Issues Beyond the Game

It's January, there is finally snow on the ground here in Ohio. Now that the weather is punishing and the ground is covered, it is hard to even fathom the coming Spring season. It will pounce if we are not prepared, though. 

Now is the time to prep the family for the craziness of Spring soccer. (If you live in a warm climate, I envy you, but you are not immune to Spring creeping up before you are ready). 

Spring soccer is a crazy time of year for families and it can physically, emotionally, and financially exhaust families. The key is to be ready now. You know the saying, "Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail".  

A little forethought can go a long way to help you and your athlete get ready for all the concerns Beyond the Game that will take place in Spring. Lucky for you, I have a list to get you started. 

1. Create a family schedule w/sacred dates and logistics ironed out. Coaches will ask for dates. Friends and family will want your time. If you have a mapped out calendar before the season, you can dictate and control your schedule. This saves time, money, and family relationships once the schedule for sports goes sideways (and it will). 

2. Have your child declare goals and expectations for the season. Goals create focus, discipline, purpose and commitment. If your child knows what he or she wants out of Spring that will keep everyone on the same page and you will avoid the emotional cauldron of "win at all costs" mentality. If you stick to your goals, and the process to get there, the outcomes that cause stress will be less harmful. 

3. Plan things for your non-sport children. I often hear about the child who feels "left out". In fact, I have one. She is a top class bowler, but in Spring she gets forgotten during the chaos of the season. We make plans now (like college visits...oh gosh) to make sure she feels engaged. 

4. Plan to switch up so both parents get to see them play. Most fights in soccer season are about money and transportation. Iron that out now and remember that although logic may say "mom goes to all of Johnny's games and I go to all of Mikey's games" that logic doesn't work with children. They want to show off for both of you! Be sure to alternate who is seeing whom play. This also keeps us sane when transportation issues arise. 

5. Plan menus and easy meals. Athletes need fuel for the machine. McTacoKing between games is not sufficient fuel. You wouldn't put trash in a jet engine, don't do that to Johnny. If you plan ahead, make a bunch of easy reheat meals, and stay on a meal plan it will again reduce headaches and enhance Johnny's performance. Carbs, fats, veggies, fruits proteins, water. Cover it all. 

6. Be a squirrel now. Hide away some cash or extra funds for the season. Something always pops up and causes strain. Johnny loses a cleat. ODP invites Susie to Regional camp. The soccer wagon blows a fan belt. Always have a little extra stashed to cover the emergencies and it will relieve family stressors. 

Following these Six simple steps will help you manage the issues Beyond the Game so you and your child can be focused and prepared to have his or her best season on the field.