Let’s go with the dumb things first, since I’ve done way more of those.
1. Yelled out instructions to my kid during games. We’ve all done it. It just confuses the kid, especially at young ages. They can’t listen to you, the coach, and teammates simultaneously, so don’t do it.
2. Immediately questioning my kid and analyzing the game as soon as we get in the car after the game, especially when it didn’t go well. Although my intentions were good, I’m sure he dreaded some of those rides home.
3. Going to games without looking at the weather forecast. In North Carolina, we can have 3 seasons in a day. There’s nothing better than wearing shorts and a t-shirt when it’s 40 degrees and raining sideways.
4. Obsess over wins and losses when he was young. There are few things less important than the score of a U10 soccer game. The only thing important is that your child wants to win.
5. Getting sucked into an argument with an opposing parent. It’s probably the most embarrassing thing I’ve done as a soccer parent, and worse yet, I did it in front of my son, setting a terrible example.
—–OK, now on to the good things—–
1. Stopped doing all those dumb things I just told you about.
2. Educated myself about the youth soccer landscape
3. After a loss, not speaking about the game until or unless he spoke about it 1st
4. As he got older, realizing that I couldn’t want soccer success for him more than he wanted for himself. I’m not going to lie, it was extremely hard for me not to push him, but part of parenting is to accept that point that the motivation has to come from within, and more importantly, it’s their journey and not yours.
5. Learned to just relax and enjoy watching him play.