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08/17/13

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FAN SUPPORT CAN BE THE GREATEST THING EVER, OR IT CAN BE A REAL PROBLEM

"In light of the recent success of the High School team, I wanted to let everyone know how awesome is was to look across the field and see the stands packed and over flow crowd covering our entire half of the side lines. We are used to seeing crowds of maybe a hundred folks, total fans for both teams, concession and gate workers included! I know the team could feel the support and gained energy from the cheers, a definite asset.
 The only negative is that the larger the crowd, the better chance of having a problem. During our post season run, word has gotten back to me that some of our fans tend to get out of control and way to vocal, in a negative fashion.  While I know that our officiating was not as great as one would expect for tournament play, and disagreements were in order. I am not in favor of people taking it any farther that questioning the call with a moan from the crowd or “come on sir” from our coaches or the team captains. There is NO place for the crowd to take complaining to an escalated and super negative, almost threatening level. This can lead to other problems, others joining in and creating the mob mentality, and just teaching poor sportsmanship to our young people. While I agree the calls being protested were questionable at best, the constant badgering of a referee will never change them into a good referee, no way, no how. In all my years of playing, coaching and watching sports; I have not seen an official change the way they call a game, (for the better anyway), because of the crowd. To the contrary, I see them holding it against our team. We, as a County, already have a reputation for having undesirable fans. This is the word from referee friends of mine. Those same friends admitted that while they won’t “get them back” with calls, but if there is a “close call” or possible “no call” situation, the heckling could help them make the decision.
 Going forward we need everything to work in our favor, so to help our cause and to start a new trend: JUST CHEER! If you struggle in this department, it would benefit us if you supported us from a far. "

 

Coach Shannon

 

Simple Guidelines for Youth Soccer Parents

 

 In negotiating the world of youth soccer, it is helpful to the players, the coach and the parents or guardians to understand what is expected of them. Some simple guidelines for parents/guardians helps establish the rules. Key to success is to remember that kids play soccer to have fun and to enjoy themselves. Keep big rules for big kids and the pros. For the younger players keep it simple so they can have fun. 1. Understand the coach and team philosophy. If you don't know the goals of the team (for example, player development versus competition), ask them to be spelled out at the meeting. 2. Send your children ready to play. They should be properly fed and clothed, and they should arrive on time. 3. Support the team, but do not instruct the players. It confuses your child and others, and undermines the efforts of the coach. 4. Avoid confusion when cheering. Do not say anything that is a command, such as "Pass it," "Shoot," or "Boot the ball." 5. Use positive encouragement instead. This would include such comments as "Way to go," "Nice effort," or "Stay with it." 6. Refrain from speaking to officials, unless it is to say thank you after the game. If you have questions or concerns with the referees, relay the information to the parent manager, who will take it to the coach. 7. Speak to the coach at the proper time. If you have concerns, use the telephone. If it is about a game, let the dust settle for a couple of days first. 8. Report to the coach all injuries, special medical conditions (such as asthma) or extenuating circumstances (such as lack of sleep or family crisis) that may affect the player. 9. Remember, youth soccer is "the game for all kids!" Support your child and all the other children on the field....praise success, ignore failure. The children are learning and having fun. They are pros.

 

 How to be a Great Soccer Parent

By Neal Frink

 I am both a parent and a coach. I stopped coaching my older son last year and now just coach the younger one. Over the past year I've been learning how to be a better parent/spectator. It ain't easy, but I'm trying. Here are a few of my thoughts on the topic. Sit away from the field. I have been finding it easier to enjoy the game when I move my chair further from the field. The combination of being close to the action and sitting in the middle of other engaged parents produces an edgy kind of energy that all too frequently gets the best of me. When possible, I like to find a spot where I can see more of the field a nearby hill or the top row of stands if they are available. Getting a little distance provides both literal and figurative perspective. At distance, it becomes more clear that I am watching children play. At distance, I am less likely to impose the same expectations I have when I watch the EPL, Series A, or even the MLS. It's also easier to more accurately judge whether the AR blew an off-side call AND easier not to care about it. Cheer, but not too loudly. I recall after one of my high school soccer games asking my mother not to cheer so loudly on the sideline. The next home game, I was a little bummed when I did not see her in the crowd when the game started. After the game I found her and gave her flack for showing up late to the game. She told me she'd been there the whole time, but had stayed toward the back of the crowd so as not to embarrass me. I think that was supposed to make me feel guilty. I gave her a hug, thanked her, and said I would know where to look for her at the next game. I think a child's hearing is particularly tuned to hear his parent's voice, even over the din of the crowd. And yes, kids can find their own parents to be particularly embarrassing. Don't coach from the sidelines. Last Sunday I was coaching my younger son's game. One of our players stripped the ball from an attacker near our end line and played it through the penalty area where it was intercepted and slammed into the back of our net. His mom's voice rang from the sideline Daniel, NOT in the middle. He came straight over to me in tears and said I know coach, I should have kicked it out of bounds. I told him it was OK, and NO, I'd rather have him not kick the ball out of bounds, we learn to balance risk and reward by playing soccer on the whole field. But he continued, coach, you don't understand, I'm not upset about THAT, I'm mad at my mother. Wow! A teachable moment for me. When I'm on the parent's sideline I need to be mindful not to undermine the coach, but more importantly not to undermine my son. Withhold advice. Ferenc Puskas scored 84 goals in 85 international games for Hungary. On receiving honors for his soccer career, he is quoted as saying I want to thank my father for all the advice he never gave me. And his father knew something about soccer they played on the same Hungarian team when Ferenc was 16! Sometimes after a game one of my boys will ask if I will shoot on them in goal. I need to indulge them more frequently when they make that request. Perhaps, like Ferenc, they'd get more out of playing a little soccer with their old man than hearing my advice. Ice cream! When I was a boy a got rides to most of my youth soccer games with Mr. Reiter, my teammate Eddie's dad. After every game, win or loss, Mr. Reiter would stop and treat the whole carload to ice cream. The quality and consistency of Mr. Reiter's kindness and generosity stays with me long after the memories of any of those games has faded. Now, on the way to my boys' soccer games we always scout out the UDF where we'll stop and get ice cream after the game. With a tip-of-the-hat to Mr. Reiter, it's a legacy I hope they'll each pass on to their kids.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Nine Things Parents Don't Get About Kids and Sports
 
 
During car rides to games or practice, kids don't want you to tell them how to do this or that.
("I am not stupid," or "I know how to play the sport I play," are typical responses.)

Kids can get psyched for a game without parental help.

("I hate it when my parent says, 'Are you ready? We're going to win,' like they're the one playing." )

It's your duty as a parent to sit quietly and watch your kids do wonderful things.

(Kids get bummed out when you miss games or yak it up too much with friends in the stands.)

If you don't know what you're talking about, kids don't want you to talk.

(Typical comments: " Parents think they know the rules, but they don't." "My mom asks annoying questions.'' And ''I hate when my mom tells me to do things even when she doesn't know the first thing about sports.")

Even if you do know what you're talking about, kids don't want you to talk.

("I hate when parents tell us to do the exact opposite of what the coaches say," "If your parent isn't the coach, he or she shouldn't try to be one.")

Kids wish parents would practice what you preach about sportsmanship.

("My dad always wants me to he a 'good sport,' but a lot of the time he blames the loss on the ref." "Arguing with the refs is not only embarrassing, but it takes up time." )

Kids often can't hear a parent yelling when they're concentrating on the game.

(Sometimes, they can. Either way, they don't like it. "Parents yell advice a player doesn't hear because they're so into playing the game." I feel embarrassed when my parents yell so loud that the whole town can hear," and "They yell and scream and look like dorks.")

After they lose, kids don't want to be told it doesn't matter.

(Typical reactions: ""I hate when we get knocked out of the playoffs and parents say, 'You'll get them next time!" "When parents try to cheer you up after a loss, all they do is remind you of the score." )

After they lose, kids don't want to be told that it does matter.

("Parents take losses harder than we do". You win some, you lose some, no big deal! "Get over it!")

Kids just want to have fun.

"Parents just don't get this" kids say.

 
 
 
 
Undermining a Coach:  Parental Interference
 

by Dr. Lance Green

Chairman of the Sports Sciences Department at Tulane University and Louisiana Soccer Association State Staff Coach

 

Imagine the following scenario. As a player rides home from a game with his parents, the father begins his critique of the game. He begins by telling his son that; "Your coach is making a big mistake with the way he’s handling you. Everyone knows that you’re better than Ralph is and should be one of the starting forwards. What is he thinking?" What ramifications does this behavior have for the player? For the coach?

Initially, we must look at the role that parents have in the soccer experience. Ideally, parents serve as the primary support system for their child’s involvement. This means that they look at the experience from the child’s point of view and offer positive reinforcement for their child’s efforts, no matter what! It is important to note that the above scenario is often the result of this very perspective. The parent is attempting to boost their child’s self-concept of ability as a player. Unfortunately, the method of accomplishing this worthy task is inappropriate. It violates a cardinal rule in developing self-concept, i.e.; it attempts to build the child’s concept of self by putting others down. This serves as a shaky foundation on which to build esteem. It refers to external factors (i.e., the dumb coach) as the source of self-concept rather than focusing attention on the true source of self-esteem, i.e., the internal feelings and perceptions of the child concerning his own skill level, place on the team, or in the world at large.

Of primary concern is the resulting effect of this approach on the child. Undermining the coach in this manner forces the child to choose between two of the most influential adults in his life and creates confusion. Athletically, the athlete exhibits this confusion on the field. Concentration becomes divided during the game with the athlete never really committing to his ‘task at hand.’ He becomes literally frozen in his tracks and is unable to focus on his duties. Individually, the child is torn between the love for his parents and the respect for the coach. Each are integral parts to the development of his self-concept of ability on the field and as a human being.

In essence, the coach’s position as ‘lead decision-maker’ for the team has been placed in question. In many cases, he remains unaware that this problem even exists because the parent chooses to maintain a dialogue with his son, but not with the coach. So, how should this be handled? What should a parent do when he or she feels that their child is being treated unfairly? The parent in two steps should handle this scenario. The first step is to refrain from undermining the coach with his child. Instead, the parent should pursue a dialogue based on the effort his son is putting forth in the role that he has been given. The parent should be able to identify specific tasks that his son is doing well and pay compliments to them. These could include passing skills, aggressive play,

 

communication on the field, punctuality, etc. By offering positive reinforcement for task related behaviors, the athlete’s self-concept of ability is enhanced.

Secondly, the parent has every right to speak with the coach about the role his son has on the team. This conversation should take place away from the field, after practice when no one is around or over the phone if necessary. The approach should be one of ‘information seeking’ rather than confrontation. For example, the parent could begin the conversation with questions; "I’m interested in my son’s role on the team. What do you see as the reasons for his role as a non-starter? What does he need to improve in order to move into a starting role?" The coach should be able to identify specific skills, which are in need of improvement as well as a description of what others are doing who have earned their starting position. The parent should also be able to describe his reasoning for questioning the coach. This reasoning should not be centered on the ‘fact that everyone knows…’ or on past performances at younger levels. It should be versed in equally compelling evidence of superior play. In the final analysis, at least four possible outcomes exist:

1) The coach agrees to start the player

2) The coach agrees to look for progress and give the player every chance to work his way into the starting lineup

3) The parent agrees to disagree with the coach yet maintain a positive approach with his son

4) The parent opts to change teams

It is critical that the "Athletic Triangle" (composed of coach, athlete and parent) functions in an atmosphere of open communication. It is equally critical that the child’s welfare is put above all else. This includes adult inadequacies in communication, problems at home that are carried onto the playing field, parental egos, coaching incompetence, and inferior skill levels on the part of the athlete. The game is for the kids! Adults are there to organize, supervise, teach, and offer support for the efforts displayed on the field. In some cases, parents are left with the task of being supportive of their child in spite of disagreements with coaches.

 

Parental Support

The Key to Peak Performance

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. This includes motivating, psyching your child for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your player to these coaches and they need to be free to do their 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.
  3. Be you child's best fan: Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly. Your child should never have to perform to win your love.
  4. Support and root for all players on the team: 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.
  5. Do not bribe or offer incentives: Your job is not to motivate. Leave this to the coaching staff. Bribes will distract your child from properly concentrating in practice and game situations.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Monitor your child's stress level at home: Keep an eye on the player to make sure that they are handling stress efeectively from the various activities in his life.
  9. Monitor eating and sleeping habits: Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!

 

 

 
 

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This site was last updated 10/22/12