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Parent-Trainers – Do This Now!

I am pleased that the Triangle Soccer Facebook Group is growing in membership and enthusiasm.  Everyone can benefit from this information.  However, the tips are primarily intended to support fellow soccer parent-trainers with the lessons gained through the years. For those new to training their children, in this post, I challenge you to start now.

But first, let’s clarify the problem we are trying to address. So often, our efforts are mischaracterized.  There is no shortage of articles condemning parent-trainers. The biggest fallacy is that parent-trainers are lumped into the same category as their more vocal cousins – the crazy parents.  During your journey as a parent-trainer, I am sure you have heard it all;

You shouldn’t live vicariously through your child…

You are putting too much pressure on them…

Sports are supposed to be all about fun…

And my favorite, Just tell them you love to watch them play…

The motives of a parent-trainer, on the other hand, are complicated by a few pesky facts and basic common sense.

Fact – People (including children) who work diligently at something improve faster and in more ways than those who don’t.

Fact – Ball mastery is the most important skill for youth soccer players to develop.

Fact – The earlier you start, the easier the skill acquisition.

Fact – Team training alone doesn’t provide enough touches.

Fact – People (including children) want to improve and learn new skills.

Fact – Helping your child with math doesn’t mean that you want them to become a professional mathematician with a full ride to Morehouse College.

So the real question for parent-trainers is;

How do I deliver the high volume of touches my child needs without becoming an overbearing parent and/or remortgaging my home to pay for trainers?

While there is no advice that fits everyone if you are just starting I recommend you do this now.

Be honest with your children – “I am your parent and I am your trainer. This situation won’t change anytime soon, so let’s both make the best of it.” Individual training has to be part of the equation if you want to be successful at competitive soccer.

Establish set training times and stick to it – Children tend to respond well to set routines with clear beginning and end times.  In a previous post, I discussed how I squeeze in training by bolting on short sessions to team training and games. Click here to check it out.

Limit verbal instructions – Nothing frustrates your child more than hearing your voice.  If you have to talk a lot then you are asking them to do something that is too advanced.

Focus on providing the extra repetitions – gradually increasing the level of difficulty.

To that end, do this now:

Pick a follow-along video from this playlist and have your player do it for the next 30-days.

  • Before and/or after every practice
  • Before every game
  • Before school (at least 1x per week) and
  • On at least one day when there is no team training

or

Check out the Triangle Soccer homework and have your player do the Block 1 Individual Touch Stations for the next 30-days.

  • Before and/or after every practice
  • Before every game
  • Before school (at least 1x per week) and
  • On at least one day when there is no team training

Doing this will seamlessly give your child nearly an hour of extra ball mastery work per week. Over time you will notice them implementing these skills during training and games.

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