One of the biggest problems in the game are youth football parents. Many parents still don’t have the understanding of what their children need to play the game effectively. What we still find, is parents putting their children under high amounts of pressure before, during and after the game. This can be done in the following ways:
- Constantly telling their child ‘it’s all about the result’ and ‘win at all costs’.
- Shouting and yelling from the sidelines, not allowing their child to think for themselves.
- When their child makes a mistake, they tell them about it every time.
I am sure you have experienced many occasions where a parent has over stepped the mark a few times. There maybe times where actually it was you who was told to take it down few, for the sake of your child’s or children’s development.
This article will not only relate to football parents out there but also coaches who can think about, what can I do to help my child play better.
Why Do Kid’s Stop Playing Football?
When a child play’s football, the first question you tend to hear from them is “can we play a game”?. Children in way’s are just like adults, they like to play the game without any interference from bystanders telling them ‘what to do’. I know how I used to get when other’s on the sidelines tried to tell me what to do, it would either distract me or upset me to a point where I began to not listen anymore.
If you try to control what people enjoy doing most you are normally met with a negative response from the other person, this tends to happen with children. Football parents underestimate the influence they have over their children and need to think about how they portray themselves.
Pushy football parents also have an impact on the coaching methods of the coach. It may be hard to believe but many parents think that their child will of become a ‘professional’ and let their emotions take over at football matches or training. I have seen many incidents where parents have shouted instructions from the sidelines telling their kids to ‘get rid of it’ or even ‘take him out’ and then look surprised when there asked to keep quiet.
The most important thing for the kid’s is to play the game and have fun. Football parents need to think about what will help my child enjoy the game, here are some suggestions;
- Before a game, don’t put too much emphasis on their team getting the result. Instead give encouragement like ” have a good game ” or ” see if you can dribble the ball like you did in training “.
- Let the coach do what he/she is there for, which is coach the team.
- Work with the coach to improve your child i.e giving one to one coaching at home or hiring someone else to do it for you.
- At the games let the kids play and say very little. when you do say something make sure its positive.
Let The Kid’s Play.
At some point, as a parent you have to let your children make their own mistakes and this is no different in football. Children need to realize that every mistake is a lesson, and just a stumbling block until they reach their goal. Having their parents point out every mistake they make in a negative tone, will only hinder the child’s development.
Children learn best when they are playing the game, which involves making mistakes within the game. As parents we have to learn to take a step back and let them play. When something needs to be said, it should be left to the coach and the parents should be their to support the coach. As a parent you should be reinforcing the philosophy of the coach, and if you don’t believe in their approach then maybe you need to find a different coach.
Help The Coach, Don’t Stop The Coach!
As I stated before the football parents should be there to support the coach with the philosophy they have in place. For the coach to be successful they need everybody to be working towards the same goal, this includes the parents.
As a parent, you need to know your boundaries and not contradict what the coach has already put in place. Many coaches work hard to set up a way of playing or certain way of running their team, only for it to be disrupted by parents who tell their kids to do the opposite. This won’t help the team and the player’s involved, so parents must work on their education of football if they seriously want to help their children.
It doesn’t need a huge amount of effort for football parents to help their kid’s develop into better players. A parent’s influence can start at home with using personal football coaching. Now the argument you tend to hear with personal football coaching, is that because the player is training on their own it doesn’t work, as football is a team game. I believe using personal football coaching will help increase a players individuality with the ball, that I see many players missing in the game today. It is clear to everyone involved at grassroots, that playing twice a week for 1-2 hours each day is not enough to produce quality players. Having the parents providing personal football coaching at home or paying a coach to offer it for them, will help them progress quicker.
Just as with team coaching, how you teach your children will decided how quickly they progress. What ever you decide to teach, will need to have some relevance to the real game which can be tricky with personal football coaching. If you decide to offer personal football coaching yourself make sure you do your research beforehand and plan your session. Develop a plan with gradual progressions over a certain period, giving your child every chance to develop every area of their game.
It is amazing what a little encouragement can do for a person yet many us choose to bring someone down instead of trying to lift them up. Now children need to learn how to handle criticism but just as you would expect with adults, how you feed it to them will have a massive effect to whether they will respect what you say.
If for some reason you have to make a small criticism make sure beforehand you have stated something they have done well first. Doing this will help them accept what ever you have to say a lot easier, and it will also show them you are not only looking at the mistakes they are making.
Children can be very sensitive, and respond really well to praise. I remember a situation I recently had with a child who had only been playing the game consistently for about 4 month’s. There were areas to his game that he was struggling with, such as his awareness of others and his decisions when he had possession of the ball. During a small sided game, he received a pass from a another player and remembered to check for space by looking off his shoulder before the pass arrived. Even though he lost the ball shortly after with a stray pass, I stopped the session and said ” well done for looking off your shoulder, just remember to tidy up your passes by playing them a bit softer into your teammates”. By leading with a positive, allowed the player to see he has made progress and ending with the constructive criticism allows you to help refine what still needs improving.
Football parents and coaches will have to point out areas for improvement at some point, how you choose to do this will be the deciding factor of whether they take it on board. One of the biggest things you need to have with young players is patience and if you don’t have it your children will be able to pick up on this. Showing patience and being calm in certain situations will give them confidence to keep trying the techniques they have practiced. As a parent you have to allow your children to make mistakes and reflect on them, they shouldn’t be afraid to fail. All the great player’s experience many failures on their way to the top, and because of that they succeed.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
Robert F. Kennedy
Let’s Play the Game Ltd. is a provider of excellent personal and team football coaching in Birmingham, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell, and Solihull. For those who would like to try our services don’t hesitate to contact us. Don’t forget to subscribe below to never miss any of our posts. You can also like our Facebook page or subscribe to our You Tube channel for more football coaching tips.
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