Back to top

Parent Tips


Excerpt from the Article "What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent -- And What Makes A Great One", by Steve Henson

Let’s hear it for the parents who do it right. In many respects, Brown And Miller say, it’s easier to be an ideal sports parent than a nightmare. “It takes less effort,” Miller says. “Sit back and enjoy.”

Here’s what to do:

  • Cheer everybody on the team, not just your child: Parents should attend as many games as possible and be supportive, yet allow young athletes to find their own solutions. Don’t feel the need to come to their rescue at every crisis. Continue to make positive comments even when the team is struggling.
  • Model Appropriate Behavior: Contrary To The Old Saying, Children Do As You Do, Not As You Say. When A Parent Projects Poise, Control And Confidence, The Young Athlete Is Likely To Do The Same. And When A Parent Doesn’t Dwell On A Tough Loss, The Young Athlete Will Be Enormously Appreciative.
  • Know What Is Suitable To Discuss With The Coach: The Mental And Physical Treatment Of Your Child Is Absolutely Appropriate. So Is Seeking Advice On Ways To Help Your Child Improve. And If You Are Concerned About Your Child’s Behavior In The Team Setting, Bring That Up With The Coach. Taboo Topics: Playing Time, Team Strategy, And Discussing Team Members Other Than Your Child.
  • Know your role: Everyone at a game is either a player, a coach, an official or a spectator. “It’s wise to choose only one of those roles at a time,” Brown says. “Some adults have the false impression that by being in a crowd, they become anonymous. People behaving poorly cannot hide.” Here’s a clue: If your child seems embarrassed by you, clean up your act.
  • Be A Good Listener And A Great Encourager: When Your Child Is Ready To Talk About A Game Or Has A Question About The Sport, Be All Ears. Then Provide Answers While Being Mindful Of Avoiding Becoming A Nightmare Sports Parent. Above All, Be Positive. Be Your Child's Biggest Fan. "Good Athletes Learn Better When They Seek Their Own Answers," Brown Says.
  • And, of course, don’t be sparing with those magic words: "I love watching you play."

Read an article on the Coach-Parent Partnership by the Positive Coaching Alliance.