The key to a positive team environment in youth sports starts with the coaching staff, funneling down to the players, and further enforced by the parents. Creating a positive environment is a matter of will power and determination. It is so much easier to be negative than it is to be positive. As human beings, we tend to have a natural propensity towards the negative, fear the worst and complain. Creating a positive environment can be a lot of work, but it is well worth the effort and it starts with the individual.
Throughout this season the coaching staff and I will be aggressively reaching out to individual players throughout practices and games providing them with challenges while pushing them to become better players, all through positive challenges. As coaches and parents we need to praise, but also challenge our young athletes. Through this process the young athletes will gain confidence. Positive comments are contagious and I soon hope to hear players and parents following my lead.
For all parents, I am asking you to help me and the rest of the coaching staff to create and maintain a positive environment for our young athletes. Coaches and parents who continuously demonstrate self-control are a vital component to establishing a positive team environment. Coaches and parents who can control their emotions during difficult calls, immediately after mental and and/or physical errors will set a positive example for their young athletes to follow. When situations are intense on the field, players tend to pay closer attention to every detail and action that occurs and respond in a positive way or negative way dependent on the environment that they are in. It is up to us as parents and coaches to set the right example for our young athletes. I would like to ask a few things from the parents:
- Support your child and his/her teammates with positive comments before, during, and after practice and games.
- Please refrain from criticizing the referees during games.
- Please refrain from sideline coaching.
- Be a positive role model and support system for your young athlete.
- Challenge your son/daughter to accomplish her goals (short and long term) and praise your son/daughter for the goals he/she has accomplished.
I want our players to begin to learn how to take control of the situation, not look for someone or something else to blame. If a player makes a mistake during a performance, he/she should forget about it and focus on executing the next skill properly. Rather than dwelling on past mistakes or uncontrollable outside influences, encourage your son/daughter to take control of her own environment (the practice, the game, etc.) and rise to the challenge. The primary reason kids play sports is for fun. A positive environment will ensure that our kids will have the opportunity to learn and develop their skills, accomplish their goals, and have fun in the process. A young person who enjoys what he is doing will only succeed in what he is doing.
Finally, I would like to take moment to remind all parents and soccer fans to please keep comments to players positive and please refrain from sideline coaching. The players must learn to make decisions on their own, as soccer is a game of many quick decisions. Players will learn from playing the game. Please let these young soccer players make their own decisions, these decisions in training and games will be valuable lessons learned. In short, let the players play the game and the coaches do the coaching.
Remember to always encourage your young soccer player, confidence from a mentor means a lot. Thanks again for being great parents and soccer fans.
All the best,
Director of Youth Development