The Micky



1:The Parents

Used with the kind permission of  
(the site that everyone who detests the "world's biggest club" should visit),
 where the column originally appeared.

Today I am going to talk about the parents and the vital role they play in the success of their footballing sons.

As you look up and down the sidelines at a youth match you see scores of proud parents cheering on their kids. It's probably true to say that the majority of dads are frustrated footballers and most of the mums think their kid is the greatest thing on earth. As a former youth player, and as a parent of two footballing sons, I can relate to that!! I can never stress enough how supportive my dad was all through my career. In fact, he still comes to watch me play in charity matches and stuff now. I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for his endless support and encouragement.

 I am thrilled when parents take an interest in their son's passion but I do also get a little miffed when they interfere and think they know better than the coaches. Professional soccer coaching in an academy should be seen as an extension of school. Most parents wouldn't dream of marching into a classroom demanding to know why their kid got a bad mark. Parents largely leave it up to the teachers when they hand their children in to school. But unfortunately the same is not always true of soccer school.

Every parent wants the best for their children but their view is often biased when it comes to their real ability. So instead of leaving it up to the coach to decide how to deal with the children the parents intervene. I have seen parents start bickering and bantering and start a whispering campaign about a coach. If a child is really fantastic it probably won't matter but it can be damaging to some children. The kids listen to what their parents tell them and it affects them. It then makes the coach's job harder and can affect the way the child plays. For instance...imagine a kid who plays really badly for a while and gets sidelined for a few matches. I would tell him to work on whatever it was but the parent might say that he is good and shouldn't be on the bench and the coach is crap etc - I'm sure you get the picture. The kid is bound to believe his dad and if he hears him slagging off the coach then he loses respect for him and stops paying so much attention. Now instead of working on his problem he makes it worse by not listening and not working on it. Then everyone wonders why he continues to play badly and is eventually released. The dad will then spend all his life slagging off the coach for ruining a promising football career. And it could all be avoided if the dad told his kid to listen to the coach and kept his own opinions to himself. That is very extreme example but similar things do happen.

Luckily there are not too many parents who are that intense and I really value their support. But on the whole they are biased and uneducated in the football sense. Too much input from them can undermine the coach's authority. Parents associate success with winning but we need to teach the kids to be team players - it's not just about one player and one ego. Parents often say they want the truth but sometimes they only want it if it's good!
So all you parents reading gentle in your criticism and let your kids be the best they can be by standing back a bit.
See ya next week....Micky

Part 2 : Mickey talks about the kids

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