Well, I do have a minivan, but that is more of a function of my family size than our athletic choices. I have been doing soccer mom duty for several years now (I also played as a kid and worked as a referee in highschool). My experiences as a referee and a mom have helped me see the good, the bad and the ugly of kids’ soccer. Do you want to fall into the good category? Here are my tips for achieving a passing grade in Soccer Mom 101 (or baseball mom, hockey mom, football mom, etc)
- Learn about the basic rules of the game (Not so you can criticize the coaches, referees or other officials!!! This is so you can reinforce the skills they are learning…and really so you know what is going on in the game).
- Arrive on time to games and practices. Your child will miss out on playing time and valuable learning time in practice if you arrive late.
- Let the coach coach and the referee ref. Your job is to support the team, cheer for them and buoy them up. Let their coaches tell them what to do and the officials make the decisions on the field. Arguing calls made on the field of a seven year old’s soccer game really only makes you look silly. Referees and coaches are usually volunteer positions (or pay terribly) and you wouldn’t have a game if they didn’t give their time.
- Kids LOVE their after game snack. If it is your turn to bring snack and you can’t make the game, please call your coach or another parent to make arrangements to switch. I have seen teary eyed children walking off of a soccer field, not because they lost the game or because they didn’t score a goal, but because they didn’t get a snack. They work hard and the snack is their reward for a job well done.
- Please send your child to practice with their own water and ball (or other equipment). While some leagues provide these items for each team, but many do not. It is difficult to run drills without enough equipment for each child. Hydration is also extremely important and every child should have water for rehydrating during practice, especially as the weather warms.
- Don’t yell at your child or any other child because of their performance on the field!!! When learning something new, mistakes are bound to happened (honestly, I make mistakes daily, who doesn’t?) and to belittle a child because of their performance on the field. This leads to frustration, and often will result in a child giving up the sport all together. Keep all comments uplifting. You CAN make suggestions for improving their performance, but please make sure to do it without criticism.
The suggestions above, while mentioning Soccer specifically, can apply to all recreational sports. Keep it fun and you will be an A+ Soccer Mom (minivan or not!).