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News - Details

Sideline Development - How parents can improve the game


As the sport of soccer continues to evolve in the United States, those involved in the game are refining best practices for player development to help provide the best environment for our young players to grow.  Experts in coaching and child development have identified three key areas where parents can contribute to a better experience for the players.

“Sideline Development” addresses these circumstances where parents often have the right intentions, but can instead be detrimental to the development of the players and the sport.  Washington Youth Soccer fully encourages parental involvement in their children’s activities, but a better understanding of these situations and the effects on children and the game can help parents to build a foundation for both to flourish.

Referee Abuse

One out of every three referees quit each year, mainly due to abuse from parents and coaches.  Not only does this result in less experienced referees, but Washington, like most states, faces a referee shortage that is hampering the ability for clubs and associations to even schedule games.

Referee Shortage Hits Close to Home

Referee shortage hurting soccer

Fewer soccer referees get a kick out of officiating expanding sport

Coaching from the Sideline

Most of the time, parents are well intentioned and are only trying to support or encourage the players.  However, consider what it takes to try to control a ball without your hands, work with a group of teammates against an opponent, while also trying to make decisions within seconds.  Expecting a child to process the game while also having instructions shouted at them is not only unreasonable, but many times the message from the parents sideline can conflict with the message from the coaches’ sideline. 

The Best Way to Cheer for Your Child

The Car Ride Home

Unbeknownst to many parents, children don’t always want to talk about the game or practice after it ends.  Studies show that many athletes cite ‘the car ride home’ as their least favorite part of playing sports.  Children can face a range of emotions after a game, and questions from parents can be construed as criticism or an attack on a teammate or coach.  Children can also feel as though their value in their parents eyes is tied to their athletic performance.

The Ride Home

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