Friday, April 09, 1999

Coach's advice for watching children's games

        Chris Curran of Anderson Township is head coach of the Cardinals U11 select soccer team, and director of new coaches training for Girls Southeast Soccer Association Inc. Here's her advice to parents as spectators:

        1. If you count the eyes and ears along the touchlines, you'll discover the “parents' side” probably has 40-50 sets while the officiating crew (if you're lucky) has three sets. Guess what? You will see things they don't. The refs typically aren't biased. They're just human, and if you constantly distract them, their performance level is going to drop.

        2. You should communicate all nec essary health information about your child to the coach. You should give them time to recover from injuries. Some pediatricians will give in to a tearful kid and clear them for play when they're at risk of re-injury. When in doubt, see a sports medicine specialist who knows what stresses the arm/leg/whatever is going to be under and can properly evaluate the player.

        3. Support your coach, even if you would do things a different way unless you see something truly unsafe or unsporting. Every league has a system for dealing with coach-parent conflicts. If you have a serious problem, or your child needs a change, contact the league to find out more.

        4. Take a refereeing class and try it. You might never ref again, but you'll appreciate the stress these folks are under and appreciate the job they do for practically nothing. Oh, and make sure your day to ref is the hottest, most humid or muddiest day of the season!

        5. Relax, smile, and enjoy the match! These kids work hard in practice and in the games. Be proud of their efforts, and make them proud of you! There isn't a soccer player in the world who wants to be known as the “kid with the loud-mouth mom or dad.”

How to be a good soccer sport
- Coach's advice for watching children's games
Tips for surviving soccer season

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