Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just let the kids play!

Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.

The key ways that young children learn include playing, being with other people, being active, exploring and new experiences, talking to themselves, communication with others, meeting physical and mental challenges, being shown how to do new things, practicing and repeating skills and having fun.

I'm writing in regards to parent conduct on the sidelines. More specifically, i am asking for your help on a few matters. I understand that as parents, you have a lot of passion for your son/daughter and the game of soccer. But we need to remember that these young players are still very young and are NOT professional athletes.

Please help create a positive learning environment for these young players by keeping comments positive towards your children and his/her teammates.

I would like to ask a few things from the parents:

- Support your child and 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 daughter for the goals she has accomplished.

Young players need 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 his/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/she is doing will only succeed in what he is doing.

Finally, I would like to take moment to remind you 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.

Quan Phan
Director of Youth Development
Prince William Soccer

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