Did you ever notice how much coaching goes on during a child's sports game? When parents coach from the sidelines it sometimes leads to information overload, misinformation or increases the pressure on these young athletes.
I have heard some compare game day to taking a test in school. By practicing, the kids are doing their homework to prepare for the test - or in this case, the game.
Imagine what a classroom would be like on test day if you had three teachers standing on one side of the room and a line of parents on the other all screaming directions to the students at their desks. Now envision the teachers and parents yelling out conflicting instructions.
Coaches (me included) need to do a better job of not coaching on game day. Just let the kids play. Allow them to think for themselves. See what the players do without constant feedback. Remember it's their test and their time to shine. Say most of what you have to say at half-time or after the game.
When parents attempt to coach their children during a game, it can not only be very distracting but counter-productive. I can't tell you how many times I have seen parents give their children incorrect feedback or information that contradicts the coach's expectations. I also have seen parents use poor timing; when a child is in the process of executing a skill, it is probably not the best time to yell at them and yet I see it all the time.
Try to sit down and enjoy your child's game. Encourage your kids, cheer them on, but don't coach! Coach your child at home if you need to, not at practice or during warm-ups and definitely not during games. If you can't help yourself, then maybe you should sign up to be a team coach.
Send feedback or topic ideas to Mark.
Mark Housel, owner of Housel Fun and Fitness, began playing soccer at 7. He has been involved in the sport his whole life - as a player in high school and college and since graduating college he has been active as a paid and volunteer coach.