The Most Important Question To Ask Your Youth Soccer Player
We live in the age of helicopter parenting. We all care very deeply for our children, so we often feel the need to know about and manage every aspect of their lives. When it comes to youth soccer, you may find yourself peppering your kids with dozens of questions after practice or after a game. Did you score? Did you get injured? Did you win? These are all good questions to show your child that you’re interested in their activities, but there’s one question that’s more important than any other.
Did you have fun?
Before you ask your son or daughter about how many goals were scored or if the team won, you should always make sure that your child is having fun. Youth soccer is not professional baseball. Winning the game and signing the big contract are not the most important matters of the day. Instead you want to make sure that your kid is having fun. Because if he isn’t, what’s the point?
There are so many great benefits to participating in youth sports. Your child will make many new friends and grow as person—absorbing lessons in teamwork, leadership, and perseverance. Sports will also keep your child active, healthy, and make sure that he gets a little sunlight during the day. However, if your child is not having fun, he will likely want to quit the team and stop playing altogether. In fact, the most common reason why children stop playing youth sports is because they stopped having fun.
All of the potential benefits will be meaningless if your child quits the team. However, if your child has fun, he may learn to love playing soccer. Developing a lifelong love for sports and competition will help him go farther, accomplish more later in life, and give him the confidence to take on even bigger challenges.
Why Isn’t Your Youth Soccer Player Having Fun?
If your child isn’t having fun anymore, you should find out why. If you can help him find that joy again, he may go back to loving soccer, the thrill of competition, and playing with his friends. The quickest way to find out why is to ask your child yourself. Maybe he or she can tell you what’s bothering him or what’s made soccer less enjoyable. You might also want to observe some of his practices and games and see if you can determine why he stopped having fun.
Don’t Put Too Much Emphasis on Winning
If you or the coach is placing too much focus on winning, it can quickly make the sport less enjoyable for the kids. Some of the kids may start to feel anxious, nervous, and afraid of making mistakes. In some case, you may not even realize you are putting this type of pressure on your child. They may be internalizing that pressure subconsciously and stressing themselves out. If this is happening, remind your children that winning is not as important as having fun and doing your best. Give them support and praise even when they lose to show them that you mean it.
Does Your Child Like Playing Soccer?
If your child has told you that they are no longer having fun, this is an important question to ask. Sometimes when we want our children to try new things and get involved, we push them into sports or activities that they are not interested in. Though this can be a great way to expand their horizons, at some point, you should give them the choice to continue. If your child isn’t having fun playing soccer, maybe there’s another sport that he will like a lot better.
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