October 22 2018

SYNERGY: the interaction of two or more people, producing a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate efforts.

Being a Sports Parent

Posted by Ben Hinchey on September 26, 2014

With a new blog feature now available on the website, I thought I would try to post some valuable articles or thoughts from time to time for parents and players.  With the first entry I thought I would touch on a topic that can affect everyone with kids playing sports. I hope you enjoy and can find something useful, both from my thoughts and in the article.


Making yourself the ideal sports parent for your kid is not always possible.  But, with every effort, your child will find more enjoyment in the team, the games, and the sport as a whole.  The article attached is a good point of reference for parents as they not only watch games, but speak to their kids and other parents about the players, the team, and the games. 

I know all parents want to see their kid be successful and enjoy playing.  The coaches and the kids share these same goals with the parents.  While it can be tough to watch your children and others on their team making simple mistakes, sometimes repeatedly, we need to keep in mind that this is how we learn.  Everyone gets in a slump now and again across every facet of life.  Players, Coaches, and parents will all make mistakes.  It is important that we all work together to improve on those mistakes, and try to learn from them the best we can to improve future outcomes. 

The players are under a lot of stress when they take the field.  It is normal to be nervous.  It is normal to get frustrated at times.  It is normal to get a little too confident at times.  Regardless of the situation, it is essential that players are all looking to improve.  Although it can be tough at times, we always emphasize to all players to trust their teammates and coaches.  

When talking to your players during and after games it is important to consider his or her point of view.  They are trying to do the best they can, but have a lot to think about in at any moment on the field.  While it is important for coaches to encourage players to try new things, it is also important for them to step back and allow the players to make mistakes.  These mistakes are used as a point of reference when we work to correct and build on individual and team issues.  We ask a lot of our players in terms of communication on the field.  We expect them to communicate with each other and listen to their coaches at the same time.  This is not easy to do, as evidenced by mistakes happening even at the highest levels from time to time.  While I know that parents are trying to help, it can add stress and frustration to the players when they are hearing instruction from their parents on the sidelines.  It is amazing to me how often players will ask to play on the coaches sidelines instead of the parent sidelines.  I have frequently heard players arguing over which outside mid gets to play parent’s side versus coach’s side of the field. 

To put this in perspective, think in terms of yourself at work.  If you had a boss, co-workers, and your parents looking over your shoulder trying to micro manage what you are doing at your desk, it would add a lot of unneeded stress to your work day.  This can be the same feeling players get with coaches and parents who constantly try to add instruction to their thought process.  While it is important for coaches to intervene from time to time to correct problems while they happen, or provide ideas for improvement, it can be overwhelming for players to hear too much in a game situation. 

Soccer is a sport in which players need to be able to make decisions frequently and quickly.  It is important that we allow this aspect of soccer to develop in players from a young age.  At Synergy, we try to teach our players to be on the same page as their teammates, but also to be creative in their ideas with and without the ball.  If there is too much instruction during a game, the players cannot develop their own process of decision making on the field.  This decision making ability is what can separate a great player from good players.  

At training and games, many players bring up how much direction comes from the parents during a game.  Frequently players have also mentioned that the parents discourage some of the skills or tactics that their team is working on.  I would encourage all parents to ask their children if it is helpful or stressful hearing yelling from spectators during games.  Ask if the spectators are sending the same messages as the coach.  I think a lot of times you would be surprised by the answer.

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  • The one and only thing a sports parent should do is support their child (and their child's team) at every turn. Cheer and cheer alike. It's not about you, it's about them and teaching them to love something.

    Posted by Chris Christie, 22/12/2014 6:44pm (4 years ago)

  • Hey Ben, I hope all is going well. Excellent post. A great message that needs to be repeated often.

    Posted by Sean Sullivan, 09/10/2014 3:11pm (4 years ago)

  • Thanks for sharing your insights and the article Ben! A great reminder that as parents our #1 role during sports activities is that of supporter/spectator.

    Posted by Laurie Lucas, 07/10/2014 11:07am (4 years ago)

  • Great reminder. I think as parents we forget it's not our job to coach it's our job to parent. I know if my daughter makes a mistake she is completely aware of it or will be coached about it, she does not need us to bring her more down.This article is such a good reminder of it all from a players perspective. And referees make mistakes also and the coaches are there to talk to them also. Awesome article..thank you.

    Posted by Ann Weseman, 06/10/2014 10:05am (4 years ago)

  • Well done, thank you for teaching the great game of Soccer.....lessons of teamwork and positive attitude are key to navigate...the game of life.. jj

    Posted by j j, 02/10/2014 11:00am (4 years ago)

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