If you are a parent, when you think of kids playing soccer, you may end up thinking of the time you spent on the sideline.
Those sideline hours aren’t always cheering on the team. Many of those hours are packing bags, arranging water and snacks, driving, watching practice, running to get something forgotten…
Playing Outside Together
There is a definite payoff to those hours invested! Kids learn so much about teamwork, life and following the rules from participation. Parents learn so much about how their kid moves, thinks and reacts. And no matter the season outcome, it is fun to all be cheering for the same team.
With leagues being so organized, it can be easy to let them do all the work. But that is also giving away some of the fun. You don’t need to have special skills or be a full-time volunteer to spend a little extra time and attention to your child’s soccer.
It can just be an extension of your quality time together!
Here are some things that can get you started looking at those down moments as family memories:
1. Secret Drill
Coaches use a sequence of skill movements to reinforce specific moves. Repetition of these moves helps them become automatic. With the direction of your child, come up with a secret drill that only the two of you know.
Make it a series of actions that can be done with just a soccer ball so you can complete your secret drill at the field or in the backyard.
Always start your soccer practice together in this way. You are a super-secret club of two that has this information!
Name it something silly and even add a secret signal to begin it.
2. Be the Player
Have your child teach you to play in your backyard or the park. With small children, you can act like you don’t have a clue and watch the fun ensue as they get playfully exasperated with your ignorance.
Older kids can instruct you in special skills or strategy. Follow their directions exactly!
This helps them realize how to explain things in a way others can follow and will be extra fun for you.
3. Phone Ban
Put your phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode for their games or your family practice time. Set aside everything else and really concentrate on the amazing soccer player that you created!
Celebrate their participation.
Rejoice in their success.
Support their efforts.
It is easy to get distracted while they are growing up before your eyes!
Embrace the Spontaneous Game
Remember the casual games of your childhood – when a pickup game might happen in the middle of the neighborhood street or underneath the park jungle gym.
There were not nets or chalk-outlined boundaries!
Expose your kids to that spontaneous fun giving them the permission to enjoy the game even when there aren’t color-coordinated jerseys, coaches and spectators.
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How do you play with your kids outside?