By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
It seems there is a need to be very specific with the types of behavior that are expected from the soccer parents that help support the culture that should exist within youth sports. Sadly, it appears that in many clubs, the parents are left in a vacuum with little or no support. Please consider the list below as what might be considered as reliable guideposts that if all followed, the kids would be having much more fun!
- Avoid coaching your kids and giving them any instructions during the game. They have enough to think about while they play.
- Never ever comment on another child’s play, whether a kid is on your team or another team.
- No negative comments are to be made to the referee at any time.
- Applaud good play and sportsmanship by both teams.
- View the other team's parents as partners on a journey that you wish to help.
- Never criticize another parent's behavior at any time. If conversations are needed, leave them to the coach.
- You are likely to have guest players at different times for a variety of reasons. Please always treat guests with the upmost respect and kindness.
- If you have comments on playing time, keep them in your head and have the conversation privately with the coach. In doing so, know that as soon as you mention any other kid rather than your own, the conversation ends.
- At the end of the game, respectfully applaud the other team and the referee.
- On the car ride home, the only thing you should ever say is “I enjoyed watching you play today.” Never get into your expert thoughts on their development.
- If you feel the need to talk with the coach, they should always be open to calm and considered discussion on your child and his/her development. Note these conversations are best held in a calm, reasoned manner and that they probably have more expertise in coaching so their thoughts may be worth hearing.
- Realize learning is not linear and it is okay if they were great last week and not so good this week. Professional teams struggle with consistency and youth players may struggle too.