The role that parents play in the life of a soccer player has a tremendous impact on that player’s experience. With this in mind, here are some helpful reminders for all of us for this season, and any season.
Let the coaches coach:Leave the coaching to the coaches. This includes motivating, psyching 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 a player has too many coaches, it is confusing for him and his performance usually declines.
Support the program:Get involved. Volunteer. Help out with fundraisers, car-pool; anything to support the program.
Be you 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.
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. This "responsibility taking" is a big part of becoming a big-time player. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game - preparation for 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, be appropriate. To perform to the best of his abilities, a player needs to focus on the parts of the game that they can control (his fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness, what the game is presenting them). If he starts focusing on what he can not control (the condition of the field, the referee, the weather, the opponent, even the outcome of the game at times), he will not play up to his ability. If he hears a lot of people telling him what to do, or yelling at the referee, it diverts his attention away from the task at hand.
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 his life.
Monitor eating and sleeping habits:Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.
Help your child keep his 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 him fulfill his obligation to the team.
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. 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, 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!