March 17, 2019
Are you a joy-stick parent?
Question – do you tell your child the answers to their school homework?
Why, then, do so many parents try to give their children the answers on the football pitch?
Screams of ‘pass’, ‘shoot’, ‘move there’, ‘find space’ are just a few of the instructions that you hear from over-eager parents at grassroots football games.
This has led to the new phrase, ‘Joy-Sticking’ i.e. trying to control the actions of a player like you would if you were playing a computer game.
Don’t get us wrong, we know how hard it can be to stand quietly and resist the temptation to shout and try help when watching children’s football.
But what YOU might class as helpful instruction can actually be very counter-productive for the development of your child.
They need to work things out for themselves, make mistakes, learn from them and then find the solution next time. That is when the magic happens.
There is also the team football coach to consider.
They may have told the players to do certain things that are different to what you are shouting to your child.
It just makes them very confused.
Focus on encouraging and praising during the game.
Remain calm on the side-line and just let them enjoy playing.
The time for instruction can come on the journey home when you talk about the match.
But, even then, try to guide your child to the right answers as opposed to telling them what you think they should have done.
Questions like, ‘what could you have done differently with X?’ are better than ‘you should have done X’.
If you needed this point hammering home even more then check out the picture of Messi and Suarez watching their kids play a match.
Sat down, relaxed and letting the players play.
These two will know more about football than any coach at that game but they simply let the kids play because they know that is the best thing for them.
If it is good enough for them…