Being a soccer parent can carry significant responsibility in your child’s life, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and exciting when approached correctly.
As a parent, you have the most influence on whether your child has a positive experience with the beautiful game.
It cannot be emphasized enough.
Parents who are enthusiastic and encouraging, playing soccer with their children, supporting them at home and in youth leagues, and offering guidance off the field can significantly aid in their soccer development.
In this article, I have outlined highly effective tips to help your child flourish in the game of soccer.
- What Are The Features Of A Good Soccer Parent?
- Support Your Child(ren) On & Off The Field
- Give Them More Time To Play Soccer
- You’re Just A Parent, Not A Coach
- Play Soccer With Them
- Let Them Know Losing Is Part Of The Game
- Learn All The Ropes Of The Game
- Don’t Talk About Other Kids/Players
- Watch Pro-Soccer Games Together
- Let Your Home Reflect The Passion
- Buy The Right Soccer Gear/Equipment
- Review & Reflect With Them
- Have Fun
What Are The Features Of A Good Soccer Parent?
To be a good soccer parent, one must exhibit respectful behavior towards everyone involved in the game, maintain emotional control, and promote good sportsmanship.
Supportive soccer parents must encourage and uplift their children instead of shouting, complaining, or arguing.
Conducting research before enrolling a child in a soccer team can help parents understand the environment they are entering.
An ideal soccer environment should be well-structured, enjoyable, and progressive, with a focus on the development of the child.
Soccer parents should be actively involved in their child’s soccer experience and maintain a positive attitude, emphasizing fun and personal growth rather than just winning.
By being a good soccer parent, parents can provide their child with a positive and nurturing environment to develop their skills and enjoy the game.
|Development is prioritized
|Winning is prioritized at all costs
|Equal opportunities for all
|Shouting and screaming at the player
|Parents who have a desire to help
|Parents interfering with player activities
|Fun and engaging training sessions
|Parents lacking control over the players’ behavior
|Clear lines of communication
|Players standing around too much in training
|A welcoming environment
|Poor facilities and equipment
Support Your Child(ren) On & Off The Field
Playing soccer at a young age should be enjoyable, and one of the important roles of a soccer parent is to be enthusiastic and supportive.
Many professional soccer players started playing the game obsessively from a young age.
As a parent, you can help your child by regularly practicing with them and developing drills. Even just a few minutes of passing and dribbling each day could have a significant impact on your child’s development.
It is crucial to provide emotional support, encouragement, and constructive feedback to your child.
However, it is important not to contradict the coach and confuse the child.
Being available to offer advice and support can make a big difference.
Also, ensuring that your child maintains a healthy diet is key to their overall health and development.
Give Them More Time To Play Soccer
Learning through experience is a valid notion, particularly for children.
Soccer is a sport that is gaining popularity quickly in the United States, but the country’s soccer program still trails behind others.
One contributing factor is that kids in other countries grow up playing soccer daily, while kids in the US frequently engage in other sports such as baseball or American football.
To assist your child in developing their soccer abilities, it is important to ensure that they have access to a soccer ball and give them enough time to play.
The game is an excellent sport for children since it helps them improve their coordination, teamwork, and fitness.
Playing soccer can also be a delightful method for children to spend their free time and make new friends.
If your kids are keen on soccer, consider enrolling them in a local league or club. Also, you could create a soccer field in your yard or a nearby park and encourage your children to play regularly.
You’re Just A Parent, Not A Coach
This tip is highly important for avoiding the common mistakes of overbearing soccer parents.
Whether at a soccer match or 5v5 aside, you might come across a parent who thinks they’re the real coach, calling all the shots. Not only is this cringe-worthy to witness, but it’s also counterproductive.
Chances are, you’ve already invested in your child’s coach, who’s probably better equipped than you to instruct the kids on the field.
If you want your child to receive the best coaching advice, advise them to listen to their coach’s instructions.
During the game, stick to the game plan by providing some much-needed encouragement.
This is where you can shine brighter than the coach by knowing your child’s motivation triggers like the back of your hand.
If you can’t resist shouting, yelling, and instructing from the sidelines, at least be a good parent and check with the coach about the message they want to pass to the kids.
Then, give them a little backup.
Listen attentively to the coach throughout the game, and be their biggest cheerleader.
Play Soccer With Them
One of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences you can have as a soccer parent is taking an active role in your child’s development as a player.
Spending time practicing and playing the game with them is an excellent way to show your support and encouragement.
By actively participating in your child’s soccer journey, you’re proving your commitment to their growth and development as a player and as a person.
You’re also showing them the importance of dedication and hard work.
Your child will feel valued and appreciated, knowing that you’re willing to share in their passions.
Don’t be shy to put on a cleat, get ready and play soccer with your kiddo. Together, you’ll make an unstoppable team and create some unforgettable memories.
Let Them Know Losing Is Part Of The Game
Losing in soccer may not be the most thrilling experience, but it’s an inevitable part of the game.
Unless it’s a draw, one team has to bite the bullet and that’s perfectly fine. It’s the chance to win that makes soccer so electrifying to both play and watch.
In many cases, it’s the fear of losing that motivates a player to go above and beyond to win.
The feeling of losing a game is often all the motivation a player needs to go on and work hard to win next time.
For your child, however, this can be a tough pill to swallow.
They don’t want to lose, and they may not know how to channel that loss into improvement. That’s where you come in as a parent.
You have the life experience and knowledge to understand how to lose with grace and bounce back stronger.
You may not be a master at it (let’s be real, who is?), but chances are you know more than your child does.
Show them how to lose well and how they should react.
Learn All The Ropes Of The Game
To be a true supporter of your child, it is really important to acquaint yourself with the ins and outs of the game. This entails getting to know the rules, strategies, and techniques involved in soccer.
It is vital to understand the game your child is playing to avoid embarrassing situations of wrongly berating the referee.
Familiarizing yourself with soccer helps you better interpret coaching feedback and discuss each game or practice session with your child.
By taking an interest in the nuances of soccer, you send a clear message to your child that you are serious about their passion for the sport.
Even if you occasionally misunderstand something, your efforts will be appreciated.
To improve your knowledge, attend youth and professional games and observe how the players communicate, pass and move.
Note the different positions on the field and their responsibilities. Also, you can read books, magazines, and online resources or take online courses offered by soccer clubs and organizations.
By learning all the ropes of the game, you can support your child’s soccer journey and become the perfect soccer parent.
Don’t Talk About Other Kids/Players
Resist the urge to be like the young and typical Mourinho, who obsesses over every detail of his opponents and never stops talking.
Maintaining discretion is crucial when it comes to sharing your thoughts about other players, even if they’re on the opposing team.
It’s only natural to have opinions about their skills or level of roughness, but voicing them aloud may cast you in a negative light as an overbearing soccer parent.
Remember that you’re present to support your own child, while the other players have their own parents or caregivers for that purpose.
It’s advisable to avoid providing unsolicited advice or criticizing the playing style of other children, as it could be detrimental and unnecessary.
If you feel compelled to interact with other children, limit your involvement to words of encouragement and positivity.
Speaking negatively towards or about another child on the soccer field is impolite and can have unfavorable effects.
As a parent, focus exclusively on your child’s growth and development and leave the progress of other players to their respective caregivers and coaches.
Watch Pro-Soccer Games Together
Watching professional soccer games together with your child can be an enjoyable and educational experience for both of you.
It provides an opportunity to bond over a shared interest and also allows you to introduce your child to the tactics, strategies, and skills used by professional players.
This will help your child understand the intricacies of the sport, including the roles of different positions, game strategies, and player movements.
You can also use the games as a way to teach your child about sportsmanship, respect for opponents, and the importance of hard work and dedication in achieving success.
Watching soccer games with your child can be a fun way to learn about different cultures and countries, as the sport is popular all over the world.
You can discuss the different styles of play used by teams from different countries, and learn about the players and their backgrounds.
Let Your Home Reflect The Passion
Why limit your soccer-loving lifestyle to just the field? Your home should reflect your passion for the beautiful game.
Here are some tips on how to turn your abode into a soccer sanctuary:
- Bring the field home: Create a mini soccer pitch in your backyard or even indoors, if you’re feeling daring. Cones, markers, and mini-goals are all you need to start an impromptu soccer training session.
- Soccer decor: Deck your walls with soccer posters, flags, and banners to show your love for the sport. A soccer-themed rug or pillow could also add some extra flair to your living space.
- Memorabilia display: Showcase your soccer memorabilia in your home. This could range from soccer jerseys to soccer balls, whatever you have that adds to the ambiance.
- TV time: Give priority to soccer games on TV and make sure to join in on pre and post-game discussions. Turn a big game into a celebration by inviting friends over, cooking up some grub, and hosting your very own soccer party.
Buy The Right Soccer Gear/Equipment
Anything that helps improve your child’s soccer skills is technically a training aid – from a soccer ball to a practice cone.
But there are other items that can take your child’s game to the next level. These make great gifts for birthdays or holidays, so keep them in mind.
Once you have the right equipment for your child, don’t forget about what you need for game day.
As a parent, it’s your job to make sure your child has everything they need.
Here’s a quick list of must-haves to take to each soccer game:
- Jersey, shorts, socks, cleats, shin guards, and a ball.
- A towel to clean sweat
- Sunscreen for sunny days
- Washbag for after the game
- A water bottle
- Healthy snacks for halftime and after-game fuel
- Camera to capture those winning moments
Now, the parent essentials. It depends on your preferences, but here are some suggestions:
- Snacks for you (because we all know you’ll get hungry too)
- Insulated mug for your favorite beverage
- A portable chair for sideline seating.
Review & Reflect With Them
After your child finishes their game or training session, it’s time to have a discussion and evaluate their performance.
This is a window to break down all aspects of the game, identify any shortcomings, and learn from them.
However, it’s important not to rush into this, you know how kids could be, being all moody and all especially if they had a rough day, they may not want to discuss it immediately.
In such cases, they may need some encouragement and positive reinforcement to boost their confidence.
As a parent, you are the best judge of your child’s emotional state, so use your discretion to decide when to discuss their game.
The goal of this RR (review & reflect) is to facilitate self-reflection and improvement.
Therefore, it’s important to ask questions that encourage your child to think deeply about their game and come up with their own solutions.
Don’t play too smart, just avoid giving your own opinions (now is not the time)
To get the RR started, you can ask questions like:
- Which aspects did you find challenging or stressful?
- How can you develop your skills further?
- Which parts of the game did you enjoy the most?
- What can you do differently to improve your performance next time?
Take your time to actively listen to your child’s answers and follow up with extra questions based on their responses.
This way, you can help your child identify areas for improvement and come up with a plan to enhance their game
Let’s talk about the most important aspect of your child’s soccer success: having fun.
It’s all too easy to lose sight of this when everyone’s focused on skill-building and winning games. That’s why as a parent you need to strike a balance between work and play.
Soccer is a game that’s all about having a good time.
Being outdoors, kicking the ball around, chatting with teammates and catching a good joke with other parents, and scoring goals are all activities that kids naturally find enjoyable.
So, let’s make sure that we keep it that way.
Remember, if your child isn’t having fun, they’re not going to be motivated to improve or stick with the game. And as a soccer parent, your job is to support your child’s love of the sport, not stifle it.
Next time you’re at your child’s game or practice, take a moment to appreciate the fun of it all.
Cheer on your child and their teammates, celebrate their successes, and don’t forget to smile.
Final Whistle – Good Soccer Parent
Take a moment to consider how you act as a parent when your child is playing a game. Your aim should be to contribute positively.
You can do this by helping to create a friendly and positive team atmosphere. As stated before, being a parent of a soccer player can be very rewarding. The more time and energy you invest, the more you will get out of it.
If you fully embrace this opportunity, not only will your child learn important skills like working with others, staying committed, and putting in effort, but you’ll also gain a lot from the experience.