Being a parent is a tough job. Let’s face it, it is harder than almost 95% of all real full time paying jobs. There are no days off. There is no pay.
But I have determined there is a tougher job. That is being the parent of a soccer goalie. I am sure that being the parent of a hockey goalie may be similar, but my recent experience is telling me that this is tougher.
And as fate would have it, Team Bedalov not only has one goalie, but two goalies.
Not sure how we got to this point, but I think it started in park n rec soccer when there really were no “volunteers” to play goal, and both kids liked being on the field instead of on the sideline. Most, not all, kids see all the goals being scored on SportsCenter and not the great saves. More stories about Messi and Ronaldo. Not many stories about Shaka Hislop or Kasey Keller. In reality, not many kids want to play in goal. ((A post on on how SportCenter has wrecked the fundamentals in most major sports is a post for another time.))
During the actual game your ability to help as a parent has to be all positive because your are at the mercy of the soccer gods on what happens on the pitch. Encouragement has to be at a high level for the entire length of the game. No one yells at the mid fielder for not marking up. No one yells at the full back for not watching the back side. No one yells at the half back for bunching up and not being in the right position. They yell at the goalie for being where he/she is suppose to be, but not being able to stop a laser beam shot from 10 feet away.
Hearing parents and even the kids own teammates “talk” about your child is where it gets tough. I keep reminding myself that one plays U12 and the other JV level in High School. They are not playing for the World Cup, and that a loss on a Sunday afternoon really does not mean to much in the grand scheme of things.
Being a coach in swimming for so long, I try to reassure my two young goalies that they have to have swimming Sprinter mentality. You need to walk onto the field like you are walking to the blocks for the 50 freestyle. The 50 freestyle is the beast event in swimming. There is little room for error in the event because it is so short. Need to have extreme focus and each part of the race needs to be near perfect to obtain a lifetime best performance. Now for how it relates to soccer.
If your race was not great, you need to forget the pieces you did wrong, learn from them, but you need to leave them in the past because that is where they are. You give up a goal. Learn from it. Forget it. And move on to the next play. Dwelling on the play does not fix that the kick off just started and the ball is back in play right now.
It is a tough as a parent to assist the a kid in understanding that process. We have had a great number of long slow walks back to the car after games. Some are life lessons. Some are just about how to get better. Some are just about listening. Win or Lose the walks to the car are the best part.
Luckily both kids have great coaches who recognize that our kids take the position seriously and wear there emotions on their sleeves. The coaches have talked them up a great deal this season when the chips where down, but have never let a win go straight to their heads either.