Parents play a critical role in their child’s soccer development, but have you ever really examined whether you’re supporting your player’s development or hindering it? How can you support and encourage your child without getting in the way?
Here are few behaviors I’ve seen from parents that can have a dramatic impact on kids and their soccer development:
1. Parents don’t encourage their players to make mistakes
Instead of the kid who passes the ball all the time because they are afraid to take on a player 1v1, the brave player will learn when it’s best to dribble and when it’s best to pass, without hesitation or fear.
2. Parents don’t engage their players in the development process
How much do you know about what your player is working on during training? I encourage you to find out! This doesn’t mean calling up the coach or club and asking for their practice plans.
Instead, engage your child in a conversation about skills or ideas that they’re learned.
3. Parents coach and cheer for the wrong things on game day
Even if you are a USSF A-licensed coach, do not coach on the sidelines unless you are the coach of that particular team. Instead, stick to basic encouragement and cheering. Did you find out (after engaging your kid in the development process) that your child is working on mastering a specific move during training, or building confidence in using their left foot? If you see them do that in a game, go crazy and let them know you saw them try it.
4. Parents analyze the game with their player afterwards
The best thing you can say to your player after a game is how much fun you had watching them. If they engage you in a postgame talk, go for it. But instead of a full-game analysis, try picking out some things they did in the game that you know he or she has been working on.