If you have children under the age of 10 you’ve probably seen “Frozen” at least once in the past year. Probably even more than once…a lot more. By now you know all the words to “Let it Go” and while the song may be getting on your nerves, the idea of learning to “Let it Go” is something every sports parent should take to heart. It’s very easy to get caught up in the passion and excitement of youth sports, but there is a fine line between being an enthusiastic and supportive sports parent and transforming into one of “those” sports parents. Here are 3 ways sports parents can “let it go” when they get overly invested in youth sports:
1. Don’t dissect the game.
No one like to lose, and while every loss gives young athletes the opportunity to learn, it’s important to give players a little time to let the sting of that loss settle before you start ripping into every play. Try to avoid dissecting the game in the car ride home (the “car cone of silence” should be a sacred ritual!) and if/when your youth athlete is ready to talk let them direct the conversation. Remember to focus on what went right as well as what went wrong so your player doesn’t beat themselves up even more. They can’t go back and undo what happened, so make it more about what is going to happen next time and what they can control! This is especially hard for parent-coaches to do, so learning to take off the “coach hat” and just listen is imperative.
2. Focus on effort, not on outcome.
Again, no one likes to lose. But losing when you gave it your all is even harder. Don’t get so hung up on the final score and instead look at how hard your child worked. As sports mom blogger Janis Meredith pointed out, “In the NFL, players don’t get paid for putting out a good effort. Fortunately, your child is not in the NFL and you as a parent should be all about the good effort your child gives each time he plays.” We’re not suggesting you artificially inflate your child’s ego and give them credit when they don’t deserve it, but a high-five and a “great job!” means so much to a young player when they’ve worked hard.
3. Keep your opinions to yourself.
Some parents try to boost their child’s confidence by ragging on their teammates and coaches. You may thank Erica is a better pitcher than Ashley but ripping down your daughter’s teammate puts her in an uncomfortable situation, especially if they are friends. And if you’re coaching from the sidelines is she supposed to listen to you or her coach? Unless you are concerned about the health and safety of your child try to keep your opinions to yourself. If you have a big problem that needs to be addressed than talk directly to the coach, but keep your child out of the middle.
We at SportsSignup obviously love youth sports. And we love parents that get involved with their child’s team. Without parents like you youth sports leagues wouldn’t exist! But just remember, at the end of the day this is still a game and above all else it should be fun. If you can’t learn to “let it go” you risk ruining the whole experience for your child!