I used to go with the "pretend to plug in the joystick" route too, but then the kids started to notice it wasn't plugged in..
Now when I play them at anything new I get hammered. When I play them at classics.. it is me who is doing the hammering!
On a side-note I am on the committee of the under-9 football team my son plays in. We had a friendly match a few weeks ago and the boys got hammered. We decided that every training match the kids will play against the dads so that their abilities improved.
When we first started we'd hammer them, but now it is starting to reverse.. we are beating them by 1 or 2 goals per game instead of 5 or 6.. It's just a matter of time before they own us.
Oh and just so you know.. of the 7 dads that play.. 4 played in pub teams, and the other 2 were semi-pro.. (Only me that has no experience)
I can't wait for the season to start (September 10th) as we are expecting them to kick some ass!!