The Car Ride Home

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By Nick Cooper, Event Coordinator at Snap Soccer

The car ride home is likely the most underrated moment to spend with your child, either on the way home from practice or a game. Your child is itching to be interacted with about what was learned, what he or she enjoyed, and perhaps what he or she did not enjoy so much.

The sad statistic that only 30% of players remain in youth sports by the age of 13 has yet to change for the better. The impact the parent can have in increasing this number is huge. Just as you would help with their homework, being involved in your child’s youth sport is imperative. Sports has likely changed multiple times since you, as a parent, competed X amount of years ago. Studies have progressed, and coaching has advanced (hopefully), so the need for parent interaction and interest is at an all time high.

It has always amazed me how a moment off of the field can have such a negative effect on players. Yet, when we think about it, the toxicity of the ride home makes perfect sense. Emotions are high; disappointment, frustration, and exhaustion are heightened for both player and parent. Sadly, many parents choose this moment to confront their child about a play, criticize them for having a poor game, or chastise their child, their teammates, their coach, and their opponents. There could not be a more teachable moment in your child’s sporting life than the ride home, and it is often the moment that well-intentioned parents decide to do all of their own “coaching.”

The experience each child has growing up will inevitably be unique, depending on what environment or area of the world you live. Also, each experience will depend on how the parents themselves remember the “norm” from their playing days to be, and they will likely mirror that approach…which is not always the best approach for the child. As a parent, you should know your child better than anyway else, right? Use this insight to know when to initiate a conversation about a “game-changing” moment, or when to simply listen to your child vent his or her own frustrations from the game or practice.

As we move into the Spring 2019 season, emotion and excitement to get the season underway will be increased during this period. It’s crucial that you allow this time to belong to your child while remaining supportive. You may not see a difference immediately, but the long term impact will be unimaginable and relatable to much more than youth sports.


Miner, J. W. (2016, June 3). Why 70 percent of kids quit sports by age 13. The Kansas City Star. Retrieved from

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