15 Things to keep in mind when watching from the sidelines:
Let the coaches’ coach. Telling your child to do something different from what her coach is saying can be distracting and confusing.
Let the kids play. A yelling parent can cause kids to lose focus on the field. Trust that the coaches have instructed your child well; if your child makes a mistake, don’t worry, he or she will likely learn from it.
Don’t discuss the play of specific young players in front of other parents. When parents act like their child is the star, or make negative comments about other children, it can be hurtful and kill parent harmony, which is often a key to the overall success of a youth sport.
Address issues in a positive way. If you hear parents making negative comments, listen patiently and then speak to the positive qualities of the player, coach or family.
Don’t complain about coaches to other parents. Once the behind-the-back criticism begins, it might never end. If you have a genuine issue with your child’s coach, plan a private meeting in which you can air your concerns.
Be encouraging. The coaches are there to guide young athletes through their mistakes, not the parents. Positive comments from the sidelines are more likely to boost children on the field.
Avoid making negative comments about players on the other team. Always remember that these are kids, not paid professionals. Negative comments can be hurtful to the young player as well as her family.
Be courteous. Keep interaction with parents on the other team as healthy and positive as possible.
The “other” team isn’t the enemy. Just as you’re out to watch your child play soccer, so too are the opposing team’s parents out to watch their kids. The only difference between sides here is the colour of the jerseys.
Don’t criticize the referees. Refs are going to miss calls – it’s part of the game – but they’re trying to be fair and objective.
Don’t blame others. Whether it’s towards the ref or anyone else, when a parent directs outbursts at someone for something that’s happened, it signals to the children that they can blame others when things go wrong.
Don’t offer superficial support. Thanking an official for a call that went “your” team’s way can be annoying and alienating. The ref wouldn’t have made the call if she didn’t think it was correct.
Avoid walking up and down the sidelines. Following play yelling instruction can be unnerving for the players and embarrassing to the children involved. If parents want to coach, they should pursue their coaching certification and then apply for openings.
Be conscientious. Parents should take a moment to think about their words or actions before they act in the heat of the moment. Just as players are punished for inappropriate behaviour, parents can be as well.