10 Suggestions (Rules?) for Soccer Parents:
1. Let the coaches coach: Leave the coaching to the coaches. This includes motivating, psyching your child up, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your child to the coaches; they need to be free to do their job. “Too many coaches spoil the player.”
2. 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.
3. Support all players on the team: Foster teamwork. Your child’s teammates are not the enemy. There will always be greater and lesser players than your child. When a teammate plays better, your child has a wonderful opportunity to learn.
4. 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.
5. 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 her to speak directly to the coaches. This “responsibility taking” is a big part of being a member of any team. When your child handles the off-field tasks (knowing the schedule, preparing equipment for practices and games), she is establishing ownership of all aspects of the game.
6. Understand and display appropriate game behavior: Be supportive, cheer, but be appropriate. Players need to focus only on the parts of the game that they can control (fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness, reacting to what the game is presenting). When a player focuses on what she cannot control, (what others are shouting), performance suffers. Do not tell a player what to do. Do not critique a play or player during the game. Never yell at the referee. Ever.
7. Help your child keep priorities straight: Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships and the other things in life beside soccer. Also, if your child has made a commitment to soccer, help her fulfill her obligation to the team.
8. Reality test: If the team loses a match, but your child has played her best, help her to see this as a “win” and that you are proud of her. Remind her that she is to focus on “process” and not “results”. Her fun and satisfaction should be derived from “striving to win”.
9. 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, suppress them. Your relationship will continue with your children long after their competitive soccer days are over. Keep your goals/needs separate from those of your child.
10. Have fun: That is what the coaches will be trying to do! We will challenge your child to reach beyond her “comfort level” and improve as a player. We will do this in an environment that is fun, yet challenging. We look forward to this process. We hope you do too!
Click to read What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent.