The role that parents play in the life of a soccer player has a tremendous impact on their overall experience. With this goal in mind, here some helpful reminders for all of us as we enjoy watching our loved ones play.
Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships and other things in life beside soccer. Also, if your child has made a commitment to soccer, help them fulfill her obligation to the team.
Foster teamwork. Remember that your child's teammates as well as the opposing players are not the enemy. When they are playing better than your child, your child now has an opportunity to learn.
If your child has come off the field when their team has lost, but they have played their best, help them to view this is as a "win." Remind them to focus on the process and the things they can control and not the scoreboard. The athlete's fun and satisfaction should be derived from striving to win.
Soccer should not be larger than life for you. If your child's performance produces strong emotions for you, suppress them. Remember your relationship will continue with your children long after their competitive soccer days are over. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child's experience.
Leave the coaching to the coaches. This includes motivating, psyching your child up for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your player to these coaches and they need to be free to do their job. If a player has too many coaches, it's confusing, and their performance usually declines.
Remember, your child's self-esteem and game performance is at stake. Be supportive, cheer, and be appropriate. To perform to the best of their abilities, a player needs to focus on the parts of the game they can control (fitness, positioning, decision-making, skill aggressiveness, etc.). If they start focusing on what they cannot control (the field condition, the referee, the weather, the opponent, even the outcome of the game at times) they will not play up to their ability.
Keep an eye on the player and make sure that they are handling stress effectively from the various activities in their life. Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.
This is the most important part of the game! We will try to challenge your child to reach beyond their "comfort level" and improve themselves as a player, and thus, a person. We will attempt to do this in environments that are fun, yet challenging, but when soccer stops being fun, that's when players quit. Remember: having fun is our #1 priority!