soccer training skills

Soccer parent's guide
to understanding
the game

Soccer Parent

It is a great day when you as a soccer parent can get out to
a soccer field, in the fresh air or a stadium full of spectators
and watch a great game of soccer.

It is even better when you can cheer on your children and their friends. It is also inspiring to see both teams as they play for
the fun and the competition. It is fantastic to see them playing from the heart, with smiles on their faces and sweat on their bodies. The children are engaged in an activity that promotes teamwork, individual skill, athleticism, talent, problem solving
and the ability to overcome difficult situations on the field.

If we as soccer parents can keep this in mind we will help our children develop into well round individuals capable of handling life's situations and expectations.

Sport is great for the soccer parent and the entire family and soccer is one of the greatest sports.

Soccer rules and regulations

Soccer is a specific and separate sport with its own set of rules. As a soccer parent, please get familiar with these rules as they will help you understand that it is not like hockey, rugby,
football, basketball or a variety of other sports.

Your understanding will help you appreciate the game and even the language of the game and that what is allowed in other sports is not be allowed and should not be tolerated in soccer.

Sometimes our need to win overshadows our children's need to play fairly and have fun. The word "sportsmanship" still applies
to the game of soccer.
Its values should be preserved and held to be true.

You, your child and sport

We all want the best for our progeny, but sometimes we lose sight of what that is. As a soccer parent, we sometimes get caught up in the possibilities
of hype and glory.

Remember, when the youth soccer player stops having fun it
is time to examine the reasons why this is happening.
Although there generally are a lot of factors, try and start
looking at yourself. Are you as a soccer parent living vicariously through your child and are missing your own need for
competition and play?

If you recognize that there is a minimum and a maximum level
of participation then don't settle for anything less than
minimum. This is enjoying the sport of soccer for fun and the participation of the game which involves friends and adversaries. The maximum is playing at the highest levels and getting paid
to do so.

Let your child be the one to drive this maximum aspect of the sport because when it is internalized it is the greatest of accomplishments. Participate in the sport for the love of the game and not what financial reward it may provide.
Money isn't everything, but its pursuit can leave you empty
and void of the beauty of sport.

You can benefit, too

If you would like to stay fit and healthy while setting a good example of a life long fitness ideal, form a walking club that
walks around the field while the team is practicing.

This process takes team bonding to a new level as it includes
the parents and their friends. It also makes new friends of both the parents and the players.
Take the opportunity to join a soccer team of your own age group and capabilities, that is recreational soccer.

Recognize Development Levels

Try to be realistic about your child and their abilities.
We all want our children to be the best, or sometimes even better than others. We sometimes lose sight of the development process of learning and growing.

Your child might have two left feet this year, but next year
be really engaged in their sport. The opposite might be true, especially in the puberty years when the children seem to be
all legs and no co-ordination.

The child needs encouragement at every step of the way.
This is positive re-enforcement for participating in life long activity, which means keeping fit, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I strongly encourage you to look at this page for the stages of development your child is currently at Long term development.

Youth Stress

For more information on this topic, go to Youth Stress.
Remember that coping with stress should not lead to the use
of performance enhancers.
Having a "Holistic" approach to health is the road to go.
Please start by reviewing the following link, The Nutrition Generator.

Understanding the coach

Most coaches are parents who have volunteered so that their child can have a place to play and their family and friends can grow together. The team needs your help, and there are many ways in which you can be helpful.

Understand and appreciate that the team is just that, a team. This means that there are many different directions that a team could go, but growing together is the best way.
A parent should consider the age at which their children are
at and which phase of development they are at that particular year.

If your coach does NOT have his/her coaching levels, they
should be encouraged to do so. You can help by offering to
help with the team that one week-end a year it takes to go
back to the "class".
Most youth clubs and community organizations will have
programs in place to facilitate this process.

I encourage you to grow with the coach and encourage the coaches to grow with the children. Try to remember that not
all great coaches were great players, and not all great players will make good coaches. It is a situation of communication and the ability to teach (coach) that makes the difference.

What you do need is the love for the game and a plan to
become better. It is also a matter of building and nurturing relationaships for a life time of benefits for the entire family. Besides the parents and the teachers the coach is the most influencial person in a young player's life.

Competitive Soccer

If your child has been chosen for a more competitive team that will play other "good" teams, find out as much as you can about the requirements
of this situation. This includes, uniforms, travelling (especially competitions in far away areas), nutritional requirements, and
the coach's and club's expectations.

Yes, winning is fun and rewarding, but it isn't everything.
There are teams that have always won and when it comes
time to lose, thay can't bounce back emotionally or mentally.
Do they lack a sense of reality or respect for themselves and
or their opponents?

Comimg in second place out of ten is still an accomplishment. Coming in the top ten out of one hundred is also an accomplishment.

Making the play-offs when you are from a small remote location and your team has only been together a short time is also an accomplishment.

Keeping in mind where you have come from, who your competition is, and how far you have gone is dealing with and appreciating reality. This is also putting things into perspective for you and the children.

Try and be pro-active rather than reactive when it comes to
the development of the family and the sport of soccer.

Choosing the right equipment

Please go to the following highly recommended merchants at Soccer Equipment guide for Parents.

Be involved and evolved.

Let the the children run and have FUN.

Be the best soccer parent you can be.

For more links to useful information, go to Soccer Parent Links.