Let the Coach, Coach

Recently during the soccer season it was observed that parents were displaying some great attitudes and behaviors. Parents were cheering on their children’s team and applauding great effort and good teamwork. Phrases commonly heard were “way to go team”, “good hustle”, “good teamwork”, “good shot”, “good pass” among the many positives. It was definitely an uplifting scene to see the encouragement given by parents. However, in the midst if all those encouraging words were heard the loud and often harsh words (or rather commands and instruction) given by parents to their children during the game. Examples of these comments were “pass the ball over”, “you’re in the clear”, “you’re playing up too close”, “move over to this area”, to name just a few. These comments while meant in a helping manner actually detract from the game and the child’s ability to perform. During a typical practice coaches align players and set-up plays and assign roles to the players. In a sense they are dress rehearsals for a game. When game time comes around the players have a sense of what is expected, after all they went over it several times in practice. However, during the game these same players forget the practiced plays and their assigned roles in a major part due to parents yelling out commands and instructions. Essentially what has occurred here is that we have placed our children in a sort of tug-of-war between the parents and the coach. Parents have introduced confusion into the game now and the player is confused and anxious. This is a result of expectations. Parents want their child to excel and win, and they know their child is capable of much more. A re-defining of roles will help create a very positive environment. During a game and practice, let the coach, coach. As a parent your role is encouraging fun, to encourage participation, to support the interests of your child, and to be a good role model. Let the coach do the coaching. And during the game, let your child, his/her teammates, and the opposite team know that you appreciate the efforts. Cheer, cheer and cheer again, but let the coach do the coaching.