First and foremost, it’s about teaching the love of the sport not the love of winning. Sure, who doesn’t like to win, but what message do we send players if that’s the only time they’re praised for playing a sport, or conversely, we constantly tell them what they are doing wrong on the field?
As parents and coaches, we need to remember that kids play sports because it’s fun and the #1 reason they quit is because it’s no longer fun. The following is a good reminder from Proactive Coaching about the 12 simple rules of sport parents conduct that will help keep the experience fun for you, your player, the team and the coach. We’ve also shared a few ideas about what to do instead.
Rule #4 – Do not coach your child in games or training.
It’s confusing for the player to hear from both sides of the field during a game and often disrupts his/her focus. Instead watch what the players are learning in practice or ask the coach about what specific skills the team is focusing on and praise players for accomplishing these skills on the field. And of course if you want to help coach during training, be sure to ask your coach if he’d like help, he/she is likely to welcome the additional support.
Rule #7 – Avoid criticizing any player on the pitch or at training.
Positive reinforcement is a much greater motivator for anyone and teaching kids to embrace failure and risk taking is an important skill in athletes. Instead, praise players for what they do immediately after a mistake. Maybe he/she hustled back or didn’t give up. It’s important praise the reaction to failure, and create a safe to fail environment.
#9 – Do not force your child to participate in a sport.
It is certainly one thing to want your child to finish a commitment if he/she asked to play soccer and then mid-season decides it’s not the sport for him/her, but you don’t want to force the issue. If they aren’t interested in playing any longer let him/her watch and cheer teammates on from the sidelines. And if they aren’t interested in playing to begin with, give them time and accept their goals as you help them find their own passion for playing sports.
#12 Applaud the opposition as well as your own team.
As spectators you have a great influence over the enjoyment and success of any game and developing a love of the sport for your own children as well as others. Positive encouragement across both sides will have a lasting effect on helping instill a sense of achievement and self-esteem. As role models, it’s our job to help lift up every kid to feel he/she has done the best they could.
Cheering for both teams is also a great way to teach sportsmanship and reflects the club’s mission to create a safe, fun and competitive sports environment for everyone, which is a reputation we want to maintain at Wells Branch Soccer Association. Thanks for helping us set the standard for the North Austin, Pflugerville, and Round Rock areas.
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