How to be a Parent



A Skill to be Learnt

It’s obvious that kids join the club and attend training and matches and become better players. They LEARN how to be better players, that’s their role.

What’s not obvious is you parents have also joined the club. Your role is that of a parent and like the kids, you also have learn how to do your role. It’s not as easy as you’d think.



No Coaching from the Sideline

Parents aren't to provide any direction to the players during matches.

Gentle positive encouragement is all that’s required.  These are sorts of comments parents are encouraged to use.   Do say…

  • Well done, great job!
  • Nice work, that was great.
  • Go Julia!
  • Try your best.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • Don’t give up, keep going.
  • It’s great to watch you play.


Saying stuff like this just  confuses the kids and undermines the coach. Don’t say…

  • Shoot!
  • Get rid of it!
  • Run
  • Go round him
  • Cross it!
  • Go left.
  • Go back!



Sideline Comments

Nobody, including parents, may make negative or degrading comments from the sideline. Not to the kids. Not to the opposition parents. Not to anyone. Especially not to the ref.  In fact nobody is allowed to make ANY comments to referees at Glen Eira home grounds.  Aside: Please send referee feedback to the Club.  Include exact words and accurate descriptions.

Don’t say…

  • Oh come on!
  • What did you do that for!
  • What a rubbish <save/shot/tackle/pass>.




Parent Concerns

If parents have any concerns about the way the team is being run, they should let the Team Manager know.   If the Team Manager is the problem then let the Club know.

If parents have any concerns about the coaching strategy or methodology being used, then please ask your Team Manager to setup a meeting with the Coach.  Club representatives will also try to attend. Don’t make comments directly to the coach at training or on match day.

Parents are specifically instructed not to share concerns about the way the team is being run with any players. This especially means your own child.  Anything negative you say to your child or other players will have eventually have a negative impact on the team.




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More Information

1) Extract from ‘The car ride home’
The car ride home after playing sport can be a game-changer. Whether you are five or 16, the journey from ground to home can be a non-stop parent teaching moment. 

Whether you've played well or lousy, your dad can let you know what you should have done. Should have run when you should have passed, should have kicked. He becomes one of those shoulda-coulda-woulda dads.

Mum goes off about the netball umpire, bitch, and your coach not giving you enough playing time, cow. Yep, that car ride home can be pure joy.

If you can, try not to stuff up the car ride home, Gahan says.  The car ride home is when the kid just wants to quietly let the game sink in - whether a win or a loss. They know if they've played well or badly. You don't need to tell them.

Read more…  The car ride home


2) Ray Calls for Respect



3) The more parents yell. The more their kids are turned off sport


4) Quick Info videos from Dr Sam


5) Barcelona FC parents are allowed to encourage but not correct


6) Tips for Parents
  1. Let the coaches’ coach. Telling your child to do something different from what his/her coach is saying can be distracting and confusing.
  2. Let the kids play. A yelling parent can cause kids to lose focus on the field. Trust that the coaches have instructed your child well; if your child makes a mistake, don’t worry, he or she will likely learn from it.
  3. Don’t discuss the play of specific players in front of other parents. When parents act like their child is the star, or make negative comments about other children, it can be hurtful and kill parent harmony, which is often a key to the overall success of a youth sport.
  4. Address issues in a positive way. If you hear parents making negative comments, listen patiently and then speak to the positive qualities of the player, coach or family.
  5. Don’t complain about coaches to other parents. Once the behind-the-back criticism begins, it might never end. If you have a genuine issue with your child’s coach, plan a private meeting in which you can air your concerns.
  6. Be encouraging. The coaches are there to guide young athletes through their mistakes, not the parents. Positive comments from the sidelines are more likely to boost children on the field.
  7. Avoid making negative comments about players on the other team. Always remember that these are kids, not paid professionals. Negative comments can be hurtful to the young player as well as her family.
  8. Be courteous. Keep interaction with parents on the other team as healthy and positive as possible.
  9. The “other” team isn’t the enemy. Just as you’re out to watch your child play soccer, so too are the opposing team’s parents out to watch their kids. The only difference between sides here is the colour of the jerseys.
  10. Don’t criticise the referees. Refs are going to miss calls – it’s part of the game – but they’re trying to be fair and objective.
  11. Don’t blame others. Whether it’s towards the ref or anyone else, when a parent directs outbursts at someone for something that’s happened, it signals to the children that they can blame others when things go wrong.
  12. Don’t offer superficial support. Thanking an official for a call that went your team’s way can be annoying and alienating. The ref wouldn’t have made the call if she didn’t think it was correct.
  13. Avoid walking up and down the sidelines. Following play yelling instruction can be unnerving for the players and embarrassing to the children involved. If parents want to coach, they should ask the Club.
  14. Be conscientious. Parents should take a moment to think about their words or actions before they act in the heat of the moment. Just as players are punished for inappropriate behaviour, parents can be as well.
  15. Let it go. If something happens on the field, the time to address it is not immediately after the game. Parents shouldn’t harass officials, coaches, other parents or players, and should speak positively with their child afterward. Sometimes the lessons learned on the drive home are as important as those learned on the field




7) Letter from a Volunteer Coach
Today I heard a comment made about me behind my back. I started to turn around and look, but then decided better of it and kept my eyes on the field. My wife hears things like this more often than I do, because many of you don't know who she is. She tells me what you say. I have received angry emails, full of "suggestions" about who should be playing where and how I... lost that day's game for the kids. I thought I'd write an open letter to all of you parents, even though I might never send it. I’ll start it this way: "I am a volunteer."

I'm the one who answered the call when the league said they didn't have enough coaches. I understand that you were too busy. I have some news for you. I'm not retired. I’m busy too. I have other children and a job, just like you do. Not only do I not get paid to do this – it costs me money. I see you walk up to the game 15 minutes after it started, still dressed for work. Do you know I've already been here over an hour? Imagine if you had to leave work early nearly every day. I've never seen you at a practice. I'm sure you're plugging away at the office. But I'm out here, on the field, trying my best to teach these children how to play a sport they love, while my bank account suffers.

I know. I make mistakes. In fact, maybe I'm not even that great of a coach. But I treat the kids fairly and with respect. I am pretty sure they like coming to my practices and games, and without me or someone like me, there'd be no team for them to play on. I'm part of this community too and it's no picnic being out here on this stage like this. It's a lot easier back there with the other parents where no one is second-guessing you.

And I also know you think I give my son or daughter unfair advantages. I try not to. In fact, have you ever considered that maybe I'm harder on him than on the others? I'm sure he hears plenty of criticism at school from classmates, who hear it from you at home, about what a lame coach I am. And if, even unconsciously, my kids are getting a slight advantage because I know them better and trust their abilities, is that the worst thing in the world, considering the sacrifice I'm making? Trust me, I want to win too. And if your son or daughter could guarantee we'd do that, I'd give them the chance.

After this game is over, I'll be the last one to leave. I have to break down the field, put away all the equipment and make sure everyone has had a parent arrive to pick them up. There have been evenings when my son and I waited with a player until after dark before someone came to get them. Many nights I'm sure you've already had dinner and are relaxing on the couch by the time I finally kick the mud off my shoes and climb into my car, which hasn't been washed or vacuumed for weeks. Why bother cleaning it during the season? Do you know how nice it would be if, just once, after a game one of you offered to carry the heavy gear bag to my car or help straighten up the field?

If I sound angry, I'm not. I do this because I love it and I love being around the kids. There are plenty of rewards and I remind myself that while you’re at the office working, your kid is saying something that makes us all laugh or brings a tear to my eye. The positives outweigh the negatives. I just wish sometime those who don't choose to volunteer their time would leave the coaching to the few of us who do.

- Sourced from Brian Gotta, CoachDeck LLC. Feb 2010



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