Parent's Spring Soccer Season Survival Guide 2012


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Create a winning experience on and off the field for your soccer players this season. Check out this guide that provides practical tips for families as they ready their junior soccer stars for a fun and enriching season. Scan for pre-game preparation, sportsmanship and post-game recovery tips.

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Parent's Spring Soccer Season Survival Guide 2012

  1. 1. Parent’s Spring Soccer Season Survival GuideCreate a winning experience on and off the fieldfor your players this season
  2. 2. The season kick-off is just weeks away! The Korrio youth soccer community is committed to ensuring thatthe experience is fun, fulfilling and stress-free. Since our children are the centers of our universes, we’reoffering some practical tips we hope you, as parents, will find useful as you ready your junior soccer starsfor a fun and enriching season.
  3. 3. The Golden Rule: Keep it Fun!Children play sports because it is FUN and to meet new friends and learn new skills. Parents can start “positivesoccer talk” prior to the season’s kick-off. Keep your conversations about the upcoming season interesting andengaging. Ask your children what color jersey they think they’ll wear this season, what their team’s name will be,what number they hope to get and which classmates will be on their team. They will get excited and curious asthey ponder these questions and when they discover the answers, they’ll be excited to share them with you.TipsFrom serving the right meal before the big game to making sure your child is on time and attentive for practicesand games, here are some simple tips to help you organize your sports life, drawn from Korrio’s “more sport | lesshassle” philosophy.
  4. 4. Pre-Season Tips Growth Spurts and Cleats Avoid being caught off-guard and check your children’s footwear well before the season starts. If you are using last season’s cleats, make sure your child tries them on and even wears them outside to stretch them out, so they are comfortable on game day. If you are purchasing new cleats, allow your child to wear the shoes around the house, or even in the shower, to ensure a better fit on the field. Game Day Readiness Your child’s “Game Day Attitude” should be optimistic and filled with positive energy. If your child is joining a new team, know that it’s normal for players to feel uneasy about new teammates and coaches. Explain to your child that every new team presents opportunities to learn from a different coach – a teacher of the game – and to meet new teammates, who can become good friends. AnxietyAnxiety is a normal part of joining a new group. Listen to your child and ask what you can do to help him or herfeel more comfortable. If a coach sends you a list of team members, go through the roster with your child…he orshe may recognize names or know other children on the team.The Right Frame of MindBeing part of a team creates learning opportunities for your children. As parents, you understand the value ofplaying sports and want your kids to get the most from their experience, so talk to your child about the mostimportant aspects of teamwork. Just like school, in which all students must bring their “listening ears” and bewilling to learn in a group setting, the role of the coach in soccer is like that of the teacher in school, the soccerfield is the classroom and teammates are classmates. Emphasize that wearing a uniform is significant; it makesus part of the team and requires everyone to try to do their best. Stress that trying is much more important thanaccomplishment. While you can’t always control a missed pass or a poor touch, you can always control yourattitude and effort.
  5. 5. Pre-Game TipsEffective pre-game rituals allow players and families to establish routines that help prepare for big games.The Night Before• Fuel up and fortify – Feed your child a good dinner the night before and a healthy breakfast on game day. How can your child live up to his or her full soccer star potential without a solid base (food = energy)?• Rest – Proper rest is essential to performance. Both you and your soccer superstar need plenty of shut-eye to be attentive and ready to play! Yes, that means you— parents! Lesson: Schedule the big sleepover the night AFTER the game.• Gas up – Prevent that annoying, last-minute stop before getting underway. Make sure the family minivan is fueled-up the night before games.• Pack and plan – Avoid the morning rush; make sure your child’s uniform is clean and that all equipment is ready before bed. Pack a bag for post-game activities, with fresh clothes and appropriate outerwear, to ensure your child has something warm and fresh to put on after wet or cold games. Double-check that your water bottles are filled and the soccer ball is inflated. (And don’t forget the folding chairs!)• Confirm the game time and location – Life gets busy and it’s easy to confuse times and fields. Double- check the schedule, directions and game time.Morning of the Game• Avoid hurry-worry syndrome – Factor in extra time on game mornings to get ready and avoid rushing your child out the door. Your athlete needs to focus on the game, not worry about being the last one on the field. Getting ready for a game can make children anxious, so don’t exacerbate the situation with your own stress – your child will most likely mirror your own game-day attitude.• Be prepared - Prepare for practices and games by adding the game and prac- tice schedule to your calendar, load directions to the field on your Smartphone and if you are unfamiliar with the field location, ask the coach for assistance. (Remember the first day presents enough challenges, finding the field should be easy!)• Create a fun car-ride ritual – Have some good “pump up” music ready and waiting in the car. Ask your child to pick a theme song that gets them psyched up! Act excited for your child’s game, but don’t emphasize the importance of winning or losing – just that he or she is going to have a blast.• Hydrate and snack – Save ice cream for post-game fun; give your child light, healthy snacks and water before the game. Remember you are what you eat!• Warm-up – Inactivity breeds anxiety; engage your child if you’re early to a game. Kick the ball around or prac- tice some of the coach’s drills. Ask them funny questions to keep things loose. Don’t ruminate about where the second referee is. Focus on what you can control: your child’s excitement and readiness.
  6. 6. In-Game TipsYou survived the challenging pre-season and game to-do list. Now it’s time to cheer as your child has fun on the field.You’ve completed the first leg of your game-day journey. Your child is on the field and under the coach’s supervi-sion. Time to smile and enjoy the moment! Have fun watching your child learn the joys of athletics and friendlycompetition. Show your support, demonstrate your team spirit and take lots of pictures and video to share withfamily and friends.Introduce Yourself to the Coach (at team meeting or practice):• Make sure your coach knows you and your child; it’s important.• Share any significant information an educator should know about your child.• Create a relationship, so you can communicate easily over the course of the season.• Offer to assist in communicating with other parents and team activities.• Get the coach’s contact information.Pre-Game Injuries• Loop the coach in – Let coaches know prior to the game if your child has any injuries or is feeling under-the- weather.• Prep all injuries – Help kids bandage, wrap or protect any pre-existing injuries prior to games or practice.Sideline Etiquette• Remember, children learn by example – If you look like you’re having fun on the sideline, there’s a better chance your child will have fun on the field.• Keep cheering positive – Noise from the stands makes the game more exciting for players, but make sure cheering remains positive. Cheer for good plays on both teams! Supportive Soccer Sideline Cheers: • “Nice pass up the field!” (Instead of saying “nice kick,” this recognizes players are trying to maintain possession by passing the ball to teammates.) • “Patient at the net!” (Sometimes players get excited when they get the chance to score.) • “Great cross in!” (When players play or serve a ball from one side of the field to the goal mouth, celebrate their effort.) • “Good movement, team!!” (When the chips are down, this may give your team some motivation.) • “Looking great, keep up the good work!” • “Great teamwork, we’ll get ‘em next time!” • “Nice D!” or “Nice save!” (Give your defenders and goalie some love too; they don’t always get as much recognition as high-scorers.)
  7. 7. In-Game Tips Cont.• Encourage, don’t pressure – Mistakes are part of sport. Use inspiring words that help players focus and stay motivated. Parents can stress trying (giving a good effort) over scoring goals. Use positive reinforcement and banish negativity.Sportsmanship • Maintain your role as an observer – You might not agree with every coaching decision or call on the field, but your child shouldn’t know that. Allow officials and coaches to do their jobs without getting involved.• De-emphasize winning and losing – The goal of youth soccer is to create a passion for the sport and a de- sire to learn new skills. No matter which way the game’s going, stay positive and excited. Encourage players to respect and acknowledge their own hard work, and that of their competitors.• View the game as one big learning experience – Your child is not only developing skills as a soccer player, he or she is learning how to interact with others and develop as a person. Learning teamwork and respect on the field pays dividends in life.Interacting with Peers• Make friends – Introduce yourself to fellow parents on the sideline. You probably have a lot in common, like tracking down that one pesky shin guard the night before the game!• Deal constructively with competitive parents – If you don’t approve of another parent’s sideline etiquette, address it in a calm and gentle manner or speak to them privately. But remember, you can only control your own sideline behavior, just as your child can only control his or her behavior on the field.• Create a team community – Don’t be scared to talk to other parents about organizing a pizza party after the game. Interaction and fun off the field will only strengthen bonds and camaraderie on the field. • Build a team on the sideline (create a positive fan zone for your team.) • Carpool: kids love to connect with different people in their social circles. • Create a snack/goodie rotation schedule for player families. • Take charge and organize post-game activities: pizza, ice cream, sleepovers.Game Time Challenges• Stay calm during on-field injuries - When your child falls to the ground with an injury, let the coach man- age the situation. You’ll know from your child’s reaction if you need to be on the field with the coach. With any injury or emergency, remain composed so your child stays calm.• Don’t be a sideline distraction - Often, players freeze or hesitate when they hear parents call their names. So just give them a “thumbs up” when they look at you. This creates a bond, while still allowing your child to focus on the game.• Help kids deal with an overly competitive/intense coach • Talk with your child about the words and phrases the coach uses. Ask if he or she feels uncomfortable in any way. If your child feels uneasy discuss why people/coaches get so intense and competitive about sports. • Some coaches are just loud. This communication style may cause some players to become introverted. If your child reacts this way, discuss strategies for blocking out or managing stressful input and focusing on positive play.
  8. 8. Post-Game TipsThe game is over, time to recover and celebrate! You had an absolute blast watching your child play soccer; makesure to let him or her know how proud you are of their effort after the final whistle blows. Help your child recover fromall the action with food, friends and fun.Good Game/Bad Game• Tough day? Be positive – If your child is frustrated with how he or she played, offer to practice in the back- yard. Reinforce and emphasize your child’s effort; the next game will be better. Create achievable goals that aren’t linked to stats and scoring.• Create a positive car ride home – Use the car ride home for talking through your child’s take on the game. Recognize great goals or plays. If your child did something special (from high-fiving an opponent for a nice play to making a great save in goal), express how cool that was for you to watch. Quiz your kid; ask them the names of players on the other team, who they saw at the concession stand and the color of the ref’s hair. This will increase your child’s environmental awareness and keep your family soccer talk interesting. Do not use the car ride home to coach your child. The car should be a sacred place for your child to relax and reflect upon the day’s events.• Reward hard work with a treat – Celebrate solid effort and a good, fun game. Offer to have friends over for a slumber party or go out for ice cream after the game.• Show them you’re proud – Show your child what a good job he or she did by posting pictures or videos of the game for family and friends.• Address playing time concerns • Be supportive; let your child know he or she looked really good on the field. • If your child isn’t playing much, talk privately with the coach to determine why, and ask how your child can develop a stronger role on the team. • Check the club handbook to understand the policies governing playing time.Recovery• Prepare for hungry and thirsty athletes – Provide replenishing food and hydration for your child right after the game. All that running around burns a lot of energy and soccer players need to refuel.• Encourage discussion – Ask your child questions about the game. Getting children to talk about their on-field emotions or specific plays helps them learn, understand and deal with frustrations, as well as prepare for future games.• Make sure everyone stays loose – Encourage your child to stretch after the game. Just because your child is young doesn’t mean he or she can’t get hurt. And teaching stretching now will encourage good future fitness habits.• Maintain equipment – Teach your athletes good habits by having them care for their own equipment. Hey, washing mud off your cleats after the game can be fun!• Start building excitement for the next game – It’s never too early to start thinking about soccer! There’s always next time.• Use your backyard or local park • Encourage your child to practice at home or play pick-up with friends. • Get tips from your coach or find practice drills online to organize in your backyard.
  9. 9. Always end on a positive note! Ultimately, we want our children to create bonds and character through thesoccer experience. Our role as parents is to encourage and support our children as they navigate the world ofsport. There are always ups and downs in sports, as in life, and our players will be well-prepared as students andyoung adults if they can learn to adapt to new situations, cooperate and grow through exposure to new people.Your soccer season will be filled with memories that last a lifetime! Enjoy your time as a soccer parent! Andremember the three essentials: kid, coffee and camera. (Oh, and ball!)more sport | less hassle 1943 1st Avenue, South Seattle, WA 98134