There is so much to know and so much advice that can be given.
I’ll offer a couple big ones here. Ones that I think can act as great guideposts over the years.
Become a dedicated fan and student of the sport.
If your ultimate goal is to have your child fulfill his/her potential, you must learn as much as you can about the game itself. This involves watching a tremendous amount of professional matches, trying to analyze them, reading and hearing post game analysis (this can be a tricky one as most “analysts” know jack!), and exchanging thoughts with others.
I advise this for 2 reasons:
- Without a deep understanding of the game, I believe it is extremely difficult to identify a coach who can truly develop your player. This becomes increasingly important with age group.
- If you are to going to give soccer advice to your child, which parents do, you need to know what the hell you’re talking about. The influence parents hold can unwittingly stifle their kids development or help it. It’s a function of how much they “know”.
Soccer looks simple, but is rich in complexity. As such, please don’t make the mistake of thinking your understanding is exhaustive. There is always more to learn!
Understand that training 2 times a week with a game on the weekend is not remotely enough time for a player to develop. No matter how great a trainer you have, it is up to the player to live with the ball at their feet, and the game on TV. But the only way that will happen is if they love it.
Which brings me to perhaps the greatest advice of them all: Your focus as a parent should be on what can nurture that love.
What do you guys think? Let the advice train begin!
Adrianne Spear says
I think that is the best advice you can give. I struggle with my kiddo because for parents who coach a different sport you always think well I can help him out with some advice but I realize the older he gets I don’t know enough about the soccer to help him anymore. Just because your a coach in another sport doesn’t mean you know your kids sport! I always encourage him to ask your trainer or your coach!I realize now how much I do need to understand Soccer and how I do need to surround myself with the game as much as I do volleyball to better understand how to get my son to the next level and help him be successful in pursuing his Dreams! Thanks for the advice I hope you can share some advice! 🙂
Gary Kleiban says
Thank you for the comment Adrianne!
You seem very well grounded and your son is lucky to have you. Feel free to contact me any time if you have questions. I’ll be happy to answer. 🙂
Oscar Mayer says
I have seen too many good players ruined by the poor decisions their parents make.
Many parents have a very low soccer IQ and are impressed with unimportant things.
Worse is the parent that lacks discipline and integrity and teaches the wrong values to his kid. Like the saying goes, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Some of the best players in the world developed talent without a coach or a pesky parent. I do believe that love for the game is the key.
Some of the best players grew up playing on the streets. No Coach, Parent, Ref, Trainer, etc, etc, just a love for the game.
If your child has a love affair for soccer, then find them the best coach and team you can find, the rest will fall into place.
Garry has covered the subject of coaches in quite some detail. Read some of the older blogs to be enlightened.
Gary Kleiban says
I think all your comments are spot on!
The opposite is also true:
If you have the greatest coach on the planet, but you don’t have a “love affair” with the game, it’s just not gonna happen.
Thanks for contributing man!
Good advice, but I’d also like to add that I think that all parents (most likely the dads) who were soccer stars in the country that they left behind have an obligation to add to the US domestic knowledge base by coaching their kids. Too often I see these parents on the sidelines (cringing at what they see) and not on the field with their kid showing the kids why the game is so great. Convince the Italian dad in your town to be a defensive assistant coach, the Brazilian dad to be offensive assistant coach, engage the Mexican star who loves his team’s recent success. Just get the people involved who care for the game and it will penetrate our kids mentality.
At the very least domestic parents should value fresh perspectives for what they offer. Too often coaching youth soccer is nothing more than winning a place holder job for getting your kid extra playing time… but I digress. It’s getting better. Stay positive!
So simple, so true
…as someone much wiser than me once put it “soccer is a simple game, but it’s hard to play simple” 🙂
First of all, this blog is like an oasis in the desert. Thank you. Some posts, like this and the Fundamental Metrics one, should be required reading for US soccer parents.
My kid loves the game, but the coaching is killing that love. His team actually runs laps and does stretching exercises during practice. He stands in lots of lines looking at lots of cones. By the way, this is a Hispanic coach. I’m paying $1500 for this?! I don’t know, maybe if his love can be shaken, he didn’t truly love it?
I would yank him and start a rec team, applying what I’m learning here and elsewhere, but there aren’t actually any rec teams at his age group in our area. There are no kids to play with. The local clubs have so monopolized the game that parents must pay $1000 for their kid to be on the sixth team, which is worse than many rec teams in our old town.
So yeah, thanks again for this blog.
Dr Loco says
” There are no kids to play with. The local clubs have so monopolized the game that parents must pay $1000 for their kid to be on the sixth team, which is worse than many rec teams in our old town.”
I feel your pain! I wish I had parents like you on our team.