How to encourage your soccer-playing child:
- Focus not on winning itself but on winning behavior. So his/her team lost– never mind, he/she still took a great free kick.
- Before a game, ask him/her what he wants to get out of it. Maybe he/she has been practicing a tricky tackle, in which case you can say: “I saw you do it three times. Fantastic.”
- Cheer from the touchline but don’t issue instructions.
- Beware of conversation on the car journey home. Try not to interrogate him and concentrate on positive feedback.
- Emphasizing “personal bests” – quality crosses, long passes, etc – is the way to build self-confidence.
- The first question back at home should not be “Did you win?” but “Did you have a good time?”
- When looking for a club for your child, go to a game and watch the body language and conduct of players, parents and the coach. Ask about substitution and rotation policies – will everyone in the side get a game?
- Don’t try to live out thwarted ambitions through your child.