Wednesday, November 16, 2016

With a Little Help From My Kids

On the sports front, this is kind of a cool development - my kids are actually helping me with my golf and hockey game. Don't ask me why, but I find this to be a very cool thing. The reality is they are superior hockey players than I'll every be, so why not tap that wealth of talent and experience for my own nascent game? It's funny if not ironic that after helping coach them for several years, the tides have turned and I'm looking to them for guidance. When I say coaching it comes with a huge grain of salt because let's face it, I'm not a hockey player, I just play one on TV.

I've helped over the years and have not hidden the fact that I'm in way over my head, but coaches who know what their doing appreciate a helping hand in practical matters during practice and games, i.e. gathering pucks and opening doors. The reality is, I've never really had to practice what I've preached. You can learn about skills and strategy by reading books and watching videos, and for the most part this works. Also, I've played sports my entire life, and certain qualities carry over from sport to sport, so I'm not completely clueless.

When I get on the ice, however, there is no question that I can't keep up with these guys. Plus, they're learning about strategy, positioning, and game skills. Again, I can learn about these things, but it's a whole different ball of wax actually putting them into practice. I noticed this the first time I played, I didn't do any of the things I preach, I just panicked every time I got the puck. It's just not that easy, and I will say this - every parent who has expectations or puts pressure on their kids should lace up a pair of skates and try it themselves. It's an incredibly humbling experience.

Anyway, I went through my first season being fairly impotent on the ice (thankfully just the ice), though being able to skate does have some merits. I didn't play the following two years but I was on the ice during this time helping out with my kids. I can't help but think years of being a coaching assistant have some benefits. At the very least I was skating this whole time, and I'm definitely more thoughtful, aware, and patient on the ice. These qualities mean that I am ready to take it to the next level and start embracing some of the stuff I'm teaching, bearing in mind that the next level is just one step up from ground zero.

The help I'm getting from my kids deals mostly with positioning in the offensive and defensive zones, i.e. stuff that requires thinking. I generally have no clue what I'm doing and just skate around and try to get the puck. This has come back to haunt me when I play with guys who are in the know and are serious about the game; they give me constant grief about not knowing what to do. This year, with a little help from my kids, I'm trying to play my position and be where I'm supposed to be. In the league that I play in, there are guys who are a lot more clueless and a lot less skilled than me, but that is not to say that I can't improve myself as a player irregardless of the people around me. Plus, when you know what you're doing the game is more fun. This is true for just about everything in life.

It's worth mentioning that the kids are happy to give me stingingly candid feedback about my skill level and performance, so there's no sugar coating my lack of abilities. Oh well, the only thing to do is go out and improve my game.

One last note - I took some advice from N about my golf swing and it paid huge dividends. I won't get into it right now but just a simple adjustment has made all the difference.

I love when that happens. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Eli Sagor for the pic.

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