March 14, 2013
The game is over, time to recover and celebrate! You had an absolute blast watching your child play soccer; make sure to let him or her know how proud you are of their effort after the final whistle blows. Help your child recover from all the action with food, friends and fun.
Good Game/Bad Game
• Tough day? Be positive – If your child is frustrated with how he or she played, offer to practice in the back-
yard. Reinforce and emphasize your child’s effort; the next game will be better. Create achievable goals that aren’t linked to stats and scoring.
• Create a positive car ride home – Use the car ride home for talking through your child’s take on the game.
Recognize great goals or plays. If your child did something special (from high-fiving an opponent for a nice play to making a great save in goal), express how cool that was for you to watch. Quiz your kid; ask them the names of players on the other team, who they saw at the concession stand and the color of the ref’s hair. This will increase your child’s environmental awareness and keep your family soccer talk interesting. Do not use the car ride home to coach your child. The car should be a sacred place for your child to relax and reflect upon the day’s events.
• Reward hard work with a treat – Celebrate solid effort and a good, fun game. Offer to have friends over for a slumber party or go out for ice cream after the game.
• Show them you’re proud – Show your child what a good job he or she did by posting pictures or videos of the game for family and friends.
• Address playing time concerns
• Be supportive; let your child know he or she looked really good on the field. • If your child isn’t playing much, talk privately with the coach to determine why, and ask how your child
can develop a stronger role on the team. • Check the club handbook to understand the policies governing playing time.
• Prepare for hungry and thirsty athletes – Provide replenishing food and hydration for your child right after the game. All that running around burns a lot of energy and soccer players need to refuel.
• Encourage discussion – Ask your child questions about the game. Getting children to talk about their on-field emotions or specific plays helps them learn, understand and deal with frustrations, as well as prepare for future games.
• Make sure everyone stays loose – Encourage your child to stretch after the game. Just because your child is young doesn’t mean he or she can’t get hurt. And teaching stretching now will encourage good future fitness habits.
• Maintain equipment – Teach your athletes good habits by having them care for their own equipment. Hey, washing mud off your cleats after the game can be fun!
• Start building excitement for the next game – It’s never too early to start thinking about soccer! There’s always next time.
• Use your backyard or local park - Encourage your child to practice at home or play pick-up with friends. Get tips from your coach or find practice drills online to organize in your backyard.
Always end on a positive note! Ultimately, we want our children to create bonds and character through the soccer experience. Our role as parents is to encourage and support our children as they navigate the world of sport. There are always ups and downs in sports, as in life, and our players will be well-prepared as students and young adults if they can learn to adapt to new situations, cooperate and grow through exposure to new people.
Your soccer season will be filled with memories that last a lifetime! Enjoy your time as a soccer parent! And remember the three essentials: kid, coffee and camera. (Oh, and ball!)