As a parent we have so many roles; when you step on the sidelines of an Oshkosh United event your main role is to help foster a love of soccer for the players. If players don’t love to play, they won’t continue to play. If a player doesn’t love to play, they are not going to be willing to put in extra practice time at home so they won’t make it very far. As such, one of our main focus points is to create a positive culture.
Coaches are soccer educators. We have instruction which is training and we have tests, which are games. Our goal is for the players to be self sufficient in their decision making. As the players get older the number of decisions that every player has to make all the time are so numerous that one person or a group of people can not possibly tell everyone what to do. Players need to be able to make their own decisions. If a parent starts yelling instructions, “pass it to….”, “shoot”, etc. then the parent is making the decision and not the player. The parent probably means well, but in reality they are hindering the development of the player. What happens if mom or dad that micromanages everything their kid does gets an important call or a has to reply to a text...what in the world will the player do for that time period???
Imagine if you were sitting at your desk doing your job and someone was standing 10 yards away screaming directions at you. So let’s talk about the why….why do parents yell instructions to their players? Quite often, it is because the parents don’t want their child to make mistakes. That thinking is incredibly flawed. We want the players to make mistakes because those mistakes become teachable moments that allow the players to learn so they can make better decisions moving forward. If we as parents yell at the players and tell them what to do we take away the players’ ability to make decisions. Relating this back to the classroom, how many of you stand outside your kids classroom and yell instructions at them through the window when they are at school? Yelling instructions at a soccer player during a game isn’t any better.
To hit this nail in a little further, sometimes what parents say to their kids is the exact opposite of what we as coaches want. Example: At a practice the coach talked to players about defending and how if you are outnumbered you want to give space to delay the other team which gives your teammates time to recover. Now it’s game time and the player was doing exactly what they worked on in practice and then the parents start to yell “get the ball” which causes confusion to the player of who to listen to, the coach or mom and dad?
We ask that you not use words that are words of instruction examples like:
Not to the middle
Words that can be used instead:
Keep it up
You can do this
The great car ride!
Avoid a pre-game speech and a post-game analysis. The coaches will take care of getting the players ready during the warm-up and they will analyze the game to know what to work on at practice the next time. We still want parents to talk about and enjoy the game with their players but better things to ask before a game is do you have everything and after the game might be best to ask did you have fun, what did you learn or where do you want to go for ice cream? Your role in these situations is to be the loving/supportive parents we know you are!