ILoveToWatchYouPlay.com 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.
When I ask people advice on what their parents did during their youth sports careers that allowed them to succeed either on the field or off it, I’m surprised how often they tell me what their parents didn’t do, instead of what they did do. Here are 9 things good sports parents do not do.
1. THEY DON’T OVERREACT TO INJURIES.
Sports are physical and there are going to be times when your kid goes down, gets hit by an elbow or a ball and looks like they are in a lot of pain. Remember a good 90 percent of the time it’s not serious, which means parents don’t need to be running onto the field or the court or the ice like they are a member of the team’s training staff. If you trust your coach, which hopefully you do, let him or her be the first responder. Coaches and referees will call upon you if they need you. In the event that it is a serious injury, a broken bone, a concussion, knocked out teeth, what’s most needed in the situation is a parent who can stay calm and make rational and reasonable decisions.
2. THEY DON’T USE “I TOLD YOU SO’S” AND “YOU SHOULD HAVE DONES.”
When your child makes a mistake or doesn’t perform, view those as beautiful teachable moments. Let’s say your 9-year-old loses his baseball glove. Instead of shaming him by saying “I told you to put it in your bag” or fixing it by running to the store and buying a brand new one, help your child learn about responsibility. Take him back to the field and show him how to retrace his steps so he might find his missing glove or take him with you to buy a new one and allow him to contribute some of his allowance or savings towards the purchase. I guarantee your children will take better care of their belongings when they have a true understanding and investment of how much work it takes to care for them and how much they actually cost.