president@dcysclub.com PO Box 641 Fair Oaks, CA 95628

SOCCER PARENT ADVICE

Your Club would like to offer some advice to the soccer parent. Whether your player is new to soccer or your player is a seasoned veteran, these nuggets of advice, we believe, are worthy of consideration.

Here are some tips for you to follow on being a good soccer parent.

It’s about teamwork

Soccer is a team sport and although some players may exhibit more skills than others on the team, every player is crucial for the team’s success. There will always be players who stand out, but the idea of working together with others toward a common goal is one of the best concepts your child can learn from playing youth soccer. Remember to cheer on every player on your child’s team. And consider recognizing the skills and game play by the opponent’s team as well.

Soccer is about having fun

It’s hard enough to be a kid, your soccer player doesn’t need extra pressure that can lead to ruining the experience of playing soccer. Youth soccer players already face peer pressure, school pressure, pressure to do well when competing.

Make sure that you do your best to ensure that soccer is fun experience for your player. It’s worthwhile to inspire them to give their best effort but don’t pile on the pressure to win soccer games, let them enjoy the experience.

Provide positive reinforcement

This should be on the top of every advice list and for good reason.  Keep your focus on the positive. Avoid the negative. Soccer is a game and youth soccer is a game for kids. There are no college recruiters out watching these games, just parents of those kids on your team and the opponents.

Your child and the team need emotional support, not your judging comments. Clapping and speaking words of encouragement for their efforts help building the child’s self-esteem.

Know the rules

The misunderstanding of the rules by soccer parents can lead to inappropriate comments. Just a 5 minute review of the rules on offside, what constitutes a foul, and when the ball is fully out of play will make a big difference.

What to do on game days

It’s important to help get player get ready for game day, both physically and emotionally. When the game is over, it’s over. Usually, the last thing your kids want to do is hear mom or dad rehashing the game.  Kids don’t want a technical analysis of the soccer match; their coach will usually recap the game and ask about how they felt they played and what they could do better. It’s good to compliment on them on how well they played and ask if they had fun.

After the first whistle

After the referee blows the whistle, remember that you are at the game to support your player and the others on team. Competition, even for the youngest players, can get heated. Remember, this is just a game. Avoid criticizing the referees and by all means, avoid getting into arguments with the opposing team families. Be there to support your player and the team, regardless of the game’s outcome.

No touchline coaching

Even for the Littles, soccer games move fast. The game is never stagnant. The coach is doing his/her best to give instructions during a game; parents yelling advice from the touchline can confuse the player.

Let the coach give instructions. You give encouragement.

Emphasize the efforts

Your soccer club does its best to set the teams up for competitive games so that teams are evenly matched. It’s inevitable that mismatches will happen. Whether you’re on the positive side or the negative side of a lopsided game, young soccer players should have a good feeling about the effort they put forward.

You can’t control the opponents you face, but you can control how you play in the game. Focus on the effort.

Volunteer for your team or the Club

Volunteering to help at some level shows your child the benefits of getting involved in some way other than simply attending soccer matches.

As any coach will tell you, whether it’s helping out with practices or helping set up the field on game day, or being a “team parent,” you’ll show your child by your actions how to contribute.

Lead by example

You want your child to enjoy herself. Lead by example. Having fun is contagious and if your behavior shows that you’re enjoying yourself, that naturally rubs off on the other parents and the players.

Wearing a smile, cackling a good laugh, or using an excited and enthusiastic voice all add to the fun of any activity.

Make soccer a family thing

There are many good reasons to enjoy the physical fun of playing soccer with your child. Any soccer play, whether it’s an unstructured make-believe game or more of an organized soccer activity is great fun for young soccer players and their parents.

Quality family time helps create that lifelong bond between parents and their children. The more “touches” the young soccer play gets, in real matches, practice, or backyard play, the more their ball skills improve. Even if you never played soccer when you were young, you will enjoy the playtime with your children.

This is one of the best things you can do to be a great soccer parent. The only “necessary” equipment you need is a youth soccer ball. If you want to step up your soccer playtime, cones and a goal/net are the next steps.