The excitement of youth sports can be a positive experience for young athletes and their parents, but it can also be a negative one if you don’t set the right example.
Here are our Top 10 Tips on how to be a good sports parent at all of your child’s sporting events!
- 1 Be Their Parent-Not Their Coach
- 2 Keep Things In Perspective
- 3 Focus on the Process as a Whole
- 4 Avoid Comparisons
- 5 Cheer for the Whole Team
- 6 Listen to Your Child
- 7 Teach Good Sportsmanship By Example
- 8 Be a Positive Space for Your Child
- 9 Encourage Risk-Taking and Learning From Failure
- 10 Enjoy the Journey
Be Their Parent-Not Their Coach
As a youth sports parent, the first thing you need to understand is that you are their parent and not their coach. (there are some exceptions to this, and if so, just remember not to be too hard on your own kid, they are there to have a good experience too!)
If you keep the right mindset, this can actually be the best part of having your child in youth sports! This gives you the opportunity to be the best parent and ensure them that you aren’t putting too much pressure on them, and instead, remind them that you are proud of their efforts and hard work. This is not only at the event itself but also on the car ride home!
Keep Things In Perspective
Depending on what age group your child is participating in, it’s important to keep things in perspective when it comes to the life skills you’re child is learning by participating in youth sports. Remember that they are human, and they are going to have good days and bad days, even if they’re playing at the highest level.
Sports are a great way to earn a college scholarship, but there is much more to it than that!
Focus on the Process as a Whole
Young people will be learning new skills at each level that they participate in sports. Do your best to encourage your child’s effort, and don’t put a lot of pressure on them to get everything perfect the first time. Think about each phase as a building block to the final product, and that is a well-rounded individual, not necessarily a professional athlete.
You will always have team members that are more talented in certain areas than others. Remind your child that everyone has an important role to play in order for the team to succeed. You don’t want to pit your player against other team members, even if they are great athletes. The best thing you can do is encourage them to work together and build relationships with their teammates.
Cheer for the Whole Team
The next time you are getting ready to cheer for your child’s team, be sure and take the time to learn the other players’ names. When they make a great play, be sure and stand up and let them know you see them. Cheering for the whole team on game day is a great way to become a good sports parent!
Listen to Your Child
Participating in sports is a good way to build a good relationship with your athlete and teach about good communication skills. Listen to them when they talk to you about what kind of support they need from you. Sometimes, even if you have good intentions, it might not be helpful to them on their journey. If they don’t want to talk right after a game, give them some space, and then if they come to you later, listen first before immediately offering up advice or opinions.
Teach Good Sportsmanship By Example
You are the best role model when it comes to showing appropriate behavior for your child. They will have plenty of bad examples to follow, be the one that can show respect to the officials and coaches, and it will go a long way in your child’s personal display of sportsmanship.
This is one of the most important life lessons young athletes will learn from sports, be sure you provide a good example.
Be a Positive Space for Your Child
The sports experience can be a wonderful thing, but anytime you put your child in a public space, there are going to be negative opinions about their performance. One of the best ways you can counteract this is by being a positive space for them to land, even when there is negativity coming in from outside sources.
Encourage Risk-Taking and Learning From Failure
When participating on youth sports teams, there are going to be difficult situations, but it’s important to remind your child that without taking risks there can be no reward. Encourage them to continue to put in the hard work, understand the rules of the game, and continue to push through, even after a tough loss.
Enjoy the Journey
Team sports are a great way to promote healthy child development, and possibly even spur your child on to future athletic careers. Let your child try out a variety of sports, and remember that there will be so many steps along the journey that seem overwhelming, but in the grand scheme of things will be over long before you’re ready!