Steinberg: It's Pilot Cup time

May 26, 2012|By Leigh Steinberg
  • A Harbor View Elementary soccer team cheers before its Daily Pilot Cup game last year.
A Harbor View Elementary soccer team cheers before its… (KENT TREPTOW )

Last year I had the pleasure of speaking on the field at the awards presentation for the Daily Pilot Cup. It was heartwarming to experience our community coming together to support third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders as they competed.

Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis, Sports Editor Steve Virgen and all of the giving volunteers are to be complimented for the way in which they have created this bonding event. And, major kudos to Kirk McIntosh, who takes time away from his busy law practice to serve as tournament director.

This year's 13th annual tournament will start Tuesday and concludes June 3. The games are played in Costa Mesa on the fields at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex, Costa Mesa High and Davis Elementary School.

My children Jon, Matt and Katie spent a collective 22 years playing soccer in Newport Beach AYSO. That meant that I had years of Saturday mornings on the sidelines.


Soccer is the first organized sport that most children ever play. It is the first time they have a chance to be measured against their peers. It can be a time of extraordinary empowerment or a traumatizing crushing of their self esteem.

Coaching plays a major factor in creating the perceptual prism that kids view the experience with, and so does parenting.

Because I am concerned that how to parent children in youth sports is a rarely discussed or taught skill I co-wrote a book with Dave Smith on the subject that will be published later this year. No one instructs parents as to whether they should encourage their kids to be young Vince Lombardis and win at all costs, or if enjoying the experience is the key.

There is no "parenting license" that is required. If your son or daughter is not getting major play time, the team is losing, they are playing an undesirable position, or the coach is not nurturing – should you counsel your kids to assert themselves with the coach to improve their situation? Or, should they accept the situation and build character?

Parents can confuse their own desires to have their children be a star with the child's actual needs.

Type A parents may try to live through their kids and be unduly prideful with success and embarrassed with anything less.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles