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STRIKING EAGLES SOCCER CLUB

PO Box 34,

Gilbertsville, NY 13776

E-mail rwingjr@citlink.net

 

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Our Soccer Playing Artists

(Editor's Note: This letter appeared in the Cincinnati Classics newsletter which I have shamelessly stolen and reprinted here because I thought that it was well written.  If you are interested, check out the Cincinnati Classics Home Page.)


Message from the President of the Board of Directors

Since my oldest child was four (he's now approaching seventeen) I have had this love affair with the game of soccer. It has provided hours of enjoyment for us as a family and for each of us individually. The game has given us many friends and taught us many lessons. I'd like to share one of those lessons with those of you who are parents in hopes that it will bring greater joy and enjoyment to the game. The subject is sideline parental behavior. We've visited that topic at one time or another but prior to the start of a new season seems to be an appropriate time for all of us to stop and reflect once again.

A little more than three years ago I wrote a letter on this very topic to the parents on my youngest son's team. As the team's parent administrator you can do those things. I saved it as a reminder to myself with respect to my own behavior. Please permit me to share some of that letter with you: "I would like to take a few moments of your time to express what has become a concern of mine during the past several weeks. You may agree or disagree with my thoughts, but I ask that you please understand I am addressing our parent group and not any individual, and I include myself in the group. We are fortunate to have the pleasure of watching sixteen super kids play a very exciting style of soccer. Each boy brings his special abilities and personality to this team in a very unselfish manner. The results speak highly of them as a team and as individuals.

At our parent meeting several months ago, we made the commitment to be positive with all team members, to not coach from the sidelines and to at least not criticize the referees in a manner they could hear. My concern is that we are not always following through with our intentions and that the long term effect on our kids and their team will be negative. I must interject here, however, that there are those of you who are a model for us all, and I applaud you for your actions. Certainly, every boy on this team gives his very best effort at all times. We cannot and should not ask more of them. If they make a mistake, and they will, they need our support and understanding more than ever. We expect so much of this team. But please don't expect too much or that pressure will take the fun away from all of us. My hope is that this group of kids will be playing soccer together for many years to come. If that is to happen, we as parents will need to "perform" well on the sidelines of every game. . . "

With that in mind, this past fall my son's team was playing in Centerville at the Dayco Tournament'95. Prior to one of our early round games I was talking to the team's coach, Terry Nicholl, and commented to him about his coaching style of being rather quiet on the sideline during a match. What he expressed next will long remain with me and I offer it to you for your consideration. Coach Nicholl began by explaining, "Look, the game of soccer is really an expression of a lovely work of art. The pitch is its canvass. And each and every player sees the picture in his or her own way. We must always allow them to express themselves and paint the picture they create. Whether it's making a pass to the flanks, dribbling across the middle, heading the ball to your teammate, or ripping a shot on goal, - it's their picture and I try to let them paint it."

I think that's a great analogy. So the next time you are watching your son or daughter play soccer, consider it a work of art. If your child were painting would you yell out at the top of your voice "Paint it blue, paint it blue!"? Would you comment "No, don't put the tree there. Cheese and crackers why would you do that?" And if there was another child nearby, would you comment "Boy, that kid can't paint worth a plug nickel."? Of course you wouldn't. You'd be more likely to praise their effort and comment about "What a great picture you've created today." The same applies to soccer and our behavior on the sidelines. You and your child will have years of enjoyment if you are able to "get the picture".

  1. Good luck and ENJOY!

  2. Be positive.

  3. Treat Officials with respect and dignity at all times.

  4. Treat all Players with respect and dignity at all times.

  5. Let the coach coach - parents don't coach from the sidelines.

  6. Enjoy the game and encourage others to enjoy it.

Editor's Note: This letter appeared in the Cincinnati Classics newsletter which I have shamelessly stolen and reprinted here because I thought that it was well written.  If you are interested, check out the Cincinnati Classics Home Page.

Striking Eagles Home Page Up ] [ Our Soccer Artists ] A kid's letter to parents ] Parental Support ] Soccer Mom ] Touchlines Rules for Spectators ] A father's letter to his son. ] Top Ten Reasons To Be A Designated Good Sport ] The 6 Things Parents Should Say to Their Player ] Tips for Parents ] The Parents' Creed ] A Poem ]

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