As a soccer parent, you’re no doubt intimately familiar with the time and effort – not to mention money – that’s required for your child to be successful in the sport. From hectic practice and game schedules to supplemental training and recovery regimens, playing the beautiful game can feel more like a full-time job than an extracurricular activity.
After so many sacrifices, it’s natural to want your child to reap the benefits in the form of team selection and playing time – or even a college scholarship. But before you focus on those outcomes, it’s important to create an environment of responsibility, confidence and self-reliance that will lead your child to long-term success on and off the field.
We’ve put together this informal quiz to help you decide whether your soccer parenting skills are on point – or might need some tweaking.
Soccer Parenting Quiz
Read the following statements and respond “true” or “false” as to whether it describes your parenting philosophy. Give yourself 2 points for every “true” answer and 0 points for every “false” answer.
My child deserves to succeed
It’s my responsibility to get my child to practice on time with all the required equipment
I don’t let my child handle difficult situations on his/her own
I want my child to be happy above all else
My spouse and/or I have contacted the coach to discuss our child’s playing time
When my child seems stressed, I cut him/her slack on chores or homework to ease the pressure
I get more upset when my child sits on the bench or loses a game than he/she does
I try to help my child avoid failing
It’s important that my child have at least as much success as his/her peers
Your Total Score:
6 or Less
Congratulations! You’re allowing your child to take ownership of his/her soccer career and learn important lessons in discipline, self-confidence and resilience. The most successful elite athletes have all faced adversity and learned how to use stress as a tool to grow and develop. Keep empowering your child to work hard and face life’s difficulties with a positive attitude, and chances are they’ll continue to be successful.
8 or More
While you no doubt have good parenting intentions, a score of more than 8 could be a clue that you’re taking on more than your fair share of the burden for your child’s success. Rather than being helpful, doing too much for your child can actually stifle their ability to be independent and self-motivated. Looking to you for guidance can be ok, but make sure you’re also teaching your child how to solve problems and overcome adversity so they can draw on those skills when faced with inevitable challenges throughout their life.
While there are no easy answers when it comes to parenting, having open conversations with your child can go a long way toward understanding what they’re experiencing. And when it comes to handling the pressures of college recruiting, if you find yourself overwhelmed or uncertain how to handle a specific situation, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of helpful resources – from recruitment services to sport psychologists – that specialize in helping families manage the stress of the college recruiting process.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.