10 Rules All Soccer Moms Should Follow

May 28 2013     /     , , ,

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soccer_graphic1From preventing the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle to teaching kids valuable lessons they’ll carry throughout their lives, youth sports like soccer are packed with benefits. There are also a variety of lessons that parents can learn from their child’s involvement in the sport, especially new soccer moms that aren’t quite acclimated to the atmosphere of youth sports leagues. These are 10 of the rules that all soccer moms, both rookie and seasoned vets, should follow.

  1. Don’t Berate the Coaches or Officials – The first and arguably one of the most important rules for soccer moms to follow is that berating the officials or coaches simply is not allowed. While most officials are loath to throw out a parent because it will ruin the game for the kids involved, you shouldn’t take that goodwill for granted.
  2. No Sideline Coaching – Coaches of youth teams are almost always volunteers, and the job is largely a thankless one. It’s not unusual for parents to approach coaches to air grievances and to explain how they could have coached the team better themselves, which is certainly off-putting to the coaches who are donating their time. Your kids’ coach probably won’t be won over by your logic, but there’s a good chance he’ll be less than pleased by your tirades. Unless you plan to take up the mantle of Coach before the next practice, don’t try to do the coach’s job for him.
  3. Familiarize Yourself With the Game – Few things are as embarrassing to a child as a parent that’s shouting for a touchdown during a soccer game. If you plan to be truly involved in your child’s athletic pursuits, you should make an effort to at least learn the basic rules of the game.
  4. Pack Plenty of Healthy Snacks – Kids will work up a big appetite from running up and down a soccer field, which is one of the reasons why parents are encouraged to bring snacks to practices and games. Don’t be the parent that doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain. If there’s an arrangement among moms determining who supplies snacks on a given day, don’t skimp or skip your turn altogether.
  5. Don’t Put Undue Pressure On Your Child – There’s a joy that comes with winning, and there’s no doubt that kids gain plenty of benefits from playing youth sports. Still, even the most talented middle and high school athletes had to learn how to play. During this phase, your child should be playing soccer for the experience and to learn the basic techniques. Don’t treat her like an entire professional soccer career is down the drain because of a simple mistake or honest error.
  6. Don’t Force Your Child to Play – While there is definitely a wide array of benefits that come from playing sports, your child is not likely to reap the emotional and social ones if she truly hates the game. It’s important to encourage plenty of physical activity, but you shouldn’t force an absolutely unwilling child to continue playing every season.
  7. Encourage Plenty of Practice – Practice makes perfect, which means that your little one needs to work on his technique while he’s at home, too. Soccer practice shouldn’t be the only time he picks up a ball, especially if he’s eager to play. You might have to make some new rules about practicing indoors if you’re interested in preserving your lamps, but you should also make sure that he has ample opportunity to practice in the backyard or the park if he feels so inclined.
  8. Model Good Sportsmanship – Good sportsmanship is learned, not an innate ability. Your child will learn much about how she reacts to a given situation by observing and taking cues from your behavior. That’s why it’s so important for parents to model good sportsmanship; otherwise, it’s a difficult concept to teach the youngsters.
  9. Don’t Criticize the Other Team – It’s tempting to bash the players on an opposing team, especially if they won the match. Still, you should remember that those players are also someone’s children, and that your kids don’t need to get the message that badmouthing their opponents is acceptable behavior.
  10. Encourage Kids After a Loss, Don’t Lecture – After a loss, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in helping your child to learn from his mistakes that you slip into a lecturing tone. Your child will feel bad enough about losing, and will need your support. Instead of giving her a rundown of the mistakes she’s already beating herself up over, try to point out the things that she did right during the match.

Remember that the experience of participating in a youth sports league is supposed to be a fun and enriching one for your children. Bad behavior or a lack of interest expressed by a parent can be enough to spoil that experience for her altogether, so it’s important that you adhere to the basic rules of soccer mom etiquette in order to ensure that the experience is a fulfilling and rewarding one.

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