Participation in organized sports, specifically soccer, provides our kids with an unquestionable benefit in body, mind, and spirit. As adults, we all have a stake in creating and molding our child-athletes into the good people inherent in them. Unfortunately, we adults occasionally blow it!
Recently, a “situation” involving two youth athletes blindsiding a referee during a game made national news. These scenarios of bad behavior, not only amongst the athletes but also among us adults, are well documented in our age of the internet. These behaviors negatively affect our young athletes’ emotional and physical well-being, Even For a Lifetime.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that our focus as adults must be to praise reasonable effort and promote positive attitudes and values in our kids. When mistakes occur, these should be met with encouragement and corrective instruction. We must demonstrate that the child’s worth is unrelated to the game’s outcome.
So, our focus as adults and coaches should be,
1) Enjoyment of the sport,
2) Physical fitness,
3) Basic motor skills,
4) Positive self-image,
5) Balanced perspective on sports-related to school and home life,
6) Commitment to positive values, teamwork, fair play, and sportsmanship.
But most importantly, as adults, we must remember that we are role-modeling behavior for our kids. If we lose our cool, berate referees, coaches, or even athletes. What we can expect from our children is much of the same behavior.
Congratulations to all adults who repeatedly show up for those games in 100-degree weather, rain (well, not so much this year), and fog. With the only whoops and hollers of encouragement, not only for our kids/teams but also for the opposing team.
Above all, LOVE needs to be expressed on the sideline.
Players – “Play Hard and Play Safe!”