- Please, look at what supporting your child doesn’t mean!
- Consider how you can best support your child.
What supporting your child doesn’t mean:
Whether you’re watching your children from the sidelines during a crucial cup semi-final, driving them to training or talking to them at home about the game, your influence as a parent is critical. Too often overenthusiastic parents can let their emotions about the game and their children influence how they communicate and what they say to their child, the coach and the referee.
„Football is a sport that is all about passion and competitiveness but that is no excuse for the behaviour of some parents at matches.”
To be a good football parent there are certain rules you should be aware of and should try to follow. Listed below are what we, at The FA, consider to be the golden rules of what not to do:
– Never showing any encouragement.
– Never turning up to watch a match or training.
– At games spending the whole game:
- Shouting ‘get stuck in’ to your child.
- Shouting at the opposition.
- Shouting at your team that they’re useless (except for your child!).
- Shouting that your child is useless.
- Shouting that the referee is useless.
- Shouting that the opposition’s manager is useless.
- Shouting that your coach is useless.
Be honest and think back to the last time you watched your child play. Did you break any of the golden rules?
Finally, a personal one, particularly for the mums – don’t (as mine used to):
- If your child is injured, run onto the pitch to shout at the player responsible for picking on your child.
- At the final whistle give your child a big cuddle and a sloppy kiss.
What does ‘supporting your child’ mean?
To put it simply it is about helping your child to develop through football. Anyone involved in the game knows that football can bring huge benefits to the players, coaches and volunteers, such as a sense of belonging, teamwork, achievement and fitness.
To give your child the best chance to enjoy these benefits encourage them to „be a part of the game” and use our influence to support their needs so that tey can continue to develop through football.
Here are some examples of what you can do to support your child:
- Encourage, but don’t force your child to take part.
- Understand what your child wants from football, and support this.
- Emphasize the enjoyment and fun of playing the game.
- Praise and reinforce effort and improvement.
- Be a constructive, positive and honest critic.
- Encourage your child to review their performance, and discuss ways for improvement.
- Keep winning in perspective.
- Encourage fair play.
 Les Howie, The Official FA Guide for Football Parents, (2007), Hodder & Stoughton, Bookpoint Ltd., Manchester (UK)