Adolescence is a tough time for teenagers, and your soccer players are no different. First of all, it's a critical stage of their development as a person. Second, they start to get other influences in their life, pop culture, their teen peers, media influences, etc. They also begin to want physical space between you and them, and as a result sometimes they begin tuning you out.
This begs the question, “How do you help your soccer player improve, even if they've stopped listening to you?”
Here are 3 ways you can break down the barriers to help your child:
1. The Coach Is Your Biggest Ally
You should email the coach and request a 5 or 10 minute meeting after practice. Here are the basic 3 questions you need to ask.
1. First of all, you need to ask "What are they doing well? Where are they really being good?" The coach should be able to point out some specific thing that your soccer player does well, and we'll go into why you need to know that in a minute.
2. The second question is "What needs work? What specific skills do they need work at in order to help them be a better soccer player?"
3. The third question to ask is "What can they do to improve what they need work on? What specific drills can they do at home when they're away from practice?"
You want to get specific answers from the coach, exactly what it is they need to work on.
Next, you need to devise a plan of action along with the coach, and present 2 or 3 drills to your soccer player that they can practice on their own to get better.
Here's the key thing.......... once you devise your plan along with the coaches input, you want to give the plan to the coach to present. You don't want to present it. Your soccer player will take direction from the coach more, and it keeps you out of getting into that place where you're always talking with your child about what they can do better or what they can improve on.
2. Youtube Is Your Friend
This generation loves watching videos, so you want to be able to give your child some videos to take a look at. There are 3 YouTube channels that I would recommend you share with your soccer player.
- The first one is Beast Mode Soccer. They have some really high level drills that your player can do at home.
- The second is Soccer Drills Daily. They have thousands of drills, and maybe along with your coach, along with the plan you devise you can pick a couple of videos for the drill out there.
- The third YouTube channel is what's called Progressive Soccer. The reason I recommend this is Progressive Soccer is a product of a gentleman named Dylan Tooby, a young man who is still pursuing a professional soccer career. With his drills, he not only focuses on the skill aspect, but he also focuses on the mental aspects and the determination and work ethic required to improve in soccer. That's coming from a young man that your kids can relate to and not coming from you. They would take it a lot better coming from him, and he's somebody they can relate to. That's why I would recommend that channel.
Along with giving them those YouTube videos, every now and again, you want to point them to some cool soccer videos: funny videos, soccer fails, a video of their favorite player, something cool that's not related to technical skill or practice.
This will do three things.
One, it's going to ease up on your child feeling like you're always lecturing them about their game.
Two, if you give them some cool soccer videos, it opens them up a little and eases the way so that you can stick a little bit of teaching in along with it.
The third thing is ... I know this is true for me and my son, it provides a bonding opportunity. When I've shown my son a cool YouTube video, we have fun together, and it's not like I'm forcing him to try to spend time with me. It's just a cool thing that we both enjoy.
3. Stay Out Of The Way
Leave the coaching to the coach. If your child takes additional private lessons, attends soccer camps, whatever the case may be, leave it to the professionals to really hone their technical skills.
Your job as a parent is just to offer positive reinforcement. Talk about the things that they do well, and try to bolster their confidence. Stay out of the way of the technical stuff, and let your coach and instructors handle it. You should simply try to make sure that they follow through on their practice commitments.