Are you a [tag-tec]soccer parent[/tag-tec] that encourages their child and their teammates during a soccer game no matter how they may be playing or what the score is? Or are you a soccer parent that screams and yells at not only your own child but everyone else including players, officials and soccer coaches? During my experience [tag-tec]coaching youth soccer[/tag-tec], I have found the majority of the parents to be encouraging and supportive of both the players and myself as coach. However, I have had a few parents whose behavior could probably be described as being “out of control”!
I had one [tag-tec]soccer parent[/tag-tec] chase me into the car park yelling obscenities at me because they felt their child was not getting enough game time and another yelling abuse at me because I was not playing their child in the position they thought he was best suited to. I’m sure most coaches that have been [tag-tec]coaching youth soccer[/tag-tec] for a while will have experienced some behavior like this and have their own stories to tell.
Sport is a passion for a lot of people and soccer is a very passionate game. We all love it, that’s why as coaches we are involved in coaching youth soccer and why as parents we choose for our children to play the game. However, some [tag-tec]soccer parents[/tag-tec] get wrapped up in the competition and have unrealistic expectations of their child and some let their passion and emotion get the better of them and lose control. This becomes a distraction for the players, coaches and officials and more importantly an embarrassment for their own child.
The local [tag-tec]soccer association[/tag-tec] that I am involved in has this year recorded a marked increase in the number of parents/supporters evicted from the ground by match officials for yelling abuse. Our club has had to introduce a code of conduct for parents and supporters which outlines what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.
Children learn by observing and observing the behavior of a parent yelling out constantly is not a good behavior to be mirrored. Both soccer parents and [tag-tec]soccer coaches[/tag-tec] should reinforce the message to children that [tag-tec]soccer[/tag-tec] is about character and self-discipline while understanding there is no such thing as perfection, we all make mistakes, players, referees and coaches alike.
As a coach involved in coaching youth soccer and as soccer parents, we all have a role to play in leading by example. Let’s demonstrate to our youth soccer players the type of behavior and sportsmanship that they should be exhibiting on the soccer field. Always encourage do not criticize. Provide support not only for your child but their teammates as well and always take the opportunity to increase your knowledge of the rules and the game.