You know how every soccer Mom & Dad you see is great with their kid and knows how to develop them in the best possible way?
Yeah me neither…
I mean yeah, some are great. But let’s be honest and call a spade a spade, a lot of parents simply aren’t that great of a “soccer influence” on their kids. And this isn’t even to mention how certain types of “soccer parenting” can influence so many other areas of life beyond just soccer.
So without further ado-do, below are 3 different ways that certain parents are screwing the pooch.
Avoid these mistakeroos like the plague itself.
Ok here we go:
What You as a Soccer Mom / Dad Say After Games
Here’s what happens.
Little Johnny plays a game and doesn’t do too hot. The parent faces a dilemma: “should I lie and tell them they played good?”
What’s a potential problem with this take?
Well for one, the kid obviously might see through the lie and thus not believe you at all. Secondly, they may not believe you in the future when you actually mean it.
And finally, you’re not really helping them at all if you say they played good when they really didn’t and they don’t believe you.
Tough scenario right?
Try this gem on and see how it fits: “I love to watch you play.” Apparently… this is backed up by research. Seems to make sense to me. Takes the pressure off, and is an honest (hopefully) assessment. IF you don’t enjoy watching your kid play there’s other issues at stake but I digress…
The best part about this phrase? You can say this with honesty (once again hopefully) after good or bad games…
Geez if that doesn’t take the pressure off am I right???
Doing Everything For Them
This is an easy one.
You see it all the time in our culture. Little Billy (little Johnny’s gone) gets dropped off, gets picked up, has his water bottle and Gatorade prepped for him, has his food packed, is reminded of practice, and is told how to do everything. Life on a silver platter…
On top of all that, once he’s at the club/field/facility etc, he’s told exactly how to do everything by his coaches.
How are we supposed to develop any form of self-reliance and game intelligence with this take on things?
I call this the “Ipad solution.”
…Ask me why.
Here’s why – you’re at the park and little Danny starts getting restless while his older brother plays soccer (little Danny is just along for the ride). So little Danny starts complaining. Eventually his parents can’t handle it anymore so they just give him the Ipad cause they know this will shut him up. Little Danny is finally content playing on the Ipad and doesn’t bother anyone anymore.
Problem now is that Danny starts developing this reliance on the Ipad to entertain himself. He does NOT learn how to entertain himself on his own with his own devices or imagination. And this happens in soccer all the time.
And parents often fall prey to this. They fail to see that a huge part of soccer development is letting kids figure out some stuff for themselves. Both on the field and off of it.
Sometimes we shouldn’t tell kids how to do everything every single step of the way when training.
Sometimes I should let little Benny (couldn’t think of a better one) talk to the coach instead of doing it for him.
Sometimes I should let little Manny figure out his own gear to bring to the game instead of literally thinking for him and handing everything on a platter to him.
Anyhoo, you get the point. Enough of the ramble,
Onto the next!
Making The Game An Idol
Yep, believe it or not this often starts with the parent. When it comes to soccer parents, nobody is a bigger (worse?) influence on their kids in terms of making the sport an idol.
And this is a bad thing in case you were wondering.
Well besides the fact that it’s unhealthy in the grand scheme of things, it’s also bad for soccer development (note; some fanatics may disagree).
What is making the game an idol?
It basically means that soccer (or sport) becomes everything for you (or your kid).
You play a bad game and you think you’re a worse person because of it. And no, don’t laugh this is legit stuff. You may think: “I’m more self-aware than that, I don’t think less of myself.” But often, sub-consciously we do without realizing it. And heck, often we do even when we are realizing it. Sport can become an all-encompassing thing for us.
Little Billy (he’s back) play’s a bad game and he starts thinking that his parents think less of him. Or his friends do. This is called: “placing your value in your sport.”
And soccer parents simply have to be careful NOT to make sport so dang important. Sure, you can be intense, and improve and get better, and work hard and teach kids to dream and learn the value of self-improvement yada yada…
However, at the same time you need to keep perspective and show them that there’s definitely more to life.
And, you need to get them not to have soccer be their #1 idol where they only think they are “good” if they perform well.
You see, for me personally I place my value in my personal faith with God and therefore I don’t get my value in my performance on the field (good or bad). This wasn’t always the case but I definitely have had to work on it. For you it may be something different but don’t let their entire value be in their sport.
Obviously nobody is perfect. And literally every soccer parent makes mistakes in one way or another. The key is to keep on improving just as if you were a player or a coach. Problem is parents often don’t realize how big of an impact they have. I mean really, who has a bigger impact on their kids’ development than the parents?
Some coach who has them for one year? Some random team-mate? No, a parent has the biggest influence. Or at least can have the biggest and should.
Never stop learning and improving. Don’t just assume that since you see some people doing it one way that that’s how you should do it.
Avoid the mistakes above that most soccer parents make.
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