Role of the Parent
The role that parents play in the life of a soccer player has a tremendous impact on their experience. With this in mind, we have taken some time to write down some helpful reminders for all of us as we approach the upcoming season. If you should have any questions about these thoughts, please feel free to discuss them with the coaches. Please do not use your team manager as a communication link on soccer specific issues. Speak to your coach regarding these matters.
- Let the coach’s coach: Leave the coaching to the coaches. This includes motivating your child for practice, after-game-critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your player to these coaches and they need to be free to do their job. If players have too many coaches, it is confusing for them and their performance usually declines.
- Support the program: Get involved. Volunteer. Help out with fundraisers, car-pool, anything to support the program.
- Be your child’s best fan: Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly. Your child should never have to perform to win your love.
- Encourage your child to practice at home: It is important; if your child is to reach their full potential that they practice their skills at home. Encourage them to spend at least 15 minutes every day manipulating the ball-you will be amazed how quickly their ball skills improve.
- Support and root for all players on the team: Foster teamwork. Your child’s teammates are not the enemy. When they are playing better than your child, your child now has a wonderful opportunity to learn.
- Do not bribe or offer incentives: Your job is not to motivate. Leave this to the coaching staff. Bribes will distract your child from properly concentrating in practice and game situations.
- Encourage your child to talk with the coaches: If your child is having difficulties in practice or games, or can’t make a practice, etc., encourage them to speak directly to the coaches. Allowing them to take this responsibility fosters their individual growth and maturity. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game – preparation for life, as well as playing the game.
- Understand and display appropriate game behavior: Remember, your child’s self-esteem and game performance is at stake. Be supportive, cheer, and be appropriate. To perform to the best of their abilities, players need to focus on the parts of the game that they can control (their fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness and what the game is presenting them). If they start focusing on what they can not control (the condition of the field, the referee, the weather, the opponent, even the outcome of the game at times), they will not play up to their ability. If they hear a lot of people telling them what to do, or yelling at the referee, it diverts their attention away from the task at hand.
- In-game positioning: Whenever possible, please cheer with fellow family and friends on the opposite side of the field from the players and coaches. This allows players and coaches to focus more on in-game tasks as well as a clear distinction for players as to where the coaches’ voice will come from.
- Monitor your child’s stress level at home: Keep an eye on the player to make sure that they are handling stress effectively from the various activities in their life.
- Monitor eating and sleeping habits: Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.
- Help your child keep their priorities straight: Help your child maintain a focus on school work, relationships and the other things in life in addition to soccer. Also, if your child has made a commitment to soccer, help them fulfill their obligation to the team.
- Reality test: If your child has come off the field when the team has lost, but they have played their best, help them to see this as a “win”. Remind them that they are to focus on “process” and not “results.” Their fun and satisfaction should be derived from “striving to win.”
- Keep soccer in its proper perspective: Soccer should not be larger than life for you. If your child’s performance produces strong emotions in you, try to keep those feelings under control. Remember your relationship will continue with your children long after their competitive soccer days are over. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child’s experience.
- Have fun: That is what we will be trying to do! We will try to challenge your child to reach past their “comfort level” and improve themselves as a player, and thus, as a person. We will attempt to do this in environments that are fun, yet challenging. We look forward to this process. We hope you do too!