Advice for Soccer Parents: Practice Manners

Pardon the deluge of sports topics this week. I am knee-deep in practices and games so navigating this sporting life is top of mind.

I highly recommend all parents of soccer players read this blog I found in the Wall Street Journal.  10 Things Soccer Parents Should Know is one of those no-duh articles with advice that makes complete sense that parents often ignore.  Read it here.

Aden Kickin It

As I have said in this space before, I am not as invested in my kids winning as some of the other parents I encounter because I ‘m not as engaged in sports. Wilson and my boys could tell you details about games they played 3 years ago– who was on base or in goal, the pitch or foul count, the weather — but somehow can’t remember where they took their cleats off last night.

The scores and plays are lost on me, but I can tell you the times they refused to speak to me in the car for 45 minutes on the way home from a loss, or were on a natural high of winning and ice cream that kept them rehashing highlights for days. I’m always more concerned with their moods than their records.

The list in the WSJ blog comes from someone who has seen it all as a coach for 22 years.  It’s critical of certain types of parents, but his message rings true.

I don’t think I’ve ever yelled instructions to my kid during a game. If I did, I’d look like a blockhead: I don’t have the first clue about what they should be doing. But I’ve witnessed almost every situation he describes, from my canvas chair on the sidelines.

I love how he ends the piece with “All the meaningful work is done in practice.” That seems logical and a good mantra to tell your kid on those days he/she doesn’t want to go. But it also reminded me that parenting is about practice and every game is an opportunity to practice being the best athletic supporters we can be.

5 responses to “Advice for Soccer Parents: Practice Manners

  1. Well said!

  2. Glad I got the coaches’ seal of approval! But neither of you are examples of bad behavior!

  3. Great piece, honey. Now you just have to explain to me what a “foul count” is! Seriously, though, as a spectating parent and coach for over 6 years now, I continue to try to improve my performance as well (work in progress, I know). But maybe that is part of the issue – parents also need to practice (their behavior) in order to improve. And what could be a better example for our kids – both the effort to get better, as well as the good behavior on the sidelines. I think articles like yours, and Mr. Beal’s, are a great help to parents and coaches – I know it helps me in my efforts to raise my game.

    Thanks, Coach!

  4. Do I have to be the best “athletic supporter” ? Aren’t there less expensive ones at Target that work just as well?? hee hee. Thanks for sharing the article. I thought it was great. We are a double coaching family and it is easy to lose perspective and yell and coach to parents unreasonable expectations. Many, many thanks for this reminder of the higher ideals of coaching and parenting that we (personally and universally) need to work toward.

  5. Great article. So well said!