Tips for Keeping Soccer Fun
Is soccer becoming too serious for you? Are you feeling like you are not having fun anymore? Understand that you are not alone! Every young athlete will go through highs and lows each season.
When the highs outweigh the lows, you are in a good place. But, if you are so frustrated and unmotivated to show up for yourself, something probably needs to change.
In this article, I’ll share some tips on keeping soccer fun. This advice is more geared towards players who are in a competitive environment. Let’s make soccer more enjoyable for you.
Why Having Fun is the North Star
Soccer is a sport that requires a lot of practice and dedication, but it’s important to remember that it should also be fun.
When you’re having fun playing soccer, you’re more likely to stay motivated and engaged, which will help you improve your skills and enjoy the game even more.
You can even see how this affects professional soccer players. Those players who have a passion for the game typically have long and successful careers. Players who have the talent but aren’t having fun, usually fizzle out because they stopped putting in the work.
Here are a few reasons why keeping soccer fun is essential:
- It helps you stay motivated: When you’re having fun playing soccer, you’re more likely to work at it which improves your skills. This can help you reach your goals and become a better player.
- It improves team morale: When everyone on the team is having fun, it can help improve team morale and create a positive atmosphere. This can lead to better teamwork and communication on the field. Sometimes, you can’t help others so it’s best to focus on yourself.
- It reduces stress: Playing soccer can be a great way to reduce stress. I think every kid, teen, and adult needs a physical outlet to maintain a healthy mind and body. When you’re having fun, you’re less likely to feel stressed or anxious about life.
- It promotes a healthy lifestyle: Soccer is a great way to stay active and healthy, but it’s important to remember that it should also be enjoyable. As a player, you should feel like the field is your safe place and an environment where you can run freely!
Encouraging Team Spirit
To keep soccer fun, it’s important to encourage team spirit. This means creating an environment where players feel like they are part of a team and working towards a common goal. Oftentimes, this is the responsibility of a coach but you can look inward and help the situation by:
Celebrating Small Victories
It’s important to celebrate small victories as a team. This could be something as simple as a player scoring their first goal or having a productive practice. Nowadays, kids are on group texts so it’s easy for one person to write something like, “Great job today girls/boys, we crushed it. Let’s get it again next practice!” How motivating is that for the team? That makes me ready to go!
Celebrating these small victories helps to build team morale and encourages players to continue working hard.
Promoting Good Sportsmanship
It’s important to teach players to respect their opponents and the rules of the game. This helps to create a positive image for the team and encourages fair play.
Here are a few ways to promote good sportsmanship:
- Shake your opponent’s hand after the game.
- Pick a player up if you committed a foul on them.
- Give a compliment to your opponent. Something like, “That was a great move back there.”
By providing good sportsmanship, it will make YOU feel good. Although your opponent will feel good as well, you’re reinforcing positive habits.
Having a Long-Term Mindset
Focusing on the bigger picture and understanding that success won’t come overnight is essential for more enjoyment of soccer. Understand that it takes time and effort to improve your skills and become a better player.
When you rush progress, you can quickly suck the fun out of the sport. By having a long-term view of things, you will enjoy the moment more knowing that you aren’t going to get better overnight.
One way to maintain a long-term mindset is to focus on the process rather than the outcome. Instead of worrying about winning or losing, focus on playing your best and improving your skills. This will help you stay motivated and keep soccer fun, even if you don’t always come out on top.
If you’ve ever watched a soccer game, you know how many mistakes happen. It’s okay to make them yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for it and continue to enjoy the moments.
Being in the Moment
To truly enjoy the game, it’s important to stay present and focused on the moment. By the way, this kind of goes for anything in life. Here are some tips to help you stay in the moment during soccer games:
- Focus on your breath: Take deep breaths in and out to help calm your mind and stay present in the moment.
- Stay in the zone: Avoid getting distracted by external factors such as the crowd or other players. Stay focused on your role in the game and what you need to do to contribute to your team’s success. Parents, please stop coaching your son or daughter on the sidelines.
- Embrace mistakes: Mistakes are a natural part of the game. Rather than dwelling on them, learn from them and move on. Remember that soccer is a game, and it’s meant to be fun!
- Celebrate all successes: Take time to celebrate your successes, whether it’s a goal you scored or a great pass you made. Celebrating your successes can help you stay motivated and positive throughout the game.
I hope you take these suggestions to heart. As parents and coaches, all we truly want is to see our players happy. We want you to feel like you are on top of the world every time you step onto the field.
Soccer should be fun. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. If it does, it’s time to step back and evaluate your situation.
You may be in a situation where you feel too much pressure. If this is the case, have that tough conversation with the person you feel most responsible for it. My guess is that it’s usually a parent.
At the end of the day, soccer is not life or death. As sad as it sounds, at some point you’ll probably have to move on from the sport. Enjoy it now as much as you can! Let’s not look back on it and wonder – what if I had more fun?