Is it always good for parents to shout from the touchline at a football game? And how does their involvement affect their child? Kids Coach Naomi Richards takes a look.
When it comes to children playing football it certainly requires lots of commitment and energy from the parents.
Most parents love watching their children play and can become incredibly passionate about the games, almost as if they were the ones that were playing themselves.
The majority of parents are happy to watch at practice and at games and talk amongst their friends and other parents. It can be a great opportunity to catch up.
Other parents like to be more involved and shout words of encouragement from the sidelines.
They may also shout words of advice on what their child needs to do next: who they should pass to, what they should look out for.
It’s lovely to hear parents being encouraging but the giving advice could probably be held back on and here is the rationale as to why.
There are some children who just want to get on and play the game in their own way. They want to make their own decisions and want to work out what they should be doing next, whether they act on impulse or make an informed decision – possibly through the use of the coach – of when to tackle, who to pass to etc..
Decision making is an essential part of growing up and with it brings responsibility and a healthy self-esteem. For most, if not all parents, this is what we want for our children – to think on their feet and be responsible for their actions.
It can also be quite embarrassing for a child when their parent is the only one shouting instructions to them from the side lines and children generally want to feel like they fit in and not stand out. No child likes an embarrassing parent!
When it comes to shouting praise, it might feel like the natural thing to do and getting praise on the field – “well done”, “good pass” – should feel good for any young player, but it might not always be the best thing for your child.
Some parents might encourage actions on the pitch that the coach is trying to avoid, such as shouting “‘great clearance” when the coach is trying to encourage kids to pass the ball out from defence or try something a bit more creative.
If a child hears both the coach and the parent shouting, they could be confused as to what they should be doing and possibly panic. The coach is there to support and guide and it is much easier for the child to hear one voice rather than two he recognises.
Parental support is crucial for any child who wants to play football but, when it comes to shouting from the sidelines, think before you speak and consider whether shouting out is the best way to support your child at that time.
Put your questions to The Kids Coach
If you’ve got a question for Naomi or would like to hear advice on a particular topic relating to young footballers, please leave a comment below, email us at [email protected] or tweet Naomi at @thekidscoach.
Whether it’s about how we can take pressure off kids after a game, teaching them acceptance and tolerance of other members of the team or something completely different, tell us what you’d like to read about in Naomi’s next column.