Advice for football parents

Advice for football parents

As parents, our ultimate wish for our children is for them to be safe, happy and healthy. Much of their future lives as independent adults is influenced by the experiences they have during their childhoods, so it's no surprise that we make every possible effort when they’re young to encourage them to pursue their interests. And, while we at Avec Sport won’t pretend to be parenting experts, we have learned a thing or two about how to become a good football parent.

If your child has taken an interest in youth football, there are a number of things you can do to encourage them to stick to it during their childhood and beyond. Football has a wide range of health, fitness and social benefits, especially for youth players, so any steps you can take to help them take part in practices, try their best in matches and have fun all the while are well worth the effort. 

How can I be a good football parent?

Parenting can be a battle under any circumstances, but when it comes to helping your child become the best, happiest young footballer they can be, we have a few tips that might make it a little easier. Read our five top tips to becoming a great youth football parent below.

  1. Attend football matches

Perhaps the most important way to show your support and get involved in your child’s footballing life is to attend their football matches as often as possible. Truly important events to young footballers, having parents on the sidelines, congratulating them when they make a good pass or score a goal, can act as a huge motivator for kids. While you yourself will know that putting in effort elsewhere, whether that be washing their dirty football kits or driving them to training sessions, is vital to their growth as a player, these big events are likely to stand out in their mind, so prioritise attending them wherever possible.

Another important top tip for football parents while attending matches is to follow the coach’s requests for behaviour. Watching your child struggle or excel can be difficult, and yelling encouragement or directions may be tempting, but avoiding this is best. All too often, shouted instructions of “kick it” and “take the shot” can knock a child off balance, increasing their stress levels and impacting their confidence. Instead, leave them to make their plays, sharing encouragement and cheers after the goal has been scored or when at home.

  1. Prioritise praise over criticism

If you’re a football parent who plays the game yourself, or just loves the sport as a fan, it can be tempting to share your wisdom with your new player. Even so, it’s important to keep the roles of football parent and coach completely separate. This is because, while giving hints and tips after watching a match may feel like a good way to show interest, it's important to understand that the team coach will do the same when the opportunity arises. This means that, a single suggestion to practice accurate passing is doubled, causing potential damage to confidence and the motivation to improve.

Don’t worry about their progress. Everything they need to know will be shared with them by their coach in a fun, encouraging environment - they won’t develop slower without your assistance - and the role of encouraging, praising parent is equally, if not more, important to their ongoing love for the sport.

  1. Make space for football at home

It can be easy when picking up hobbies like football, which require a lot of time and commitment to become fully involved in, to drop out when the initial excitement starts to die down. As a football parent, your task is to try to keep this excitement going and one way to do that is to make space for football in your home. 

By this we don’t mean kick the ball around the living room, smashing everything in sight. Instead, we recommend doing small things with your child like watching football matches together, playing at home in the garden or even just chatting about football practice and matches over dinner. Anything you can do to show your child that you have taken an interest in their hobby, and that they’re welcome to share it with you in whatever way they want, will help boost their motivation and excitement for the sport.

  1. Reduce emphasis on winning

There’s a reason the phrase ‘It’s not about the winning, but the taking part’ has been around for so long - it’s true. If your child is new to the sport especially, and all their experiences with football have been watching professional matches, it won’t be a surprise if their focus is on winning the game. Unfortunately, this mentality can be very damaging to youth footballers who will feel heightened pressure during matches to win, rather than simply to play their best and enjoy themselves. As a youth football parent, try to help your child focus on having fun and developing their skills rather than piling on any all-or-nothing pressure.

  1. Provide footballing essentials

Praise, encouragement and engagement are all cost-free ways of becoming the best football parent you can be, but there’s no denying that having a child involved in football requires some time, effort and monetary investment. In order to help your child get involved in football, you’ll need to commit to transporting them to football games and practice sessions, as well as kitting them out with their own football training wear, kit and, if they want to practice at home, some extra equipment such as their own football. 

Fortunately, at Avec Sport, we design durable and long-lasting youth football kits which are perfect for kids to wear on the pitch with pride. Our kits include football socks, shorts, customisable jerseys and more, so you can find everything you need for your budding footballer online at Avec Sport.