They said that a soccer team supporter is an “extra player” to help the team win. That can be said of parents who are always supporting their kids either from the sideline or providing everything their kid needs in order to play and enjoy soccer. A study published by The Sport Journal revealed the 20 support behaviors of soccer parents of 6-year-olds.
The study has proved some shocking results and cleared some myths against soccer parents. While the number of participants is just a mere fraction of the thousands of parents in the US, it is still interesting to look at their response.
This post will not discuss how the study was conducted but 145 parents took part and their kids were around 6 years old. The list below is arranged from the highest score down to the least.
What I will be doing is to discuss each result and give my opinions and suggestions so that you may learn from it as well.
Follow me as we dive into the topic.
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1. Attending kid’s soccer games
Survey question: Attending my child’s soccer games
Attending kid’s soccer game scores (no pun intended) the highest point in the survey.
This shows parents are supporting their kids by taking the time and effort to watch their kids play soccer.
Kids get confident and play better when they have mom or dad at the sideline cheering them on and ready to step in should anything goes wrong.
This presents an opportunity to develop a positive parent-kid relationship and meeting other parents just like you.
2. Support kid after losing game
Survey question: Showing my child love and affection when he/she is upset or disappointed after a soccer game.
Secondly, it is great to know that parents are supporting their kids after losing a soccer game.
Losing a soccer game can be devastating to a kid because he or she not ready to cope with failure.
This is when you should intervene to turn around the situation by giving encouragement and positive feedback about your kid’s performance.
Here is a post: 4-Year-Old Saying I Am A Loser After Losing A Soccer Game to give you some tips.
3. Purchasing soccer gear
Survey question: Purchasing and providing necessary soccer equipment (correct sized soccer ball, shin guards, cleats)
Parents are supportive when it comes to buying the gear needed to play soccer and for training, so I am impressed.
Soccer gear can minimize injuries and enhance performance so make sure you choose the correct ones.
You can check 10 Soccer Protective Gear For Kids – Parents Guide for more information.
4. Providing snacks for the team
Survey question: Purchasing and providing snacks to the team when asked by the coaches
I hope this is the right kind of snacks and not the unhealthy types but this shows most parents are very supportive of their kids, the team, and the coach.
One study shows that kids are exposed to unhealthy foods during sports which can lead to obesity instead of being fit.
Do not forget to provide plenty of water as well because kids will get dehydrated when playing.
Please read Foods Your Kid Should Eat Before A Soccer Game to give you some guidance.
5. Attending kids soccer practices
Survey question: Attending my child’s practices.
This is the same as attending soccer games but the fact that it is in the 5th position means that some parents do not attend soccer practices.
If you read number 1 above you will understand what you will miss when you do not attend practices.
Please make all efforts to attend your kid’s soccer practices because you are investing in your kid’s wellbeing and development.
You might need to read What Are The Benefits Of Playing Soccer?
6. Communicate With Coach By Email & Phone
Survey question: Communicating with my child’s soccer coach(es) through email or phone throughout the season.
Parents revealed that they actively communicated with their kid’s coaches by email and phone throughout the season.
That is understandable because it means parents are working together with the coach to ensure that their kid’s training runs smoothly.
This may include organizing the next training session or a soccer game.
Or, it is a good time to ask the coach for clarification of club rules, etc.
7. Cheering the kid and team when playing well
Survey question: Freely voicing encouragement/approval during the game when my child or teammates are playing well.
Showing your approval by cheering for your kid and team when they are playing well is natural.
It’s time to encourage them to keep up the good performance and score more goals.
Your kid will need your feedback and when you respond to his or her performance he or she will be motivated.
Before careful not to overdo it because other parents will not be impressed with your behavior.
8. Post-game talk with their kid
Survey question: Giving my child advice and feedback after each game.
Giving feedback and advice to the kid after a soccer game lets the kid know that you are actually watching your kid play.
That will mean a lot to your kid.
I encourage you to make this a habit to talk (and listen) to your kid after the game.
You can talk about his or her best performance, how to improve a particular skill, and listen to his or her feedback.
Do not encourage bad sportsmanship.
Feedback from your kid is important because you will know if he or she showing signs of burnout, overtraining, or just need a longer recovery time.
9. Listening to kid’s choice not to play soccer
Survey question: Listening – if my child preferred not to play soccer, I would not push him/her to sign up again.
If your kid does not want to play soccer you should respect that decision as it is not a good idea to force him or her to do something that he or she does not like.
There are a number of reasons why your kid decided to quit soccer so you should further it investigate.
Quitting soccer could be a result of overtraining and fatigue so your kid might need to take a rest for a while.
Also, look out for any injury your kid might not disclose or any issues with teammates and coach.
It might be a good time to introduce other sports to keep your kid active throughout the year.
10. Pre-game talk with the kid
Survey question: Giving my child advice and playing instructions before each game.
Pre-game talk with your kid is valuable and necessary as it is time to psych up and motivate your kid.
This is a moment when your kid really listens to you so make sure you drive your message home.
It is also the time to talk about sportsmanship, fair play, and to accept whether his or her team wins or loses.
11. Talk with coach post-game
Survey question: Communicating with my child’s soccer coach(es) after soccer games.
Talking to the coach after the game is a chance to get his or her feedback on your kid’s performance.
12. Talk with coach pre-game
Survey question: Communicating with my child’s soccer coach(es) before soccer games.
As long as you are not telling the coach how to do his or her job, it is perfectly fine.
The coach should be your friend and a friendly chat does not hurt.
Do not ask the coach for any special treatment for your kid.
13. Teaching soccer at home
Survey question: Teaching soccer skills and providing soccer instructions to my child at home.
This is quite startling but understandable!
About half of the parents surveyed indicated that they did not teach their kids soccer at home.
Maybe the parents do not have enough time or they have never played soccer so they cannot teach it.
Don’t depend on the coach for soccer training as there are other kids to train as well and your kid may not receive enough attention and ball time.
If you want your kid to learn soccer skills faster and stay ahead of his or her teammates you must provide extra training.
If you don’t know where to start, do not worry, I have you covered.
14. Cheering the coach when making the good decision
Survey question: Freely voicing encouragement/approval during the game when my child’s coach(es) makes good decisions.
Giving positive feedback to the coach when making good decisions helps motivate him or her.
Remember that coaching can be a stressful responsibility so be ready to forgive when a certain decision goes bad.
You should always support the coach no matter what.
15. Talk with the coach during the game
Survey question: Communicating with my child’s soccer coach(es) during soccer games.
Unless spoken to or urgent, do not talk to the coach during the game because he or she will be very busy.
Do not even think about coaching the coach either.
Wait for the halftime break or after the game when the coach is free.
16. Talk with kid during halftime break
Survey question: Giving my child playing instructions or advice while he/she is on the bench or during halftime.
Taking to your kid at halftime is great to give feedback on performance, some motivation, and some refreshment for hydration.
But don’t forget that the coach needs to talk to the team as well so don’t take up too much time.
Also, remember it is the coach’s job to tell the team how to play not you, giving conflicting advice will confuse your kid and undermine the coach.
17. Giving instructions during game
Survey Question: Giving my child playing instructions or advice during the soccer game while he/she is on the field.
Unless you are the coach you should stay away from giving instructions to your kid or the team during the game because it is not your job.
You will confuse your kid and the team because they don’t know who to listen to, you or the coach?
The coach will not be happy at all and I am sure other parents will be annoyed with you as well.
No doubt you are undermining the efforts of your coach and the team to have fun and winning the game.
Why don’t you just relax a bit, sit back, and enjoy the game no matter who wins?
18. Letting the referee know when not happy with a decision
Survey question: Letting the referee know when I am not pleased with a call or lack of a call during the game.
There is nothing wrong when you politely ask the referee about a decision because you are not clear about the rule.
If the referee made a mistake, after all, he or she is human, there are proper channels to forward your complaint.
Refereeing is not an easy job and they are constantly being under pressure from the parents and coaches.
Some referees and linesmen/women are volunteers who gave their time to assist, why don’t you try it sometimes?
19. Voicing frustration with kid and team when making mistakes
Survey question: Freely voicing my frustration/opinions during the game when my child or their teammates makes a mistake.
Naturally, parents will be disappointed if their kid or the team makes any mistakes during the game.
It is not a good idea to shout angrily at your kid or the team because their motivation will drop and other parents will be annoyed at you.
The only way your kid will make fewer mistakes is to develop his or her soccer skills
20. Voicing frustration with the coach during a game
Survey question: Freely voicing my frustration/opinions during the game when I don’t agree with the coach’s decisions.
Finally, the least score goes to parents voicing frustrations to the coach when not happy with his or her decisions during a game.
Look, the coach is already stressed dealing with the kids and try to give everyone equal playtime.
Sometimes you feel like it takes ages before your kid gets his or her turn to play or taken off the field too early.
Talk to the coach later.
Confrontation is not cool at all.
Stop embarrassing your kid, spouse, or girlfriend/boyfriend with this bad behavior, please.
Here is my take on the result of this survey.
Parents are showing a lot of positive support to their kids, the club, and the coach, there is no doubt about that.
They cooperate with the coach by bringing snacks and although not mentioned, they could be assisting the coach in running the club as well.
The survey shows parents always provide emotional support for their kids when they are happy or sad.
One myth that has been dispelled here is that soccer parents are a crazy group that always fight on the sideline with the referee, coach, and other parents.
There may be some disagreements and that is normal when things become competitive but as shown in this survey soccer parents are good people.
I hope you enjoyed this post and please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Enjoy soccer and be safe.
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