly at home stick handling and shooting and skating etc...... He doesn't have alot of high level coaches in his area that he can go to for help away from practice so his parents want to try their best to help him however they can. Anyone got any suggestions on what he could do to get better "between the ears" so to speak or do you just hope with time and puberty that maybe the light will come on someday and there is nothing that can be done? Thanks

SECoach
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Post by SECoach » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:32 pm

If he were younger, the answer would be small area games, small area games, small area games, with little to no instruction while being played.

At 13 the answer is small area games, small area games, small area games, with little to no instruction while being played. Instruction in the form of leading questions is effective after a shift, but not during.

In addition to that I would recommend watching as much hockey as possible, again, with as little instruction as possible, playing PlayStation NHL, and open hockey or skating at the local rink. As much unstructured play as possible.

Thinking the game and much of the decision making is learned and not taught. The game teaches the game. Beware of anyone that tells you that a whiteboard and a coach talking him through it will be very effective. Good luck!

JSR
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:26 pm

Post by JSR » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:56 pm

SECoach wrote:If he were younger, the answer would be small area games, small area games, small area games, with little to no instruction while being played.

At 13 the answer is small area games, small area games, small area games, with little to no instruction while being played. Instruction in the form of leading questions is effective after a shift, but not during.

In addition to that I would recommend watching as much hockey as possible, again, with as little instruction as possible, playing PlayStation NHL, and open hockey or skating at the local rink. As much unstructured play as possible.

Thinking the game and much of the decision making is learned and not taught. The game teaches the game. Beware of anyone that tells you that a whiteboard and a coach talking him through it will be very effective. Good luck!
Will video work do any good. Would taping his games and showing him where we think he should be versus where he is in certain situations do any good?

Redarmy19
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Post by Redarmy19 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:30 pm

This is going to sound insane but I swear by it. SECoach was right with his suggestion on XBOX or PS3 NHL hockey, particularly EA NHL 2009-2013. In this game, you can play Be A Pro in which you play as a player in one position the entire time and it has an arrow that comes on the screen telling you where you should be if you're out of position. The further out of position you are, the longer the arrow is. It is a great learning tool for younger players and they have fun while learning positioning.

MNM JMH
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Post by MNM JMH » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:28 pm

JSR.

It's simple, they need to move to MN. Wisconsin has always had a tuff time creating a "player". :idea:

SECoach
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Post by SECoach » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:49 pm

JSR wrote:
SECoach wrote:If he were younger, the answer would be small area games, small area games, small area games, with little to no instruction while being played.

At 13 the answer is small area games, small area games, small area games, with little to no instruction while being played. Instruction in the form of leading questions is effective after a shift, but not during.

In addition to that I would recommend watching as much hockey as possible, again, with as little instruction as possible, playing PlayStation NHL, and open hockey or skating at the local rink. As much unstructured play as possible.

Thinking the game and much of the decision making is learned and not taught. The game teaches the game. Beware of anyone that tells you that a whiteboard and a coach talking him through it will be very effective. Good luck!
Will video work do any good. Would taping his games and showing him where we think he should be versus where he is in certain situations do any good?
In my opinion, not much. Hockey sense needs to be absorbed, and not taught. Watching his game video would likely help, but being instructed on where to go and what to do while he watches it with you probably will not. That would probably do more to create a player that stands on the ice trying to figure out what to do (exaggerated) while the play happens quickly around him. He needs to develop his own sense for the game, not your sense for the game. He needs to see and feel options he and other players may have had, and not have them pointed out to him. This can actually hinder his development since it keeps him from getting the feel of it, Game sense comes from doing, and the mind learning from the results. Watching game video with instruction can help him understand concepts, but won't help him react quickly and without thought, which is what hockey requires. Playing PS lets them make decisions and develop the ability to act quickly and without thought, but it doesn't mean it will transfer to the ice. Doesn't hurt though. Pond hockey has moved to the couch I guess.

goaliewithfoggedglasses
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Post by goaliewithfoggedglasses » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:24 pm

I'm curious if anyone has ever tried the intelligym software that USA Hockey is always pimping in their emails? It claims to address these kinds of issues and help to develop hockey sense. I guess I'm more inclined to think you could get the same benefit from the video games mentioned above but then again I've never seen it.

http://www.usahockeyintelligym.com/

JSR
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Post by JSR » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:31 pm

Thanks, appreciate the insights, we'll see what he's able and willing to do and see if any of them work :)

OM
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Post by OM » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:42 am

My son (Bantam B1 – A level) has used the hockey intelligym software for about two years. It’s hard to really quantify the results, but I do think it is helping him. I know for sure that two years ago I used to talk to him often about needing to have more poise with the puck; I rarely, mention that now. Also, he used to have decent ‘ice vision’ but now seems to have excellent ice vision. So is this intelligym, or two years of growth, maturity, and experience? Likely it’s some of both.

Just a thought, perhaps you could present his responsibilities not as tasks or positions, but as roles in the system (if you’re not already doing so). For example, if your D system uses 3 layers of defense, and he is the center, instead of telling him that “the center plays here,” you could tell him that “the center is the second line of defense, so if the opponent gets away from the D at the boards, you do whatever it takes to keep him from getting to the house / crease.”

I know this seems like semantics, but different brains work differently. Also I know this worked with my son. He is a center and often was more worried about ‘doing his job’ & ‘protecting his area’ instead of performing his role in the system. When I pointed that out to him, he made big improvements in that area. I think when he saw the role instead of the position it gave him the freedom / confidence to be more spontaneous; moving out of ‘his area’ to do what needed doing… to accomplish his role.

BadgerBob82
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Post by BadgerBob82 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:05 am

Interesting conversation that basically boils down to parents coaching their kids away from the rink? I'm sure their coaches appreciate the extra help.

SCBlueLiner
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Post by SCBlueLiner » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:44 am

I look at it that some kids are gifted with hockey sense while others simply are not, just like the ability to skate, shoot, or pass. Sure, they can be coached to "fit" into a role but some kids are just gifted with creativity.

My son is not very creative, not off the ice and not so much on the ice. Oh, he'll play his position and he'll move to open areas, he'll provide puck support and he'll move to open passing lanes, but I wouldn't call him a truly creative player. Probably one of the reasons he likes to play defense as offensive players need to possess more creativity in their game.

There are a couple kids I coach who are creative. I sometimes wonder "What's he doing?...oh my goodness...wow what a great play!" Then I have other players who have all the God given tools but are lost out there and end up just standing around. Put them in a drill they look great, put them in a SAG or game and, well, they become paralyzed. You can tell them what to do but until they figure it out on their own it just isn't going to happen.

JSR
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Post by JSR » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:57 am

SCBlueLiner wrote:I look at it that some kids are gifted with hockey sense while others simply are not, just like the ability to skate, shoot, or pass. Sure, they can be coached to "fit" into a role but some kids are just gifted with creativity.

My son is not very creative, not off the ice and not so much on the ice. Oh, he'll play his position and he'll move to open areas, he'll provide puck support and he'll move to open passing lanes, but I wouldn't call him a truly creative player. Probably one of the reasons he likes to play defense as offensive players need to possess more creativity in their game.

There are a couple kids I coach who are creative. I sometimes wonder "What's he doing?...oh my goodness...wow what a great play!" Then I have other players who have all the God given tools but are lost out there and end up just standing around. Put them in a drill they look great, put them in a SAG or game and, well, they become paralyzed. You can tell them what to do but until they figure it out on their own it just isn't going to happen.
What is most peculiar about this kid is that yes he looks great in drills but he also looks great in SAG's.... it's just the full ice game where he appears to be lost, and I should add it's mostly defensively that he is lost but that is startign to effect his confidence on offense as well....

JSR
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Post by JSR » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:00 am

OM wrote:My son (Bantam B1 – A level) has used the hockey intelligym software for about two years. It’s hard to really quantify the results, but I do think it is helping him. I know for sure that two years ago I used to talk to him often about needing to have more poise with the puck; I rarely, mention that now. Also, he used to have decent ‘ice vision’ but now seems to have excellent ice vision. So is this intelligym, or two years of growth, maturity, and experience? Likely it’s some of both.

Just a thought, perhaps you could present his responsibilities not as tasks or positions, but as roles in the system (if you’re not already doing so). For example, if your D system uses 3 layers of defense, and he is the center, instead of telling him that “the center plays here,” you could tell him that “the center is the second line of defense, so if the opponent gets away from the D at the boards, you do whatever it takes to keep him from getting to the house / crease.”

I know this seems like semantics, but different brains work differently. Also I know this worked with my son. He is a center and often was more worried about ‘doing his job’ & ‘protecting his area’ instead of performing his role in the system. When I pointed that out to him, he made big improvements in that area. I think when he saw the role instead of the position it gave him the freedom / confidence to be more spontaneous; moving out of ‘his area’ to do what needed doing… to accomplish his role.
I like your suggestions :idea:

SCBlueLiner
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Post by SCBlueLiner » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:22 am

JSR wrote:
SCBlueLiner wrote:I look at it that some kids are gifted with hockey sense while others simply are not, just like the ability to skate, shoot, or pass. Sure, they can be coached to "fit" into a role but some kids are just gifted with creativity.

My son is not very creative, not off the ice and not so much on the ice. Oh, he'll play his position and he'll move to open areas, he'll provide puck support and he'll move to open passing lanes, but I wouldn't call him a truly creative player. Probably one of the reasons he likes to play defense as offensive players need to possess more creativity in their game.

There are a couple kids I coach who are creative. I sometimes wonder "What's he doing?...oh my goodness...wow what a great play!" Then I have other players who have all the God given tools but are lost out there and end up just standing around. Put them in a drill they look great, put them in a SAG or game and, well, they become paralyzed. You can tell them what to do but until they figure it out on their own it just isn't going to happen.
What is most peculiar about this kid is that yes he looks great in drills but he also looks great in SAG's.... it's just the full ice game where he appears to be lost, and I should add it's mostly defensively that he is lost but that is startign to effect his confidence on offense as well....
What position does he play and what he is he specifically not doing defensively? Often playing defense is just plain hard work, especially for a center.

JSR
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Post by JSR » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:41 am

SCBlueLiner wrote:
JSR wrote:
SCBlueLiner wrote:I look at it that some kids are gifted with hockey sense while others simply are not, just like the ability to skate, shoot, or pass. Sure, they can be coached to "fit" into a role but some kids are just gifted with creativity.

My son is not very creative, not off the ice and not so much on the ice. Oh, he'll play his position and he'll move to open areas, he'll provide puck support and he'll move to open passing lanes, but I wouldn't call him a truly creative player. Probably one of the reasons he likes to play defense as offensive players need to possess more creativity in their game.

There are a couple kids I coach who are creative. I sometimes wonder "What's he doing?...oh my goodness...wow what a great play!" Then I have other players who have all the God given tools but are lost out there and end up just standing around. Put them in a drill they look great, put them in a SAG or game and, well, they become paralyzed. You can tell them what to do but until they figure it out on their own it just isn't going to happen.
What is most peculiar about this kid is that yes he looks great in drills but he also looks great in SAG's.... it's just the full ice game where he appears to be lost, and I should add it's mostly defensively that he is lost but that is startign to effect his confidence on offense as well....
What position does he play and what he is he specifically not doing defensively? Often playing defense is just plain hard work, especially for a center.
He's a right wing.... specifically he is out of position defensively most of the time, he's out of the play on the far side of the ice defending no one (not due to effort but due to literally not understanding who or where to defend... paralysis by analysis), or when the puck in on the other side he is way to high and not able to help defend the back door seam pass when the defenseman is clearing out the slot, he is a hard worker as he is one of our best forecheckers and he hustles on the back check but while he plays hard alot of his energy is wasted energy because it's not "smart".... the other areas he struggles in is being out of position for when the defense wings it around the boards, he's not there to pick the puck up and break it out, he's not reading that play at all....

SCBlueLiner
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Post by SCBlueLiner » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:03 pm

Honestly, it sounds to me like he is getting caught standing around and watching when the play is away from him. It's easy to get engaged when the puck is on your stick or you are battling the player with the puck. It is more difficult to stay engaged when you're on the weak side and that player can tend to get lost in space and sort of float out of position.

I don't know how you can fix it other than to continue to remind the player to be aware of his surroundings. At some point it is up to the player to keep his head in the game.

OM
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Post by OM » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:37 pm

JSR wrote:He's a right wing.... specifically he is out of position defensively most of the time, he's out of the play on the far side of the ice defending no one (not due to effort but due to literally not understanding who or where to defend... paralysis by analysis)
I think that, not understanding who or where to defend is a very different problem from suffering paralysis by analysis.

Are you confident he fully understands his role and where he should be in some common circumstances? Perhaps, on a few pieces of paper, you could quickly draw up 5 (X – 0) D zone scenarios without including the right wing (For example puck in either corner low, puck at either point and puck in the house). Then you could give him a pen and ask him to mark where he should be.
  • If he does not mark the correct locations, then some more detailed instruction may be needed, or maybe try to find a different way to communicate the information.

    If he does mark the right spots or areas, then you know that he knows what he’s supposed to be doing. However don’t’ stop there… ask him the next question; “is that what you are doing?”
    • If he answers Yes, (he honestly thinks he is playing where he is supposed to play), then maybe video tape a few games and review them with him; pointing out the differences between where he thinks he is playing, and where he really needs to be… essentially recalibrating his mental map of the zone.

      If he answers No, then try to find out why he is choosing to not do what he knows he should do. Some reasons might be:
      • I can’t pick one course of action over the other (paralysis by analysis)
        I’m afraid of making a mistake (another form or paralysis by analysis)
        Not engaged and/or an ‘I’m an offensive player, not a defender” attitude
        I don’t’ like getting hit or I don’t like blocking shots
        I want to stay in position to get breakaways
        Etc., etc.
        • The bottom line is that everyone does stuff for a reason (they don’t know better, or are seek their own version of pleasure or are avoiding their own version of pain), so if you can figure out the driving force behind the behavior, you’ll have a better chance to change it.

    JSR
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    Post by JSR » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:23 pm

    OM wrote:
    JSR wrote:He's a right wing.... specifically he is out of position defensively most of the time, he's out of the play on the far side of the ice defending no one (not due to effort but due to literally not understanding who or where to defend... paralysis by analysis)
    I think that, not understanding who or where to defend is a very different problem from suffering paralysis by analysis.

    Are you confident he fully understands his role and where he should be in some common circumstances? Perhaps, on a few pieces of paper, you could quickly draw up 5 (X – 0) D zone scenarios without including the right wing (For example puck in either corner low, puck at either point and puck in the house). Then you could give him a pen and ask him to mark where he should be.
    • If he does not mark the correct locations, then some more detailed instruction may be needed, or maybe try to find a different way to communicate the information.

      If he does mark the right spots or areas, then you know that he knows what he’s supposed to be doing. However don’t’ stop there… ask him the next question; “is that what you are doing?”
      • If he answers Yes, (he honestly thinks he is playing where he is supposed to play), then maybe video tape a few games and review them with him; pointing out the differences between where he thinks he is playing, and where he really needs to be… essentially recalibrating his mental map of the zone.

        If he answers No, then try to find out why he is choosing to not do what he knows he should do. Some reasons might be:
        • I can’t pick one course of action over the other (paralysis by analysis)
          I’m afraid of making a mistake (another form or paralysis by analysis)
          Not engaged and/or an ‘I’m an offensive player, not a defender” attitude
          I don’t’ like getting hit or I don’t like blocking shots
          I want to stay in position to get breakaways
          Etc., etc.
          • The bottom line is that everyone does stuff for a reason (they don’t know better, or are seek their own version of pleasure or are avoiding their own version of pain), so if you can figure out the driving force behind the behavior, you’ll have a better chance to change it.
      Excellent way of breaking that down. Thanks

      Mnhockeys
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      Post by Mnhockeys » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:37 pm

      Put him on the center position ...

      Have seen multiple examples through the years, a player does ok in center position and completely lost playing wings.

      BadgerBob82
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      Post by BadgerBob82 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:12 am

      Still completely fascinated reading the "How to coach your kid". Let the coaches coach! If your kid doesn't know what to do, ask the coach!

      JSR
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      Post by JSR » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:10 am

      BadgerBob82 wrote:Still completely fascinated reading the "How to coach your kid". Let the coaches coach! If your kid doesn't know what to do, ask the coach!

      Ummm, badgerbaob, apparently you did not read the original post... I, unfortunately, am the coach and these kind folks are offering me suggestions. I actually did not want to coach but we are in a small community and anyone with "any" experience at all sometimes is needed to help our association. So, in this situation they are asking the coach and the coach is needing ideas. This is not the only place I am looking for ideas, I am working with some good coaches and high school coaches I know as well but I thought this forum would be another good resource... so do you have anything to contribute on the subject??

      OM
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      Post by OM » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:28 pm

      Still completely fascinated at the concept that all coaches should be considered the all knowing lords of the rink. Many coaches kindly volunteer their time, and it is appreciated, but likewise, for many the extent of their training is one or two USHA coaching classes per year. I don’t mean that as a knock, I’m sure they know the game well, and the basics of how to coach/teach it, but most are also not learning style specialists, and/or are not trained in sports psychology methods, etc.

      I can understand that a parent who contradicts what the coach has said is doing his child, and the team, no favors; he’s undermining the coach, and being disrespectful. He’s also setting a poor example for his child, and likely putting him in a tough position; do I do what Dad says, or what Coach says.

      However, what exactly is the problem if a parent helps a child who is having trouble either understanding or implementing what his coach has requested? A coach sees my kid MAYBE 6-10 hours a week MAX, during which time his attention is divided among 15 – 18 kids.

      I’ve seen my kid for hours every day for 15 years. I know his strengths and weaknesses; both mental and physical. I know his learning style and his goals and aspirations. I happen to have studied and applied many sports psychology concepts in the past. So sorry, you can bet that if I see my son struggling, I will do everything I can to help him understand, and deliver, exactly what his coach is asking for. So why would a coach not appreciate the extra help; ego maybe?

      By your logic, if my son brings some math assignment home that he does not quite get, my wife (who was a math minor in college and known’s our son’s learning style) should not dare to help him; he should fail the homework assignment, and perhaps the next test, until he has an opportunity to ask the teacher (who was unsuccessful getting the concept across to him the first time).

      I guess I’ll just continue to be one of those over-the-top hockey dads that coaches hate.

      And my wife will continue to be one of those parents that teachers like (even though many teachers are learning experts, they still do appreciate the extra help).

      BadgerBob82
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      Post by BadgerBob82 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:10 pm

      Sorry JSR. Reread the original post and found my confusion. Thought you are a high level soccer coach and your player was your son. Didn't see you are the hockey coach. Sorry

      SECoach
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      Post by SECoach » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:32 pm

      OM wrote:Still completely fascinated at the concept that all coaches should be considered the all knowing lords of the rink. Many coaches kindly volunteer their time, and it is appreciated, but likewise, for many the extent of their training is one or two USHA coaching classes per year. I don’t mean that as a knock, I’m sure they know the game well, and the basics of how to coach/teach it, but most are also not learning style specialists, and/or are not trained in sports psychology methods, etc.

      I can understand that a parent who contradicts what the coach has said is doing his child, and the team, no favors; he’s undermining the coach, and being disrespectful. He’s also setting a poor example for his child, and likely putting him in a tough position; do I do what Dad says, or what Coach says.

      However, what exactly is the problem if a parent helps a child who is having trouble either understanding or implementing what his coach has requested? A coach sees my kid MAYBE 6-10 hours a week MAX, during which time his attention is divided among 15 – 18 kids.

      I’ve seen my kid for hours every day for 15 years. I know his strengths and weaknesses; both mental and physical. I know his learning style and his goals and aspirations. I happen to have studied and applied many sports psychology concepts in the past. So sorry, you can bet that if I see my son struggling, I will do everything I can to help him understand, and deliver, exactly what his coach is asking for. So why would a coach not appreciate the extra help; ego maybe?

      By your logic, if my son brings some math assignment home that he does not quite get, my wife (who was a math minor in college and known’s our son’s learning style) should not dare to help him; he should fail the homework assignment, and perhaps the next test, until he has an opportunity to ask the teacher (who was unsuccessful getting the concept across to him the first time).

      I guess I’ll just continue to be one of those over-the-top hockey dads that coaches hate.

      And my wife will continue to be one of those parents that teachers like (even though many teachers are learning experts, they still do appreciate the extra help).
      I believe the issue here is dosage. A good coach or teacher will understand that there are limits to how much any player or student can effectively take in at any given time. You can't make corn grow faster by just giving more and more fertilizer and water. There are limits to what good it can do, and will actually cause damage if the dosage is too high.

      It is very difficult for a parent to accurately contribute to the dosage in proper amounts. I'm not saying it can't be done, but much sampling must be done to determine if an overdose is approaching. My opinion is parents should use extreme caution in administering an unregulated dose. This applies to hockey or schoolwork. My guess is that a student needing help in math or another subject, generally asks their parent for help when they feel they need and want it. Maybe the same should be applied to sports. When they ask for help, feel free to give it. Just don't take it as a request to constantly dump more and more medication down their throats.

      JSR...... provide the needed and requested information, and be patient while it does it's job.

      InigoMontoya
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      Post by InigoMontoya » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:03 am

      It is very difficult for a parent to accurately contribute to the dosage in proper amounts.
      Doesn't sound like a very good parent. I don't think the freshman math teacher, that has 150 kids throughout the day, knows more about the dosage requirements of a kid than a parent does - anymore than an insurance agent that sees a kid for 5 or 6 hours a week. I'm not an advocate for helicopter parenting, but I think as a country we're already doing a pretty good job of putting our kids on the bus and expecting them to be turned into college ready high school graduates, and dropping our kids off at the rink or the field and expecting them to be turned into college ready athletes. I get that you're a coach, and have probably had a bad experience or two with parents that have no idea what they're doing, but a general statement to that effect is unfair. Let parents parent.

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