The role that parents play in the life of a soccer player has a tremendous impact on their experience. With this in mind, we have taken some time to write down some helpful reminders for all of us as we approach the upcoming season. If you should have any questions about these thoughts, please feel free to discuss it with us, the coaches.
1. Let the coaches coach: Leave the coaching to the coaches. You have entrusted the care of your player to us and we need to be free to do our job. If a player has too many coaches, it is confusing for him and his performance usually declines.
2. Support the program: Get involved. Volunteer. Help out with fundraisers, car-pool; anything to support the program. There is a list if teammates attached to this packet. If you have scheduling issues that conflict with practice or game times, you may wish to ask a teammate for a ride. In addition, we will be asking for a team mom or dad to organize cold drinks and snacks for after the game and orange slices for half time. We would also like to find a volunteer willing to set up an umbrella or awning each game to shade the bench.
3. Be your child's best fan and support and root for all players on the team. Support your child and his team unconditionally. Do not withdraw love or criticize when your child or his teammates perform poorly. Foster teamwork. Your child's teammates are not the enemy. When they are playing better than your child, your child now has a wonderful opportunity to learn. Encourage your child to work with the team.
4. Encourage your child to talk with the coaches: If your child is having difficulties in practice or games, or can't make a practice, etc., encourage them to speak directly to the coaches. This "responsibility taking" is a big part of becoming a big-time player. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game - preparation for as well as playing the game.
5. Understand and display appropriate game behavior: Remember, your child's self esteem and game performance is at stake. Be supportive, cheer, be appropriate. To perform to the best of his abilities, a player needs to focus on the parts of the game that they can control (his fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness, what the game is presenting them). If he starts focusing on what he can not control (the condition of the field, the referee, the weather, the opponent, even the outcome of the game at times), he will not play up to his ability. If he hears a lot of people telling him what to do, or yelling at the referee, it diverts his attention away from the task at hand.
6. Monitor eating and sleeping habits: Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest. Daily exercise is important as well.
7. Help your child keep his priorities straight: Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships and the other things in life beside soccer. Also, if your child has made a commitment to soccer, help him fulfill his obligation to the team.
8. Reality test: If your child has come off the field when his team has lost, but he has played his best, help him to see this as a "win". Remind him that he is to focus on "process" and not "results". His fun and satisfaction should be derived from "striving to win". Conversely, he should be as satisfied from success that occurs despite inadequate preparation and performance.
9. Keep soccer in its proper perspective: Soccer should not be larger than life for you. If your child's performance produces strong emotions in you, suppress them. Remember your relationship will continue with your children long after their competitive soccer days are over. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child's experience.
10. Have fun: That is what we will be trying to do! We will try to challenge your child to reach past their "comfort level" and improve themselves as a player, and thus, a person. We will attempt to do this in environments that are fun, yet challenging. We look forward to this process. We hope you do to!
Being a player team player requires that you take on another level of responsibility for yourself as an athlete. It is no longer enough to sheepishly admit to your coach that you are not fully ready for training, and that you have not made any investment in your own development besides the formal training time set aside with your coach. What follows are some practical suggestions that you can adhere to in order to make the most out of your individual or team training times. It is most fun to be playing the game, so we need to do everything in our power to make sure we are ready.
READY TO PLAY
Players should bring with them to every training session the following:
Put these items in your bag the night before your session so that you do not have to hunt them down and thus be late for training the next morning! Be at practice 10 - 15 minutes early, in time to get your gear on so that you are ready to start on time.
PRACTICING ON YOUR OWN
The best thing that you can do is get your friends together, set up a field and choose sides and play. Sometimes, invite players that are older than you, and better. The most important thing is that you play, whether it is 1 v 1, 2 v 2, 4 v 4, or even 2 v 3, it doesn't matter, just play. If you can not get others to join you, spend as much time with the ball as you can. Find a wall to kick against, invent juggling games for yourself, try to chip a ball into a garbage can from various distances, be creative, and have fun. Above all, realize that it is not up to your coach or your parents in order for you to get better. You have to claim responsibility for your own development. Once you realize how much fun it is to play the game with skill, you may never want to stop!