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Positive Coaching Principles for Parents

Parents impact their children’s lives like no other people can and do best by their children when focusing on sports as a developmental opportunity, rather than a do-or-die, win-at-all-cost proposition.

Along the lines of a positive coach being a Double-Goal Coach®, who pursues winning and the even more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. . . A positive parent is a Second-Goal Parent®, who focuses on that Second Goal, the life lessons.

  • Unconditional love for their children regardless of athletic performance and a relentless commitment to helping them process the ups and downs of youth sports marks the positive sports parent.
  • Showing respect and courtesy to all players, coaches, officials, parents and spectators at all times, including those of opposing and other teams.

1. Parent Pledge

  • As a Second-Goal Parent I will let players and coaches take responsibility for the first goal of winning. I will relentlessly focus on the second, more important, goal of using sports to teach life lessons to my child and other youth.
  • I will use positive encouragement to fill the Emotional Tanks of my children, their teammates, and coaches. I understand that people do their best with full E-Tanks.
  • I will reinforce the ELM Tree of Mastery with my child (E for Effort, L for Learning, M for bouncing back from Mistakes). Because I understand a mastery approach will help my child be successful in sports and in life, I will encourage my child to:
    • put in a high level of effort to get better,
    • cultivate a Teachable Spirit to continue to learn and improve, and
    • use a Mistake Ritual (e.g., “flushing mistakes”) to quickly rebound from mistakes.
  • I will set an example for my child by Honoring the Game and will encourage him/her to remember ROOTS – respect for the Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self. If the official makes a "bad" call against my team, I will Honor the Game and be silent!
  • I will use a self-control routine to avoid losing my composure when things go wrong. I will take a deep breath, turn away from the game to refocus, count backwards from 100 or use self-talk (“I need to be a role model. I can rise above this.”).
  • I will engage in No-Directions Cheering. I will limit my comments during the game to encouraging my child and other players (from both teams).
  • I will get my child to practice and games on time and will be on time picking my child up after games and practices.
  • I will refrain from making negative comments about my child's coach in my child's presence. I understand that this will help to avoid planting negative seeds in my child's head that can negatively influence my child's motivation and overall experience.
  • I will support a drug, alcohol, and tobacco free environment at youth sporting events.
  • I will encourage my child to be the point of contact for all communication with the coach.
  • I will observe a mandatory “24-hour cooling off” period following a game before discussing with the coach any issue I or my child may have regarding the game. After the 24-hour period, I may contact the coach to arrange a time to privately discuss the issue.
  • I will take time to learn the rules of soccer:

2. Parent Homework

This fun video breaks (down) all the important rules!
This short video shares valuable insight from a 2x World Cup champ.
Another fun video that argues why parents really need to chill out.
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