A successful experience in youth sports requires the proper support from the player, coach, and parents, similar to a three-legged stool. If any one leg is removed, the stool falls over.
It’s easy to look at the coach and player as the most influential components of a team’s success, but parents have an equally important impact to the player and team. A parent’s participation and energy on game day or at practice is instrumental to the player’s sports experience. Parents should always support their coach and the fundamentals taught. Playing catch or running routes with your child at home is a great way to share time and develop him as a player.
A game can be an emotional roller coaster for the player, coach and parent. Parents must maintain the proper attitude and perspective in order to be an appropriate role model. If you feel yourself getting too emotional on game day as a parent, just imagine how your player is feeling. Try one of these strategies the next time your player needs encouragement and to be a better role model for the team.
Have a one-on-one with your child on the sidelines. Really listen to all that is happening in the heart of your child.
Don’t yell at the referees or make a scene at the games. Just sit and watch with no expectations – only for the pure joy of watching your kid play. Cheer your player on the whole time.
Throw away the stat books and stop the pressure to perform. Go to the game, grab a snack, relax and appreciate your son or daughter. Let your child be a kid!
Understand that it’s okay for your child to be on a losing team, to experience a bad coach, or to lose a game with a last-second goal by the opposing team. The experience presents the opportunity to better equip your child for a life of learning how to deal with both good and bad events that will inevitably come their way.
Realize that your kids don’t need the most expensive receiver gloves, football shoes or other equipment to look cool. Sometimes just having a ball is good enough.
Do your part during the season to ensure that the proper perspective and attitudes prevail at games and practice. And by all means, help the coach at practice in any way that you can.
Having great parents in a youth sports league is just as important as having great coaches. Your player the coach, the referees and the game will never be a perfect combination. The uncertainty of sports and the learning experience is what makes it a perfect day on game day. Enjoy it.
How do you best support your child’s coach and sport’s team?