How to be a good sports parent
From the moment that our kids sink their first basket or score their first touchdown, our imaginations run wild at a potential future where they manage to make the major leagues – microscopic odds be darned.
However, the math doesn’t lie, as it is a moonshot for the vast majority of children. As such, it is vital that sports parents ensure their little ones are having fun in the game they are playing.
For example, Jack Elway had long been expected to follow in the footsteps of his famous father. Recently, he decided to step away from his pro career just as it was set to begun, as his heart just wasn’t in it.
His father John was nothing but supportive, sending a message to parents everywhere that the happiness of your kids should always take precedence over fame and fortune. Below, we’ll go over traits that good sports parents should look to adopt.
1) Respect the authority of coaches and officials
In order to organize and run a team, coaches need to have the latitude to make decisions without having overzealous parents breathing down their neck.
Furthermore, referees have a tough enough job keeping disagreeable players in line on the court/field/ice without having to deal with aggressive parents who often verbally harass them to the point of tears.
If you wish to be a good sports parent, you need to take a step back and let coaches encourage a team environment that will give your child’s team the best chance of experiencing victory.
Additionally, many leagues have a hard enough time finding qualified volunteers to officiate games.
By not taking your frustrations out on the most important person on the playing surface, you’ll make it easier for leagues to operate in the years to come.
2) Don’t equate success with winning and losing
Vince Lombardi once said that winning isn’t just everything, it’s the only thing. As much as that makes sense to those who are emotionally over-invested in their favorite teams, this attitude can be downright toxic to the average kid on a youth sports team.
Children are passing through the most intense learning period of their lives. If they are taught to default to result-orientated thinking, they will turn into an adult that will fear change.
Afraid to make a mistake, they will be ill-equipped to deal with the rapidly changing times we now find ourselves in.
By equating success with learning new skills and by simply enjoying the game, they will become a more balanced individual and be better equipped to handle life situations as they move forward in their adult lives.
3) Fun is the most important factor
When asked what factor led to their present day success, pro athletes often cite their deep love for the game and their teammates.
While it is vital that your kids have fun in whatever sport they are playing, parents who hold out hope that their child might make the major leagues should ensure that their little Elway/Lebron/Crosby has a smile on their face after practice, instead of driving them to train like its their job.