By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
I get into a lot of debate with many coaches who attend courses. The debate is always lively and healthy for the most part as coaches look to convince others that their teams' formations, playing style etc. is truly the answer.
The healthy debate comes crashing to the ground when we move onto one of the six tasks of a coach that is entitled "Managing the Performance Environment." In this unit, coaches are asked to consider all the things in and out of their control or range of influence that impact their ability to train a team. The conversation quickly boils down to “soccer parents” and the damage they do. It takes a good deal of effort to calm the class down and remind them of the definite TRUTH. That without a synergy, trust and cooperation of the three units shown below a child never fulfill their potential.
We work hard to remind the coaches that parents are a vital part of the soccer development picture and that without the support of the parents, players are destined to fail to reach their maximum potential. So what is the issue? You decide from the list below.
• Forget the reasons why they first had their kids play – to have fun and make friends
• Start to believe their kid is the greatest ever and forget the meaning of team
• Lose sight of development and start on a win at all costs crusade
• Forget they are a role model and openly critique the coach and other players on the team
• Believe they know more than the coach
• Rather than support the coach, are looking for revolution as soon as possible.
• Decide the parents are the enemy and should not be communicated with
• Lose track of the fact that every kid deserves to play and develop a win at all costs mentality
• Forget that above all else, kids want to have fun, make friends, learn skills and get to make decisions
• Consider parents beneath them and their opinions not worth hearing.
• Treat youth sports like it’s the World Cup where kids become professional players rather than people.
I could go on but hopefully the point is made. Whichever of the reasons above, you thought were worthy of sacrificing your child’s future in sports I would suggest you're wrong. Yes, I think both coaches and parents wander on a path that offers true support for the players in their care. Perhaps with no organized soccer being played, now is a great time to take a step back, reflect and reconsider if you are doing all within your power to make your child’s sporting endeavors the life changing experiences they could be.