Dos and don’ts of being a sports parent
“Treat a child as though he’s already the person he’s capable of becoming”
- Haim Ginnott
Being a sports parent is one of the most fulfilling yet time-consuming investments you can make in your child’s life. From prepping them for games and attending their major game events to watching them grow into possible pro-athletes, it’s an exhilarating experience.
Sure, there are expenses to think about, tight schedules to meet, and sporting equipment to buy, but beyond all that, the psychological requirements of sports parent are often overlooked. The way you conduct yourself in relation to your child’s sporting activities goes a long way in shaping their athletic performance and career in the long run.
Because of this, there are certain dos that are necessary for sports parents and don’ts to avoid if you want the best for your athlete child.
DOs of being a sports parent
- Do be supportive of your child’s sporting activities. Show them that you are interested in their games, talk about the games with them, and let them know you’re in support of them. This helps the child stay eager to keep playing.
- Do allow your child to play whatever game they like and allow them to play because of their own reasons.
- Do try to remain calm and level-headed during intense games or moments. Try to remember that you’re a parent first, before a fan.
- Do be supportive even during losses or tough performances. Help them understand that even the most talented athletes may sometimes mess up or fail. Help them learn lessons from their fails.
- Do maintain a positive composure at games and practices to give your child a good example to follow.
- Do support your child’s coach, and let your child know that you do. The games are not the best places to discuss with coaches. You may schedule some time to speak with them privately outside of game hours.
- Do help your child set realistic goals and help them work hard to meet them. Teach them the power of staying committed, and ensure that you are both on the same page as regards the goals.
- Do work with a sports psychologist to help your child understand their emotions better as athletes.
DONTs of being a sports parent
- Don’t encourage bad sportsmanship by putting down the other teams to make your child feel better.
- Don’t lose your temper or emotions even if it was a bad game. While it’s easy to get invested in the game, remember they’re still your child.
- Don’t blame the coach or other teammates if things don’t go your way.
- Don’t criticize your child if they perform poorly during a game. Don’t dwell on their mistakes but help them learn one or two lessons from every mistake.
- Don’t allow your child athlete to talk down on themselves or speak defeatedly. Encourage them to use positive affirmations and words that reinforce their abilities such as “I can,” “I run fast,” “I am an excellent soccer player.”
- Don’t relive your childhood through your child. Your child athlete is their own person and not a younger version of yourself. They may not be as athletic as you were, and that is okay. Don’t become a crazy sports parent.
- Don’t see your child’s sport as a financial investment that would bring you returns.