As a parent, you have a special role in contributing to the needs and development of these youngsters. Through your encouragement and good example, you can help assure the effectiveness of the AYSO program.
Support your child by giving encouragement and showing an interest in his or her team. Help your child work toward skill improvement and good sportsmanship in every game. Teach your child that hard work and an honest effort are often more important than victory. Your child will be a winner, even in defeat.
Parents are not participants on their child’s team. However, they do contribute to the success experienced by their child and the team. Parents serve as role models for their children. Applaud good plays by your child’s team and by the opposing team. Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from youth sporting activities.
Let children set their own goals and play the game for themselves. Be careful not to impose your own standards and goals on your child. Don’t put too heavy a burden on your child to win games. Surveys reveal that 72 percent of children would rather play for a losing team than ride the bench for a winner.
The best way to help a child to achieve goals and reduce the natural fear of failure is through positive reinforcement. No one likes to make a mistake. If your child does make one, remember that he or she is still learning. Encourage your child’s efforts and point out the good things your child accomplished.
Coaches and referees are usually parents. They volunteer their time to help make your child’s youth soccer experience a positive one. They need your support, too. What coaches and referees don’t need is your help in coaching from the sidelines. So please refrain from coaching during games and practices. Referees are not the “bad guys.” They are volunteers, too, and need your support and encouragement. Treat them and their calls fairly and respectfully.
See also A Parent’s Guide to AYSO on the AYSO national site.