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CHAPTER EIGHT
PARENT SIDELINE BEHAVIOR

We believe that as coaches we must set an example of proper behavior. We recognize that coaches are role models.

We are not social workers, however. To be effective we need the parents to help us and that help begins at each practice and continues at each game whenever you are with your child.

Please follow these rules:

  • Be Positive. Be supportive. Cheer for the team. Encourage all of the players. Keep negative comments to yourself, especially those directed at another parent's child. Remember that the players are doing the best that they can and that playing good soccer is more difficult than it looks.
  • Do not coach. Let the coaches make adjustments as they see the need. Many times the instruction from a spectator is exactly the opposite of the instruction given by the coach. Allow the players the freedom to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes. Spectator statements like "STAY WIDE", "CLEAR IT", "PASS THE BALL", "GET RID OF IT", "MOVE UP", "MOVE BACK", etc. tend to undermine the need for the players to communicate with each other. The more you yell and give directions, the more you discourage your child from taking command and being a leader. We will encourage your child to take risks, which means they will make mistakes. We want them to be leaders. We need your help to do this.
  • Never address players on the other team, except to encourage.
  • Treat the officials' with respect. All officials make mistakes. All humans make mistakes. Let the officials be human. Let the coaches approach the officials if they feel the need. The ref may be wrong, but not as often as you are? Have you ever seen a ref change his mind because a parent shouted at him? Also, do not, even in jest, say anything to the referee. Last year a Wichita parent was banned for five years from watching his son play because he yelled, "You're missing a great game Ref! Better call it right or else! I know where you live!" Not only are the penalties heavy for such stupidity, think for a moment on how you would feel as the Referee; would you suddenly decide to give the benefit of the doubt to a team that was threatening you?
  • Do not engage in game related discussions with parents from the opposing team. We will be playing these teams for many years to come. Those parents may want to bring their child to our club or their child may be on the same high school team as yours. Assume you will be living with them for years to come for that is what you will be going. We want to be known in the soccer community as an organization that has "CLASS" whether we win, lose or draw. The game score will not be remembered. The argument or inappropriate remarks will be.
  • Leave the game on the field. When the game is over, no amount of comment, question or discussion with the players, officials or coaches can change the outcome. Regardless of the outcome, the coaches will evaluate the performance; reinforce the good things and work to correct the things needing improvement.
  • Keep the game fun. Winning is more fun than losing but each player should enjoy playing because they love the game. Avoid offering bribes or "pumping up" your child. Allow them to become self motivated. Make sure that you take time to enjoy the game yourself.
  • Do not be negative. I have heard comments from some players that they dread it when their parents come to their games, as they know all their mistakes are going to be explained to them for the next couple of days. It is noticeable that when some parents get more and more agitated their child gets more and more withdrawn during the game. Let your child take risks and be creative. This will make them a better player. They will not get better is they are afraid to make a mistake because Mom or Dad yells at every mistake.
  • Remember your child has been programmed from before birth to hear your voice. They will hear even a whisper from you when they will not hear others shouting. What do you want them to hear?
  • Never make comments that can be construed as threatening to anyone. We operated under the United States Soccer Federation. They have rules that can result in you being banned and the team being heavily fined if you ever threaten a referee or player. The fines start at $1,000. Comments like, "Take her out!" or "Elbow him back!" can result in sever penalties. DO NOT MAKE THEM. If we hear you making them we will ask you to leave the field. We know emotions can run high, especially when we see our children being treated in a manner we believe to be unfair. But, you are adults. Control those emotions and let the coaches handle the situation.