Participation in organized sports, and more specifically, soccer, provides our kids an unquestionable benefit in body, mind, and spirit. As parents, we all have a stake in creating and molding our child athletes into the good people that is so inherent in them. Unfortunately, we adults occasionally blow it.
Recently, a “situation” involving two youth athletes blind siding a referee during a game made national news. These scenarios of bad behavior, not only amongst the athletes, but also with us parents, are well documented in our age of the internet. These behaviors, do negatively affect the emotional and physical wellbeing of our young athletes. Even, for a lifetime.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that our focus as parents must be to praise good effort and to promote positive attitudes and values in our kids. When mistakes occur, these should be met with encouragement and corrective instruction. We must clearly demonstrate that the child’s worth is unrelated to the outcome of the game.
So, our focus as parents 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, we must as parents and coaches, remember, we are role modeling behavior for our kids. If we lose our cool, berate referees, coaches, or even the athletes themselves, then what we can expect from our own children is much of the same behavior.
Congratulations to all parents who time and time again, 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 own kids/teams, but for the opposing team as well.
Love, above all, is what needs to be expressed on the sideline.
Players Until Next Month- “Play Hard and Play Safe!”
By Carlos Flores RN FCN
If you would like to connect with Carlos Flores to suggest topics or receive personal feedback, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org