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Parent Guidelines


KEYS TO Peak Parental Performance


Youth soccer clubs are always seeking ways to rein in parental enthusiasm without dampening it. The Stone Mountain George Youth Soccer Association recently distributed a clear, concise set of standards addressing that delicate balance :

Let the coaches' coach.

This includes goal setting and psyching up your child for practice and post game critiques. Having more than one "coach" confuses children.

Do not bribe or offer incentives.

Leave motivation to the coach. Offering money for scoring goals, for example, distracts your child from concentrating properly in practices and games. Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly.

Support all players on the team.

Your child's teammates are not the enemy. When they are playing better than your child, he has a wonderful opportunity to learn.

Support the program.

Get involved by volunteering, helping with fundraisers, car-pooling, or however else you can.

Encourage your child to talk with the coaches.

"Taking responsibility" - whether about playing difficulties or missing an upcoming match - is a big part of soccer.

Understand and display appropriate game behavior.

When you cheer appropriately, you help your child focus on the parts of the game he can control (positioning, decision-making, skills, etc.). If he begins focusing on elements he can't control (field conditions, the referee, the weather, etc.), he will not play up to his ability.

Monitor your child at home.

Be sure he is eating and sleeping properly. Help your child keep priorities straight. A youngster needs help balancing schoolwork, friendships, and other commitments besides soccer. But having made a commitment to soccer, she also needs help fulfilling her obligation to her team.

Pass the reality test.

If your child's team loses but he played his best, help him see this as a "win." Remind him to focus on the process, not the end result. Fun and satisfaction should come from "striving to win." Conversely, do not let him be satisfied with "winning" if it comes from inadequate preparation and performance.

Keep soccer in its proper perspective.

The game should not be larger than your life. If your child's performance produces strong emotions in you, suppress them. Keep your own goals and needs separate from your child's. Remember that your relationship with your child will continue long after her competitive soccer days end.


We want you to support this theme by recognizing the value of developing youngsters in:

  • Ability
  • learning the game
  • becoming sports participants
  • gaining personal confidence and pride
  • acquiring team spirit
  • setting objectives and striving toward them
  • building character

These ambitions are attainable only through fun. Our desire is to promote fun and it is the job of coaches, trainers and parents to make this come true. The winning of games is really only the focus of the play. It should not be allowed to become the measure of success.

Coaches are expected to read the materials contained in the league handbook before the season starts. If there are questions, coaches should follow club procedures in contacting people for answers. Remember: your team or club will bear the consequences for any misunderstanding or oversights on the coach or parent's part.

Experience has shown that clarification of several points about soccer will go a long way toward making the sport more enjoyable for fans and players. Coaches should discuss these principles with players' parents before the first game.

Soccer is over 2500 years old. The Laws of the Game are over 140 years old. Most likely, the Laws of the Game will remain almost the same over the next 140 years. Finding fault with the laws or procedures is counter productive.

Soccer is a game involving great freedom for the players. Attempts to control the action on the field from the touchlines are the opposite of what is intended by the sport. Coaches or parents should not belly-up to the line or run up and down the field along with the play. While a 'coachable moment' may be used to instruct players, the players will benefit most from appreciative fans and coaches who can wait until practice time to teach.

Soccer is a game of physical contact and one where fouls are sometimes overlooked. There are times when a player of low skill but good strength will prevail against a skilled opponent by strength alone. When a player is fouled and the ball goes to a teammate, the referee has the option of not stopping the play to give a free kick to the team that already has possession.

Soccer is a game that is given to the referee to control. This control applies before, during, and after the game and includes both the players and adults. Most calls made by the referee have to do with the ball going off the field. This is done with the help of a linesman. Generally a foul must be careless, reckless or involve disproportionate force and result in an advantage to the fouling team before the referee stops play. This is a difficult concept for the new spectator to grasp.

League soccer is a contest of teams, not an extension of practice time. There are no time outs, no bending of the laws to help a badly losing team, no punishing to fit the crime, no covering up for bad behavior by apologizing to the referee.

Player attitude is a direct reflection of adult leadership. Players, who are a credit to their club, are made that way. While the arousal of players is valued in boxing, American football and rugby, it is detrimental in sports like soccer where skill and judgment are paramount.

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