Updated: Jan 6
Over the past few years we have presented our soccer community with challenges to be better. In 2021 we challenged clubs, parks and facilities to consider purchasing AEDs to cover all of their participants, by March of 2022 we had 14 programs sign our Sudden Cardiac Arrest Pledge. In 2022 we challenged parents and players to become referees.
For 2023 we are challenging parents to take the Sideline Project Pledge (follow the link, click the “x”, watch the 2-minute video and sign the pledge) and for clubs to include The Sideline Project Course in their new parent onboarding process.
Four years ago I wrote Stop Sideline Coaching which has been our most read and most shared blog post. Since writing this post our soccer family has been through a lot of development. I recently shared The Soccer Mom I used to be..., sharing a painful story of my own bad behavior. Unfortunately, those who know me best also know that I am flawed in so many ways, especially on the sideline.
I stole the title of this blog post from Sky Eddy, Founder and CEO of Soccer Parenting Association. "Inspiring Players by Empowering Parents" is a phrase I turn over in my head time and time again when planning content and tools for our local soccer community. In our recent post for new soccer parents we shared their Soccer Parent Resource Center, which includes a 3 day free pass and access to some incredible soccer parent resources.
If you have taken the Sideline Project Pledge or full course you are aware that there are 3 Types of Sideline Behaviors.
Supportive (the only acceptable behavior)
Distracting (this includes ANY form of coaching or instructing from the sideline and officiating dissent)
Hostile (this is the worst sideline behavior and is ALWAYS unacceptable and must be addressed)
Many of us (myself included) whether we want to admit it or not; are living vicariously through our children and our sideline banter only serves to squelch our own anxiety without regard for the impact we are having on our players and their teammates. It is the club/programs responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for player development; which is why we are encouraging clubs to include the “Sideline Pledge” in their parent onboarding. Many clubs require parents to sign or acknowledge a parent expectations document which is a step in the right direction. Having the club hold parents accountable for distracting and hostile behaviors is the next step in honoring our players and their time to play.