Parents Role in the Development of their Player
There is an interesting and often confusing dynamic that exist between the player-coach-parent. It helps immensely for each person to understand their particular role in this relationship. Parents are first and foremost the parent and are responsible for the safety and well-being of their child. They are also primarily responsible for the moral, emotional, social and physical development of the child.
U6 – U8 Age
Parents are the supporter, cheerleaders and often the volunteer coaches. Emphasis should be on development of the child. This is a time when children are still in or just coming out of a “me” stage and are just beginning to learn to share and think about others. Soccer provides a great opportunity for children to develop a number of “social skills” such as learning to share, to take turns, to try hard, to have fun, to be brave, to respect others, to listen, to work together, to be positive, to be nice, to be honest and to play fair.
U9 – U12 Age
Players are becoming a little more competitive and want to compare their skills to the skills of other players. This is also the age where players may begin to decide that they really like soccer and want to spend more of their time practicing the technical skills of the game. At this stage players need to be encouraged to develop the mental skills that will help them practice and improve. These skills include focus, effort, determination, goal setting and self-control.
U13 – U18
This is a period where a player may decide to make a serious commitment to the game of soccer. They practice the game more and begin to practice with greater focus and effort; spending a good amount of their practice time working on weaknesses. This requires the right mindset as well as mental skills such as a positive attitude, courage, accountability, patience, passion and creativity. It is also a time when a great focus is placed on the both the physical and tactical aspects of the game.
Our Player’s Guides are designed to be used primarily at home. The parent’s role is to discuss each of the important character strengths and how it relates to becoming successful in soccer, school and life. Hopefully the coach is also introducing the character strengths and encouraging all players to rate themselves daily using the “Like Me” scale. When the coach and parents are all emphasizing the importance of these positive character strengths then players are going to remember them and begin to internalize them, helping to form the habit of demonstrating the character strengths in all they do.