Survival Guide For Watching Childrens Football Tournaments.
If Childrens Football tournaments are a new thing for you this Summer then please take a few moments to read my guide......
- Location and Time.
- Prior Planning
- General Comfort.......
- Money? but we don't owe any subs.....
- Enjoy The Day
Location and Time.
You have entered into the strange world of boys or girls local football clubs and of course you believe that your child has the as yet unspotted talents of David Beckham.It is now the talent spotting time of the year 'Summer' or other wise known as Tournament Season.
If you have never been before and don't want to appear a total novice (like me and my husband did) then please take a few hints from the information that I am about to share with you.
As many tournaments are to be travelled to, make sure you know exactly where you are going. Sounds simple but many are located in the middle of nowhere ,up narrow country lanes or worse still the club has an almost identical name to the rival village football club and you go to the wrong one. If you want to save face, petrol and an argument with your spouse then be sure of the event location.
The time of these events can seem very odd as a morning tournament may require registration of your little darling or big lump of a teenager an hour before any game is due to start. Also morning may mean your team still has a match to play at one o'clock if they get through to the finals. This can make for a long day if you don't make sure your child gets a good night sleep the night before.
We all know that prior planning prevents poor performance and in this case it can make for a much more pleasant day all round. The night before make sure your child has got ready the whole kit (including away colours if required). We need to think shin pads in capital letters as no child will be playing without these. We need to remember no earrings (boys or girls) or if it's a problem to remove they need to be taped over.If they have asthma then take an inhaler to every game.The coach will have a first aid kit but special medicine must be taken by guardians ot parents.
Food is next on the list of essentials. Some clubs are very good at providing refreshments others more limited and if your child or you is a vegetarian choice will be limited. Please remember that tournaments raze money for the following year for the club to carry on so the food may not be as cheap as expected.
Some sandwiches, lots to drink and other bits and bobs both healthy, energy giving and filling will be ideal to put into your cool bag.Drinks are often brought for team players by the coach but as tournaments are made up of very short , fast games then your child will be drinking a lot and on very hot days you will want to avoid dehydration at all costs.
If your child is travelling with someone else then make sure they have a contact number for you and you know how to contact them. There is nothing worse than taking a child home to an empty house because the parents have gone out all day when you in turn have made other arrangements. If someone is giving your child a lift then show some good manners and remember if your childs team is knocked out early then they may be home hours before the cup giving time.
Remember that your child may be feeling very nervous and may be rather touchy or sharp in the morning of the tournament due to nerves. Avoid confrontation as this leads to a bad start to every-ones day.Make sure they have breakfast and a drink.
You may think a check list is a strange idea but believe me if you spend the time to make one once it will save a lot of messing around and loss of general comfort for years to come.
Your child is all sorted and so are you where food is concerned but you will need somewhere to sit. Very few places will have park bench seats so bring your own fold up seats. Available from markets, garages and big stores everywhere and in all patterns and colour shades.Don't be cheap with your comfort , buy to last. Some chairs have a little cup holder place that is very handy also.
Take a blanket. Very often there is a large gap between matches so if you want to have the option of lying down you can. Also your child and team mates may sit/lie on the blanket to avoid arguments over your chair.
Remember hats, sunglasses and suntan lotion. Many visiting clubs will have a tent in-case of very hot weather or more likely wet weather but if not look to sit under a tree.When you are sitting around in the sun for many hours you will need protection as will your child whom will already be very hot from playing football.
Warm clothing and wet weather clothing. Even in Summer it is not unusual to have a few showers. Jeans are the worst for getting wet and staying wet. Also some afternoon tournaments go on past seven o'clock when it can turn very chilly indeed. It is always worth taking a few extra layers of clothing.
We are all guilty of missing home comforts but there is nothing wrong with taking something to read as your child will be off practicing with friends and your spouse will be talking non stop football. Chat with the other parents, be supportive of all the children. Remember this is a fun day and there will be winners and losers so you don't want to be remembered as the parent whom was thrown off the grounds for being abusive to the ref. or the other teams parents (believe me this does go on so you have been warned).
Money? but we don't owe any subs.....
The subject of money is rather delicate as with subs and normal fees you may think that enough has been drained from your parental pockets. No sorry I have to remind you once again that many clubs rely on tournaments to raise money for their next seasons expenses. On arrival you are often directed into a pay car-park (field). You will often be asked to pay around £2 which includes a programme to show when your childs team will be playing and sometimes I have seen my sons name in this booklet.
You will be asked to pay actual tournament entry fee of about £3 by your club who are getting back their entry fee of around £25 per tournament.
Many tournaments will have food, sweets and even a bar on site so that is a temptation for your family .There is often a raffle and bouncy castle for parents with young children together with face painting and football skills challenges.
The most expensive buy we find is the photo shop. With all the new regulations many places do not allow cameras to be taken into tournaments but you can buy a photograph of your own child playing a game from the photo-shop van. These are not cheap but if you want a memento of the day then this is a purchase to have in mind. We bring along a camera to take of our own childs team if they win a trophy as all the parents are in agreement but you have to get permission.
Petrol is also something of an expense to calculate into your day.
Enjoy The Day
Well that's all I have to say and I hope you found at least some of it useful. Remember your child is stepping out into the big wide world of competetive sport and they do not want to be reminded every moment of the day just how much it is costing their parents.Lots of positive encouragement and helping them through the bad defeats will go a long way. Sulking over being kept too long as the new sub may be justified but don't be pulled into who they hate on the team as children soon make-up and what their mum and dad said about other parents children will not rest well. If you are lucky enough to have a good group of parents it will prove a good experience and there will always be some 'friendly' rivalry with another team. Of course you can't afford to offend other teams parents either as there is always the chance their coach will approach your child to play for them next season.....Oh didn't you know about that? Well that's another story.......