As soccer parents, we can easily be wrapped up in wins, losses, playing time, etc. but it’s important to realize why they (not you) are playing.
Watching your child play the beautiful game of soccer should be more enjoyable than stressful. The game should provide your child with many learning opportunities that will translate into real life.
The game should be fun for players and parents. It should not be the reason why a child gets screamed at or ignored. It should not be the reason why they are silent going to practice. Soccer should be enjoyable to play, exciting to watch, and something that creates a stronger bond.
In this article, I will share some practical advice for soccer parents. Helpful topics that will make this season more enjoyable!
Make the Most Out of This Soccer Season
The following are five important points to keep in mind as your child plays soccer this season.
- Encourage your child to have Fun (with a capital F): It’s easy to get caught up in the competitive nature of youth sports, but it’s important to remember that soccer should be enjoyable for your child. Encourage them to have fun, make friends, and enjoy the experience of playing the game. Avoid putting too much pressure on your child to perform or win at all costs. Typically, when they are having fun, so are you!
- Be supportive, but not a ‘helicopter parent’: It’s natural to want to support your child and show interest in their soccer activities, but it’s important to find a balance between being supportive and being overbearing. We all know those parents that will do anything and everything for their child even if it means that it has a negative effect on them. Instead of being overly critical of every mistake, offer positive reinforcement and feedback on ways to improve.
- Realize that they are seeing the field differently from you: There is a huge difference between playing and watching soccer. When playing soccer, things happen so fast and there are many variables in play. It’s easy for us to sit back and watch specific plays unfold. We are only focused on what we expect without making a split decision. With this said, understand that they will miss some aspects of the game. They may be focusing on one thing while you are watching something else. Praise instead of criticizing goes a long way.
- Ease off during car rides: After a soccer game, there are many emotions going through a young athlete’s mind. In most cases, they are running scenarios through their mind already. Instead of adding fuel to the fire, wait to talk to your child about the game when you get home. This is easier said than done…I’m still working on this one too. I think it benefits both parties to wait for any feedback after you pull into the driveway.
- Process over everything: In the big picture, winning and losing doesn’t mean much. The process of improving every week is where the magic happens. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the road ahead but that road is paved with opportunities. If parents and players focus on the process, the tension is released and players open up more possibilities for themselves. At the same time, we get to appreciate the small moments and the big milestones.
I hope these five tips help you and your child have a great season!
Honestly, there are some times when I think back to four years ago and wish that I wasn’t so critical of my son. Yes, maybe he had a bad game and was in la la land but it’s all a learning experience. It doesn’t matter one bit today. He was just a cute kid trying his best on the soccer field.
You and I have off days, they will too. Let them experience it. I think it’s healthy to talk about it and come to an answer for the next practice or game. But, try to leave emotions out of it.
Everyone says “They grow up so fast!” and this is so true. Let them grow up fast, enjoy the moment while it is here, and share the incredible experience with them!