As we are now half way through the 2016 outdoor soccer season, we want to remind our members of the proper etiquette and behaviour that is expected and encouraged while you are at the field. Parents play an integral role in fostering player development and by simply being aware of what you should (or should not) say at games/training sessions, you can support your child’s development.

Comments that should be avoided:

‘KICK IT!’

Perhaps the most detrimental phrase any player can hear; it encourages players to kick the ball away (often losing possession), when they should be gaining the skills and confidence to be comfortable keeping the ball and making their own decisions with it.

‘PASS!’ ‘CROSS!’ or ‘SHOOT!’

Anytime one of these statements is yelled out, players (especially young ones) tend to listen. Players need to gain the confidence and intelligence to make their own decisions with the ball and find even better solutions than those which are yelled out. By simply giving answers away, players never improve on their own.

‘WIN!’ or ‘ONE MORE GOAL!’

Sacrificing development, fair play, or player enjoyment of the game for the sake of a result is what limits the growth of the sport in Canada. Development will dictate a player’s future in the game – not results. Results will follow naturally after development occurs.

As former Canadian National Team Captain and nationally-licensed coach Jason de Vos says, "We do not expect kids in grade three to be able to do calculus, nor do we expect them to be able to go on job interviews. We do not judge them by adult standards – we judge them by age and ability specific standards for children. Our goal, every year, is for our children to progress with their peers to the next level of their education…Picture it in a different context. If a child were asked in school to add the numbers four and five, would a parent yell out from the back of the classroom, ‘Nine! Nine is the right answer! Say nine!‘"

Children will make the wrong decisions, and they will do it frequently as they learn the game. However, it is these decisions that will help them learn – not the answer-giving from the parents.

Silence is golden. If you are going to be vocal from the sidelines, cheer, clap, encourage, and support the players, but don’t give them the answers. Help them develop.

We hope everyone has a wonderful season!