Being a sports parent: What you need to know

Being a sports parent: What you need to know

I Love To Watch You Play

Being a sports parent: What you need to know

By is the preeminent website for parents of young athletes, offering resources, product suggestions, news and advice from the world’s most notable athletes, coaches, youth sports experts and organizations. Founded by sports broadcast veterans Alex Flanagan and Asia Mape, the site seeks to help parents find balance, gain an edge and stay sane in the increasingly competitive world of youth sports.

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You will sacrifice family dinners and outings so often that you forget how important they are.

You will never have a completely free weekend again.

You will be a glorified taxi driver.

No matter how hard you try, the inside of that glorified taxi, your car, will look and smell like a locker room.

You will drive with the windows down when carpooling kids home from their sports practices, not matter how cold it is.

MORE: Great advice from I Love to Watch You Play

Your kids will play to please you. And if that is the only reason they are doing it, it will make them miserable.

There will be times you believe that you would be a better coach than the one instructing your kid, but you will tell yourself and everyone else, you just don’t have the time to do it.

You will ignore the tiny feeling you have that your kid is probably not that interested in a sport and make them play it several more years.

You will look to your children’s sports career to make up for what yours lacked. You might not even know you are doing it.

You will judge how other people parent their kid’s sports.

It will be easy to criticize another family for the amount of dedication and money they invest in their kid’s sports and then rationalize how your child would be that good too, if you invested that much.

No amount of private coaching, bribing, threatening or negotiating is going to make your child love a sport.

The cream will rise. It’s out of your control.

Just because your child is a star athlete in 2nd grade doesn’t mean they will be in 6th grade. Just because they love a sport when they are 8 doesn’t mean they will when they are 12.

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You will think there’s a chance they could be good enough to play in college.

You will force your kids to go to practices and play because you’ve already paid for it.

When they tell you they want to quit, you will tell them “no” and rationalize with phrases like “you have to finish what you started” or “you have to see things through.”

You will figure out that some of your kids have “heart” and some don’t.

The kids that have heart aren’t always the talented ones.

You will swing on a pendulum of love and hate for your child’s sports so drastically that it would seem certifiable.

You will monitor bed times for a 12-year-old more closely than you did when she was a toddler as to provide adequate sleep for the big game.

You will fear that if your child doesn’t pick a lane and specialize in one sport that they will be left behind.

You will disappoint them when you least expect it. The one home run you didn’t see when you had to step away and take a phone call will be what they focus on instead of the other 2 1/2 hours of the game you did see.

The gear will drive you crazy. Wet bathing suits; muddy cleats; stinky, smelly pads.

Keeping track of the gear will drive you even crazier. Since all you will see is dollar signs when your child loses a lacrosse stick or a baseball glove, you will spend far more time than you care to collecting your kids sports stuff.

You will find tiny little black balls all over your house. The traces of Astro turf will be on the floor, in the carpet and in your kid’s sheets. Good luck if they play beach volleyball … oh, the sand!

Your kids will cry when they lose a game or a championship and will need you to wrap your arms around them to silently reinforce that losing a game doesn’t make them a loser.

It will take extraordinary discipline not to critique, evaluate and tell your child what they could have done better after a game.

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