Parenting your Child in Soccer

As a parent of a soccer player, you probably understand how difficult it can be to balance everything especially if you have more than one child playing. As a youth soccer coach and parent, I fully understand the challenges that come into play.

While there are so many benefits to your child playing soccer, there are also many challenges which your child may face that other children do not have to experience. As a parent, it will be essential that you are aware of these challenges and also that you do everything you can to give your child a balance in coaching/parenting during your soccer season.

Although some child play soccer all year long, many only play soccer during the fall season. Thus creating another challenge of balancing soccer and school work. The key to success with fall soccer and education is to find the right balance. When you through in that most kids have an earlier bedtime, they will want to hang out with friends and will have other responsibilities and tasks to attend to, it's easy to see how things can get stressful when participating in fall sports.

Here are some tips to keep things balanced in your soccer players life:

  • Sit down and discuss the priorities: If school should always come first, then it's essential that you explain the expectations to your child and have clear guidelines on what will happen as a consequence.
  • Plan ahead for your fall sporting events: Be sure your child also has a copy of game and practice schedules so that he/she always knows what is coming up so he/she can properly prepare.
  • Make time for homework and plan meals according to the game and practice schedules of your athlete.
  • Make bed time as early as possible and always provide nutritious meals: This is very important for a fall athlete who is also a student at the time. Food is fuel for the body and the brain.
  • Help your child with organization for school, sports and other responsibilities: Give your child the tools needed to stay organized throughout the season and then regularly check to be sure they stay on track.

You should take an active role in your child's life if he/she is to be a soccer player while also tackling school and other responsibilities. Try to arrange at least one day off each week for your child, where there is no school or schoolwork and no matches or practices. Don't make your child practice at home on this day. Just give them time off to relax and take a break.

Monitor your child for signs of too much stress or lack of adequate sleep.

Remember that stress can be serious for anyone, especially a child, and can even lead to physical problems. Remember that soccer is meant to be fun and provide necessary physical exercise.

Don't pressure your child too hard to be the team "star" or to believe that winning is the only measure of success. Don't place soccer above other important aspects of life such as school, family, friends and well being. Avoid the win-at-all-costs mentality that will only harm your child in the long run.

Soccer should be an addition to your child's life, not their entire life. Balancing this will be essential to their good health and wellbeing, now as well as a healthy future for your child as he/she grows into adulthood. Give them the tools needed to build this foundation today and he/she will carry it with them for the rest of their life.