GAME DAY CODE OF CONDUCT
Here is a reminder of little things that we can do on the sidelines.
· Only club coaches are permitted to coach games and practices. Let the coaches coach. If you are telling your child - or any other player for that matter - to do something different from what their coach is telling them or perhaps what they feel is in their best interest, you create distraction and confusion. Even if you feel that it’s the right instruction! Give them encouragement, not advice.
· Allow kids to be creative and take risks. It is very unnerving for many young players to try and perform difficult tasks on the field at the spur of the moment when parents are yelling at them from the sidelines. Please let the kids play. If they have been well coached, they should know what to do on the field. If they make a mistake, chances are they will learn from it.
· Do not discuss the play of specific young players in front of other parents. Comments such as, "I don't know how that girl made this team" or "She's just not fast enough" are damaging, detrimental to the player, team, parent and coaches environment and have no place on our sideline. Even though we are all entitled to our own opinions, and sometimes we want to express them, remember that these are just kids, and some opinions are best kept to yourself.
· Respond to negativity with positive comments. If you hear negative comments being made, we suggest that you discourage such toxic behavior by addressing these comments in a positive way. Speak to the positive qualities of a player, family or coach and encourage others to keep things in perspective and remain supportive of the learning process.
· Do not to complain about your child’s coaches to other parents. Before you know it, parents are talking constantly in a negative way behind a coach's back and this creates an environment in which it is stressful and confusing for the players. If you have what you truly feel is a legitimate concern with your child's coach, the program or philosophy - either regarding game strategy or playing time - we encourage you to arrange an appointment to meet privately with our staff and away from a soccer field and other kids to work things out.
· Be encouraging. Young athletes do not need to be reminded constantly about their perceived errors or mistakes. Their coaches will instruct them, and correct them, either during the game or at half-time, and during practices. There will be games where coaches are instructing constantly, and others where the coaches will purposely let the kids play without instruction as a learning tool. Your words can mean a lot. You can often see a young player make that extra effort when they hear encouraging words from the sideline about their effort and their creative play, a tackle or perhaps a great run to create space, for example.
· Avoid making any negative comments about players on the other team. This should be simple: we are talking about youngsters, not adults who are being paid to play professionally. Even though you want your child to do well, and it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of competition, this should never be at the expense of another young player. I recall being at a game some years ago, when parent on one team loudly made comments about errors made by a particular young player on the other team. People on the other side of the field were stunned and angry. Besides being tasteless and classless, these kinds of comments can be hurtful to the young person involved and to their family as well.
· Try to keep interaction with parents on the other team as healthy and positive as possible. You want your child's team to win. So do they. But that should not make us take leave of our senses, especially our common sense. Be courteous until it hurts and avoid the 'tit for tat' syndrome.
· Parents on the other team are not the enemy. Neither are the players on the other team. We should work to check any negative feelings at the door before we hit the field.
· Treat referees with respect. What is the easiest thing to do in the youth sports world? Criticize the referees. Yes, there are times when calls are missed and the coaches and players will often feel the same as you do. And these missed calls can, unfortunately, directly affect the outcome of a contest. That said, by and large those who officiate at youth soccer games are hardly over-compensated, are refereeing for the good of the game and are honestly giving their best effort - which is often quite competent. At worst, they at least try to be fair and objective. Outbursts from parents on the sideline made toward the referees only signal to our on children on the field that they can blame the refs for anything that goes wrong. Blaming others is not a formula for success in sports. Yelling out comments such as "Good call, ref" or "Thanks ref" may only serve to alienate an official which may sway future calls against our own team (subconsciously that is!). The referee assumes they made the proper call - that's why they made it. On the other hand, trying to show superficial support because the call went 'your' way is simply annoying to the officials, and to anyone within earshot and makes them look biased as well. In most cases, if there is a problem, the coaches will address the referee directly, so please allow them to work it out.
· Please be a spectator and a supporter, not an additional coach. Walking up and down all game long along the sidelines, following the play, is unnerving to players and unnecessary - particularly so if you are trying to yell out instructions to various players, including your own child. It is embarrassing to the player/players involved and simply counterproductive.
· Don’t be too hard on your child after the game. Talk positively with your child after the game. The ride home is sometimes as important as the game itself. Make that time a good memory for your child by discussing as many positives as you can about him/her, her coach, her teammates, etc. Chances are that have already gone over every mistake they made on the field and everything they could have done better in their head, and with their coaches, so going over it again immediately after the game may not be the best time to discuss.
· Avoid ‘heat of the moment’ comments. We all feel things and may be tempted to say things in the 'heat of the moment.’ But we don't excuse athletes for doing inappropriate things in the 'heat of the moment' (there are penalties, suspensions, etc.) so we should apply similar standards to our own sideline behavior. Quickly check yourself and ask: Will I be proud of what I am about to say or do when I reflect on it tomorrow? The field or car park is not the time to 'fan the flames.' Whether it is a coach's decision, a referee's call, a comment that was made, let it go. Don't harass the coach, or an official, or a parent on the other team after the game is over. Go home, relax, and unwind. If you wish to speak to a coach make an appointment to do so via email. Right before or after practice when the coach is either busy with on field activities is not the best time to meet as coaches are planning their sessions and concentrating on teaching. Also, they are simply not allowed by the club to conduct impromptu meetings.