If you’re a parent of a kid who plays soccer, you know that those many hours on the sidelines aren’t just spent cheering on the team. You’re packing bags, arranging water and snacks, driving, watching practice, running to find something misplaced or forgotten. It is definitely more active than just being a spectator!
There is a definite payoff to those hours invested. Kids learn so much about teamwork, hard work and following rules. Parents learn about how their kid moves, thinks and reacts. And what’s more, soccer season can be a great way for you to bond with your kid over this new skill they are developing.
Here are some things that can get you started creating soccer-centric family memories:
Make a secret drill – Coaches use a sequence of skill movements to reinforce specific moves. Repetition of these moves helps them become automatic. With the direction of your child, come up with a secret drill that only the two of you know. Make it a series of actions that can be done with just a soccer ball so you can complete your secret drill at the field or in the backyard. Always start your soccer practice together in this way. You are a super-secret club of two that has this information! Name it something silly and even add a secret signal to begin it.
Be the student – Have your child teach you to play in your backyard or the park. With small children, you can act like you don’t have a clue and watch the fun ensue as they get playfully exasperated with your ignorance. Older kids can instruct you in special skills or strategy. Follow their directions exactly! This helps them realize how to explain things in a way others can follow and will be extra fun for you.
Put the phone down – Put your phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode for their games or your family practice time. Set aside everything else and really concentrate on the amazing soccer player that you created! Celebrate their participation. Rejoice in their success. Support their efforts. It is easy to get distracted while they are growing up before your eyes!
Soccer is about having fun. But don’t forget to stay prepared!