Sideline Behavior and Culture
Being a parent in a competitive sports environment is challenging and it is imperative that parents behave in the manner most conducive for the positive development of their child as a player and a person. The development of their teammates also depends on your behavior, so being a good sports parent is of utmost importance to ensure all players can thrive in competitive soccer with us. So how does one become a great sports parent? Start by honoring the ROOTS of the game and adopt a positive sideline culture alongside all your other team parents. If you invest in becoming the best sports parent you can be, not only will you help your own child achieve greatness on and off the field, but you will ensure a bright future for your team.
Honor the ROOTS of the game:
Honor the Rules.
- Rules are in place to keep players safe and the game fair.
- Rules provide necessary checks and balances in a game otherwise full of emotions.
- True success and genuine accomplishment can only be attained fairly so do not try to work against the rules or bend them; advantages gained unfairly are ultimately meaningless and short-lived.
Honor the Officials.
- Remember that referees are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers.
- Without officials there is no game, so cherish their presence and never give a referee a motive to stop officiating, especially if they are young and/or just starting their careers.
- Referees are our fellow soccer fans and they deserve our patience, praise, respect and admiration for taking on what is often a thankless task.
- Referees are human like everyone else and they will make mistakes, so teach your kids the power of forgiveness and that making mistakes is part of the learning process.
- Referees are beyond your control just like the weather on game day, so teach your kids that they need to focus on the things they can control: effort and attitude.
- Be resilient to a bad call just like you are when things don’t go your way in life; teach your kids that the adversity from a bad call should not distract them from their next play.
- Keep matters in perspective - you are not watching your child in the World Cup final each weekend.
Honor the Opponents.
- Treat others with courtesy; remember your opponents are, like you, fans of the game only in a different uniform, playing for a different club, supporting a different team.
- Without opponents there is no competition, so cherish the opportunity they provide your kids to work on their game.
- Respect to be respected.
- Opponents are working on their game just as much as your kids are and they need your support to succeed as well, so recognize their effort and accomplishments just the same.
- Fierce and sportsmanlike opponents are what players should strive to be and have when competing.
Honor your Teammates.
- Let the coaches do the coaching, so leave instructions for them to deliver; remember your teammates paid the coach to instruct them, not you.
- Focus on cheering only and avoid using verbs; besides not being your job, any instructions from you can contradict what players are hearing from the other sideline!
- Cheer for every player because the success of the entire team depends on all its members, not just your child.
- Cheer for everyone to make it clear to all players they have your support even if they make mistakes; accept that making mistakes is part of the learning process and that all players must feel comfortable making them if they are to reach their potential.
- Accept that player development takes time and that each player has a different developmental timecourse.
- Represent yourself well.
- Be a role model and set an example for everyone at a game.
- Set high standards and live up to them.
Always keep in mind that:
- Anxiety is the greatest impediment to master the game.
- Making mistakes is part of learning and all players must feel comfortable in making them.
- Your behavior on the sidelines, if exemplary, will help all players overcome the inhibitory effects of anxiety and provide them with an environment in which they can find out how good they can be.
- Players exposed to anxiety, fear or intimidation, or tinged with a lack of confidence, will not build the skills they are capable of.
- The most important play is the next play and that’s what we want players to focus on.
- Player development takes years and requires a lot of patience and a gazillion touches on the ball, the vast majority of which happen at practices, not games.
- Struggle is a good thing, so help kids recognize that getting better requires a lot of work and time -- and that putting in the effort to make it happen is fun.
- Players who respond to struggle, adversity and failure by working hard and enjoying the effort will succeed.
- A healthy sideline culture requires constant teamwork on the part of all team parents; work as a team to help anyone who is out of line and remember that anyone can have a bad day.
- Please spend time on our Education page so we are all compliant with the electronic Code of Conduct; help all Breakers do what’s best for the kids.