I’ve given a lot of radio interviews recently about being a sports parent. It seems that some mum’s and dad’s are still somewhat over-zealous on the side of the pitch. If that’s you then STOP! Stop right now. Let me tell you of a different, more effective way to behave as a soccer parent.

Stay silent. Let your child have fun on the pitch. Let them play. Let them explore. Let them make their own way in soccer. Let them make mistakes. Let them enjoy the process of learning. Let them develop by themselves, at their own pace and through their own initiative.

You’re not the coach. You’re not the expert. Don’t pretend to be! This is my belief as a football psychologist…it always will be!

If you’ve had a first class playing or coaching career yourself I urge you to avoid being your child’s mentor. They want you to be mum or they want you to be dad. They don’t want you to be Sir Alex Ferguson. They don’t want you to be Hope Powell.

Go watch them play – enjoy every second and every minute of your child playing as a team mate. Watch in awe as their skill develops. Applaud enthusiastically as they compete with confidence, with focus and with intensity. Show you care in the right way.

Stay silent as you watch your child play. Your hushed tones develops a relationship of trust, and it helps the person you care about most build self-sufficiency – a skill too few have in this demanding modern world.