Having served as soccer coach for three years for my younger daughter's soccer team and having watched several coaches coach my older daughter, I've picked up on a few things on what it takes to be a good parent on the sideline. We all want our kids to be competitive in sports, but let's face it, some will be better than others. Even if your kid is one of the best on the field, the likelihood he/she will make it as a professional are extremely slim. Soccer is competitive enough without parents yelling at their kids from the sidelines. Here's a great list of 'rules' every soccer parent should learn.
Being a Good Soccer Parent
The most important on this list, in my opinion are:
"What are the first words out of your mouth after practice or a game? If it’s not along the lines of, “Did you have fun?” Or, “Wow, I really like watching you play soccer,” then you’re saying the wrong things. One survey found what kids hate most about soccer is the car ride home with mom or dad. That’s because the first things out of parents’ mouths too often is “How did you lose that game?” or “What was wrong with you out there?”"
"If your child has the ball, he or she won’t hear what you’re shouting. If he doesn’t have the ball and he hears you, now you’re a distraction. Also, the phrase “Just boot it!” went out of style in the mid 1980s. Cheering for your child’s long kick likely sends a conflicting message, since the odds are that’s not what the coach was teaching the team during the week."
" A coach who shouts the entire game just wants to win. Shouting during each play makes them dependent on you. And it makes you hoarse. Letting the players figure things out on their own fosters creativity. Yes, they’ll make mistakes. But recovering from mistakes is part of the learning process. After all, it’s part of how they learn in school and it’s how you gain experience at work. Instead of constantly shouting, a coach should have specific pre-game instructions, encouraging words at half-time, and should be scribbling notes about what the team or individual players need to practice during the week."
Are there times when I think my daughter was slacking and not trying her hardest? Yep! Are there times where I thought she could have played better? Yep! But my job as a parent isn't to get on her every time she makes a mistake. Mistakes happen. It's part of the learning process. If there's something she's not doing she should, either her coach or teammates will tell her. Or, and most likely, she already knows when she makes a mistake. There's no need for me, as the parent, to yell at her about it too. My job is to ask her how she felt and encourage her when she needs my help. On the sidelines I cheer, but I leave the yelling to others. Unfortunately it's often the other parents yelling. Sometimes it's the coach(es). I'm so glad my daughters have had coaches who are not constantly yelling at their players. I watched an opposing team earlier this season that had 3 coaches continuously yelling at the players throughout the game. Nothing the players did was done correctly according to the coaches. These were 7, 8, and 9 year olds! No child deserves that!
My recommendation to all parents is to cheer your child and team on in a positive way. If it's something negative, keep your mouth shut.