Being the parent of a sports-mad child is not always easy!
You want to do everything you can to support them and help them to succeed but there always seems to be another obstacle in the way. Sound familiar?
Your child feeds off your own positivity so it is important that you keep motivated in order to motivate them. So what steps can you take to ensure that you are providing them with the correct environment to thrive?
Of course, this a complex subject and everyone will have their own opinion as to what constitutes best practice in this field. But there are some measures that all parents can take to better help and support their children, and to make sure they have some great fun along the way!
#1. Believe in Your Child’s Ambition
If you child expresses a desire to become a professional sports person, it is important that their parents share and believe in their goals. This may require a lot of unconditional support on your part.
You child’s ambition should be the No. 1 source of your own motivation. Your desire to help them succeed should drive you to go above and beyond when it comes to helping them take the right steps on the right path.
Of course, there is always a need to be realistic and to help them keep their feet on the ground, but not at the expense of their own self-belief, ambition and motivation.
Speaking of motivation, here’s a great motivational video for any young soccer player:
#2. Become a Soccer Geek
There are two very good reasons why you should become a soccer geek.
Firstly, you will probably be attending lots of games and lots of practice sessions, so it pays to understand exactly what is going on. You will then be better equipped to discuss each game or coaching session with your child, and to interpret feedback from the coaching staff.
Secondly, if you start to study the game and learn the nuances of soccer, you will be sending a clear message to your child that you are taking them seriously. They will appreciate your efforts, even if you occasionally get something wrong or do not understand everything straight away.
If you learn about the rules, the different leagues and the players that your child idolises, you will soon be on your way to becoming the perfect soccer parent.
To help you learn the basic rules of soccer, here is a video to help you out:
#3. Turn Your House into a Soccer House
Soccer should not just start and end on the field of play. Make sure your home is a soccer-friendly environment. Soccer balls are a must and if you have space in your garden or backyard, set up cones and mini-goals for impromptu training sessions.
Also, make sure that soccer gets priority on the TV schedule and ensure that you get involved in the pre and post-match discussions. If there is a big game turn it into an event. Invite friends, cook some food and host your very own soccer party.
Here are a few soccer drills that can easily be practiced at home:
#4. Support a Team
If you are really going to transform yourself into the perfect soccer mom, you need to support a team. Of course, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly; once you have picked a team, you’re a stuck with them for life!
So choose carefully, whether it is your local team, a team that has family relevance, or a team that you admire from a foreign country, be prepared to nail your colours to that mast!
To give you some inspiration, here is a short guide to some of the best teams in the world:
#5. Budget Properly
Of course, sport can be fun but there is a serious side to being a soccer parent and that includes the financial commitment. Let’s be clear here, if your child is talented and joins a local team, there will significant expenses involved.
Travelling to matches, staying in hotels and purchasing high-quality equipment can soon add up over the course of a year, so it is vital that you budget wisely.
In addition, your child might want to boost their game by attending a soccer camp in the school holidays. All these things should be taken into consideration when making your financial plans.
There are plenty of online resources for creating household budgets – here is just one example:
#6. Attend Live Matches
You can improve your knowledge of the game and further motivate your child by attending live matches. Watching the pros in action can not only give you a great day out but it can also inspire your child to work that little bit harder to achieve their dream.
So, if there is a big game happening near you, make sure you and your family are there. You can even take in a game when you are on holiday. Some families even plan their holidays with a major football game or a visit to a famous stadium in mind.
Here are some of the biggest club stadiums in Europe that you might want to visit one day!
#7. Lead by Example on the Side-lines
If you have ever attended a youth soccer match, you will have probably encountered parents who spend the whole game shouting and screaming at their children, their children’s teammates, the opposition players, the coaches and the referees. They may even shout and argue with other parents. Don’t be that parent.
If you want your child to learn the values of respect, fair play and good sportsmanship, then you have to lead by example. Getting involved vocally is fine be always be respectful, positive and constructive. Passionate words of encouragement help a child much more than yells of criticism. Children need heroes, so make sure you are their No. 1.
Here is a fun video that takes a humorous look at soccer mom behaviour:
#8. Be Part of the Team
Your budding soccer star will spend much of their time as part of a team. During training and in matches they will need to learn the values of teamwork and comradeship. When they step away from the field is important that those values are maintained in the home environment.
Therefore, you should promote team ethics within your family and make sure that everyone is involved. As a soccer mom, you may also need to play the role of coach, nutritionist, physical trainer, administrator and counsellor from time to time, so good organisation is essential. And most importantly, you want to make sure that your team has lots of fun!
Here are some tips to help you create a nutrition plan for your child:
#9. Get the Right Gear
Any good soccer player needs the right equipment. So make sure your child has a good pair of soccer boots, shin guards and plenty of spare kit so that you don’t have to wash after every single practice session.
Sometimes it is worth paying a little extra to get the best quality boots that you can; after all, these are a soccer player’s most important tool and it is important that they feel totally comfortable with their footwear. And remember, your child will grow up fast so you may need to replace the boots and kit on a regular basis.
If you are buying soccer balls remember to get the right size for their age group. As a general rule, balls are sized as follows:
- Seven years old and under – size 3
- Seven to 12 years old – size 4
- 12 years old and over – size 5
Here is a handy guide for picking the best soccer shoes:
#10. Always be Prepared
Whether you are attending a training session or a soccer match, a certain amount of preparation will be required, so make sure that you have a checklist of essential items and get prepared in advance.
Typical items that you will need include:
- Home and away kit (in case there is a clash of colours with the other team)
- Socks and shin guards
- Balls for warming up (write your child’s name on the ball)
- Track suit and jacket
- Water (plenty of it)
- Healthy snacks
- Blankets and umbrellas (for you)
- Notebook and pen
It is a good idea to get a bag ready a day or two in advance and to print off some checklists with boxes that you can tick.
This video will give you an idea what you might need to pack in your child’s soccer bag.
Doing all of these things will send a clear message to your child that you care for them, you support them and that you are taking their sporting ambitions seriously. And remember, even if you child does not pursue a career in professional sport, their sporting activities can still play an important part in their personal development.
In addition, the time that you spend together each weekend will provide you and your family with some wonderful memories that will last forever. So enjoy every moment!