Five Common Mistakes Soccer Parents Make - And How To Avoid Them
The majority of soccer parents have the best intentions for their child’s soccer development and potential future career. Indeed, moms and dads play a crucial role in their young players’ development. Unfortunately, they could unwittingly halt or block any progress their child makes. How can you ensure you do not get in the way of your child’s soccer development? Familiarize yourself with the following most common mistakes soccer parents make so that you can actively avoid them with your young player.
THEY DON’T TOLERATE MISTAKES
Have you ever heard that some of the best lessons are learned from failure? While we want our young soccer players to succeed overall, we also want them to experience some degree of failure because this is where they learn the importance of focus, determination, and the benefits of taking risks.
Most kids are afraid to make mistakes on the field because they don’t want to disappoint their parents or coach. As a parent, you can encourage them to try new techniques and skills on and off the field and cheer them on even if they fail. In this way, you teach them it’s okay to mess up once in a while as long as they try their hardest. Your little soccer player will learn an invaluable lesson they can carry with them their whole life.
THEY COACH FROM THE SIDELINES
Because parents have driven their kids to soccer training and maybe even sat on the sidelines during practice, they feel they know what their child needs to be doing on game day. It’s okay to have an opinion about how your child should be playing, but you shouldn’t be shouting instructions from the sidelines while they are trying to play. Your shouts could confuse your child. They’re already facing a great deal of pressure on the field and have plays from their coach to follow. Your coaching from the sidelines stirs up conflicting thoughts. Should they listen to their coach or their parent? This is a tough position to be in for a child.
Instead of coaching, stick to general encouragement and cheering. A “Good job!” or “Way to kick the ball!” can be all the praise your soccer player needs to have a great game.
THEY INITIATE A POST-GAME ANALYSIS WITH THEIR CHILD
After a rough game (or even a winning game), the last thing a young soccer player needs is to have their mom or dad berate them on what they did wrong. Chances are they already know what they did wrong (or their soccer coach or teammate already informed them). As a parent, it’s not your role to discuss what your child did right or wrong on the field. What they need most from you is encouragement.
At the end of a game, let your young player know how much fun you had watching them play. And if you noticed they attempted a new skill they’ve been working on, acknowledge it, letting them know how proud you are that they gave the trick a try. If your child begins a post-game analysis with you, feel free to engage but try to keep it positive, focusing on how they tried something even if it didn’t turn out how they wanted.
THEY FIGHT THEIR CHILD’S FIGHTS FOR THEM
One of the biggest mistakes a soccer parent can make is approaching the coach with a problem they observed about their son or daughter’s playing time or development. A coach does not respond well to a parent demanding more playing time because the parent does not necessarily understand why the coach has made the choice they have.
Instead of speaking to the coach themselves, parents should encourage their kids to have a discussion with their coach. This teaches young players a valuable lesson of speaking up for themselves. Their questions or concerns are often more well-received by the coach than if they came through a parent. The coach can impart useful information, such as why the child isn’t playing as much as their teammates and in which areas they need to improve. By receiving first-hand feedback, your child will be more encouraged to make the necessary changes.
ABOVE ALL, BE SUPPORTIVE
Being a parent of a youthful soccer player can be a daunting job. You want to do what’s best for them and ensure they are happy at all times. If you’re new to the world of soccer, it can be even harder to know what you should and shouldn’t be doing to support your child’s soccer journey. Hopefully, this list of common soccer parent mistakes will help you understand how to support your young player through the soccer development process. If you would like more advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experienced youth soccer coaches.