As a soccer parent, you may have grand visions of your child becoming the next Messi or Ronaldo, or at the very least, playing to the best of their abilities.
However, a misguided soccer parent can suck all the fun out of the beautiful game for their child.
While tales of parents berating referees are thankfully not too common, there are plenty of other instances of bad behavior that should be avoided at all costs if you want your little ones to truly enjoy the sport.
This article will help steer you in the right direction,
Mistakes Soccer Parents Make
Pushing Them Too Far
As a parent of a young soccer player, it’s important to remember that the game is all about having fun.
While we all want our kids to perform to the best of their abilities, being a pushy parent can suck all the joy out of the sport for your child.
We’ve all heard horror stories of parents attacking referees, but there are other behaviors that can also have negative consequences.
If you’re constantly hassling your child from the sidelines, it’s likely to affect their mental state and performance.
Kids who withdraw as a result of too many demands from the soccer field are not going to be happy players.
Criticizing a child for a poor pass or a missed goal can crush their self-esteem and lead to more mistakes.
Inappropriate expectations can undermine confidence and make kids less likely to think for themselves. Let the coach give the advice and save constructive criticism for after the game.
Relying On Raw Talent
Relying solely on raw talent is like having a car with a powerful engine but no steering wheel. It might go fast, but it won’t get you very far if you can’t navigate the twists and turns of the road.
In other words, while talent is undoubtedly a plus, it’s not the only ingredient for success in soccer.
Other vital factors include hard work like soccer stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, dedication, discipline, and a willingness to learn and grow.
Focusing exclusively on raw talent can also create a dangerous mindset in your child, where they think that they can rest on their laurels and coast by on their natural abilities alone.
But as any seasoned soccer player knows, success on the pitch requires more than just a gift for the game.
Instead of fixating solely on your child’s raw talent, encourage them to cultivate a well-rounded approach to soccer.
This will not only help them excel in the sport but also instill valuable life skills that will serve them well beyond the pitch
Don’t Be The I-Too-Know Type
It’s natural to want the best for your child and to be involved in their sporting journey.
However, it’s really important(can’t keep stating it) to avoid becoming the ‘I-too-know‘ type of parent, where you believe you know everything there is to know about soccer and your child’s development in the sport.
Being open-minded and supportive of your child’s growth and development in soccer is what is necessary.
It means being willing to listen to their coaches, being supportive of their teammates, and encouraging your child to learn from their mistakes.
Instead of criticizing or dictating how your child should play, focus on creating a positive environment for them to grow and develop their skills.
Every child is unique, and their soccer journey will differ from others.
Poor Sideline Behavior
We’ve all witnessed that one parent at the match games who behaves like a sore loser, and some of us may have even been that parent.
But deep down, no one wants to be that parent
As a parent and a fan of the game, it should be easy to avoid showing poor behavior on the sidelines, but sometimes it can be difficult.
Many soccer parents forget that they are there to support their children and become overly invested in the game, losing sight of the bigger picture.
As parents, it is important that we set a good example for our children.
In the worst cases, this bad behavior can lead to serious acts of violence and it is completely unacceptable, yet it happens every season without fail.
There have been instances where children have had to beg their parents to stop fighting with parents from the opposing team.
This behavior is not enjoyable for the kids, and as parents, we have a responsibility to calm any such situation and set a good example for the players.
Behavior Violating Sportsmanship
As a parent of a budding soccer star, it’s important to understand that your actions and attitude can make a world of difference in shaping your child’s outlook on sportsmanship and fair play.
Unfortunately, some parents may disregard this fact and go all-in on victory, even if it means ignoring good sporting conduct.
This misguided approach can manifest in unpleasant ways, like hurling insults at referees, opponents, or even your own kid’s teammates.
Such behavior sends the wrong signal to young minds that winning trumps playing honorably and with decency.
Parents who don’t set the right example may end up heaping undue pressure on their child to excel, leading to feelings of stress, anxiety, and a waning interest in the game.
This kind of pressure can also foster excessive competitiveness, robbing soccer of its fun and its ability to impart crucial life lessons.
Ignoring Their Feelings
Parents should never ignore their child’s wishes and feelings.
It’s important to remember that your child is the one who is playing the sport, and they have their own reasons for doing so.
When parents ignore their child’s feelings and desires, it can lead to a lot of frustration and resentment.
For instance, if your child is not enjoying soccer and wants to quit, it’s your job to listen to the reasons why they make such decisions.
Ignoring their wishes and forcing them to continue playing can cause them to resent the sport, their team, and even you as a parent. It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your child about their feelings and listen to their perspective.
And you should never pressure your child into playing soccer at a level that they are not comfortable with.
Some parents have unrealistic expectations for their child’s performance or may want them to play on a more competitive team.
You should know that every child has their own strengths and limitations, and pushing them beyond their capabilities can lead to injury or burnout.
Fighting Their Battles
Parents should never fight their child’s battles for them.
As a parent, it’s completely understandable that you want to be your child’s knight in shining armor and protect them from any potential harm while playing soccer.
But, you should know that this is your child’s journey, not yours.
For instance, if your child faces a conflict with their coach or teammate, it’s important to resist the temptation to swoop in and solve the problem for them.
Encourage your child to handle the issue themselves, and they’ll develop valuable life skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and self-advocacy.
Besides, if you do everything for them, they might end up being the most skilled player ever, but they’ll probably struggle with real-life situations.
Be there to provide guidance and support when needed, but don’t try to steal the spotlight. Remember, you’re not raising a drama king/queen, you’re raising a soccer sensation.
It’s important for parents to let their kids have fun while playing sports without placing too much pressure on winning.
While a competitive spirit is important, disregarding the fun part of the game won’t necessarily motivate your child to perform better.