The influence of soccer parents in developing a child’s game cannot be understated.
The enthusiastic and encouraging parent who plays soccer with their child, supports them in the youth leagues and offers advice off the field can only aid their development.
Here are five positive courses of action a soccer parent can take to help their child.
1. Support Child on and off field
Soccer at a young age is primarily about having fun and arguably the most important role of a soccer parent is to be enthusiastic and supportive. The best players in world soccer will tell you how they played the game obsessively from a young age, and you can help your child by practicing with them regularly and developing drills. Just a few minutes passing and dribbling each day could benefit your child dramatically. Provide emotional support, encouragement and constructive feedback. It is, of course, important not to contradict the coach and confuse the child, but being available to offer advice is crucial. Ensuring the child maintains a healthy diet is also key.
2. Attend Games
It is important to attend a child’s games. This may not be possible every week, but being there to give encouragement is one of the most important aspects of being a soccer parent. Parents should ask their children if they actually want to be cheered on during play; some could think of nothing worse. Keep on-field instruction to a minimum because this is the coach’s job. Providing transportation to games is also a necessary requirement of a soccer parent, even if it can lead to less free time at weekends. Volunteering for club duties and assisting coaches when necessary are other ways you can support your child.
3. Learn the Game
Parents should also look to build on their own knowledge of the game. Attending matches with your child is an effective way for you both to build up an understanding of the sport because it enables you to discuss certain plays which you have both seen. Watching on TV, reading about the sport and instructional videos can all further your understanding, enabling you to pass on useful tips to your child.
4. Purchase Soccer Aids
Provide your child with the means to learn more about the game. Installing a set of goalposts in the garden can only help, while rebounders are an excellent way to improve control. There are some worthwhile videos and books available, while sitting down with your child and watching professional soccer matches is also an invaluable way to develop their understanding.
5. Show Respect
Once at matches, it is important to conduct yourself in the appropriate fashion. Only speak to the referee and linesmen if you intend to be complimentary, respect the opposition and keep a reasonable distance from the field (sitting three to five yards back from the sidelines is a rule in many youth leagues). Set a good example, because children copy the actions of adults.