The Key to Peak Performance

The role that the parents play in the life of a soccer player has a tremendous impact on their experience. With this in mind, we have taken some time to write down some helpful reminders for all of us as we approach the unpcoming season. If you should have any questions about these thoughts, please feel free to discuss it with the coaches.

1. Let the coaches coach: Leave the coaching to the coaches, this includes motivating, psyching your child for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care or your player to these coaches, let them coach.

2. Support the program: Get involved. Volunteer, Help out with fundraisers, carpool, anything to support the team.

3. Be your child’s best fan: Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly. Your child should never have to perform to win your love.

4. Support and root for all players on the team: Foster teamwork. Your child’s teammates are not the enemy. When they are playing better than your child, your child has a wonderful opportunity to learn.

5. Do not bribe or offer incentives: Your job is not to motivate. Leave this to the coaching staff. Bribes distract your child from properly concentrating in the practice and game situation.

6. Encourage your child to talk with the coaches: If your child is having difficulties in practice or games, or can’t make a practice, etc., encourage them to speak directly to the coaches. The “responsibility taking” is a big part of becoming a big-time player. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game – preparation for as well as playing the game.

7. Understand and display appropriate game behaviour: Remember, your child’s self esteem and game performance is at stake. Be supportive; cheer. To perform to the best of his/her abilities, a player needs to focus on the parts of the game that they control (their fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressive, what the game is presenting them) it s/he hears a lot of people telling him/her what to do, or yelling at the referee, it diverts his/her attention away from the task at hand.

8. Reality test: If your child has come off the field when his team has lost, but s/he has played their best, help him/her to see this as a “win”. Remind him/her the s/he is to focus on “processP and not “results”. His/her fun and satisfaction should be derived from “striving to win”. Conversely, s/he should be as satisfied from success that occurs despite inadequate prepartation and performance.

9. Keep soccer in its proper perspective: Soccer should not be larger then life for you. If your child’s performance produces strong emotions in you, suppress them. Remember your relationship will continue with your children long after thier soccer days are over. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child’s experience.

10. Have fun: That is what we will be trying to do! We will try to challenge your child to reach their “comfort level” and improve themselves as a player, and thus, a person. We will attempt to do this in environments that are fun, and yet challenging. We lok forward to the process. We hope you do to!

Parents…please consider this:

Dear Mom and Dad

I hope you won’t get mad at me for writing this letter, but you always told me never to keep anything back that ought to be brought out into the open. So here goes…

Remember the other night when my team was playing and both of you were sitting watching? Well, I hope that you won’t get mad at me, but you kind of embarrassed me. Remember when I went after the ball in front of the goal trying to score and fell?

I could hear you yelling at the defender for getting in my way and tripping me. It wasn’t his fault. That is what he is suppossed to do. Then, do you remember yelling at me to get over and cover Johnny’s man? Well the coach told me to cover someone else and I wouldn’t if I listened to you. While I tried to decide they scored against us. Then you yelled at me for being in the wrong place. You shouldn’t have jumped all over the coach for pulling me off the field. He is a pretty good coach and a good guy, and he knows what he is doing. Besides, he is just a volunteer, coming down at all hours of the day helping us kids just because he loves sports.

Then, neither of you spoke to me all the way home. I guess you were pretty sore at me for not scoing a goal. I tried awfully hard, but I guess I am a crummy soccer player. But, I love the game, its lots of fun being with the other kids and learning to compete. It is a good sport but how can I learn if you don’t show me a good example? And anyhow, I thought I was playing soccer for fun: to have a good time, and learn good sportsmanship. I didn’t know that you were going to get upset because I couldn’t be a star.


Your Soccer Player