For the record -- I did not play sports as a kid, but now that I have a kid who loves soccer, I'm learning.
In fact, it is "just as absurd as shouting at them while they're on the playground ('Climb faster!') or drawing in a coloring book ('Use the red crayon!')."
And it's not just about the guys, apparently.
"Men tend to be the worst offenders, but I see plenty of moms making a racket at youth soccer games," Woitalla says. "Like the men, they often rationalize their screaming by considering it cheering. But screams such as 'Go, go, go!' or 'Go get 'em!' can be equally as distracting for young players as more specific instructions."
So, what should a parent do if he/she is next to one of these "screamers"?
"If an adult at a birthday party was screaming, 'Hit that #&$^%@# piñata!" I'm guessing other parents would ask him to stop swearing in front of the children," Woitalla says. "And the same should happen at a youth soccer game.
"First of all, it's the coach's job to outline the basic guidelines of sideline behavior for parents -- no coaching, no screaming, no calling the players by name during the game (which distracts them). Then the coach should appoint a parent to serve as a sideline monitor, who politely reminds the parents when they cross those lines."
After all, what's soccer really about? Playtime for your children, says Woitalla. "Unfortunately, our children are granted far less adult-free playtime than previous generations, and the pickup game has become a rarity. Soccer, because it is a safe, simple game, can serve as a substitute for the free play that today's children are being denied -- if adults learn to keep their mouths shut."
|Rachel Sarah, a.k.a. "Single Mom Seeking" blogs at SingleMomSeeking.com and co-founded SingleMommyHood.com, the first-ever website to offer "a whole new way to think about life."|