If you have spent any time around the soccer fields at all, you’ve probably noticed the variety of personalities that exist within the parents of the players. You’ve seen everything from parents who drop off their kids and leave, to parents who watch and quietly comment, to parents who live every second through their kids. Regardless of your personality, as a soccer parent you must understand one very important fact – you can, through your words and actions, enhance your child’s soccer experience, OR can ruin the experience for the entire team. The choice is yours.
Understand Your Role As a Soccer Parent The best way for you to understand your role is to first understand what your role is not.
You are NOT the coach. Don’t instruct your child, or any other players, during practices or games. What you are saying, no matter how logical it may sound, may be wrong or inappropriate, or it may contradict the coach and create an internal conflict for your child. Let the coach do the coaching.
You are NOT the referee. Let the referee call the game, and learn from what you see. Parents who yell at the referee distract and annoy the players. Worse, it can create a feeling in the players that they are not being treated fairly. They will then use that as an excuse for a bad game rather than looking to areas where they can improve their play.
You are NOT the player. Don’t live vicariously through your child. If you do you will be greatly disappointed, because your child will never play as good as you imagine yourself to be. Let your child enjoy being the best player he can be, and let yourself enjoy just watching him play.
What IS your role? You are the spectator, cheerleader and proud parent. Watch the game and enjoy it. Don’t give instructions to the players while they are on the field as this only confuses them. Soccer is a game that develops according to the situations on the field. If you or a coach continually yell instructions, then the only thing your child will learn is to wait for instructions and do what she is told. For your child to grow into a good soccer player she must develop the ability to recognize situations and make decisions on the field. Let her do this and let the game reward her for making the right decisions. Ex. Your daughter has the ball in front of the opposing team’s goal. Should you yell shoot? No. If she shoots and scores she will be rewarded for her actions and if she doesn’t shoot and has the ball taken away she will learn that next time she should shoot. If you follow this outline, you will greatly improve your child’s soccer growth as well as your family’s overall enjoyment of the soccer experience. You will also make yourself a favourite parent among soccer coaches. This can often be a deciding factor if your child makes a select team. Often kids who are very good soccer players, are not selected for a team because the coach does not want to put up with the child’s obnoxious parent
Whether you go with a paper and pencil or a dry erase board and marker, get a calendar big enough to handle the entire family’s events. Place it in a central location so everyone can see it. We can’t promise the kids will look at it before asking for the hundredth time what’s going on this weekend, but it’s worth a shot!
With games on the weekends and practices during the week, it’s a huge time commitment to be a sports coach. Even if you’re a very busy sports parent, it’s important to take a minute to say thank you to the coach at the end of the season. Regardless of your budget, there are dozens of ways to do it.