It’s almost 2013! Have you started thinking about your New Year’s Resolution? Yes, we all want to eat better, work-out more, stress less and finally take that vacation to the Bahamas, but this year why not add a few more resolutions to your list about becoming a better sports parent. Here are four ideas:
1. I will be a positive sports parent.
Far too often we read stories about sports parents getting into fist fights at Little League baseball games or choking out a hockey coach. And even if no one actually comes to blows, we’ve all been at a game with “that sports parent;” the one who yells, harangues, grumbles and gets in the face of the coaches, officials and other sports parents. Please resolve here and to not be that sport parent in 2013. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and go a little over the top but please remember that this is youth sports—first and foremost it’s just a game! There is no need whatsoever to get into a fight over a game. And it’s supposed to be fun for the players. What kind of example are you setting by acting anything other than positive?
2. I will support my child’s decisions regarding youth sports.
Most sports parents agree that it’s not okay to let a player quit mid-season (extreme circumstances aside) but it’s also not fair to force a child to play a sport they hate. Maybe they really just don’t like baseball and would rather try lacrosse. Maybe they’d be more comfortable in an individual sport like tennis versus a team sport like football. Or maybe they just prefer drama or band over sports. We definitely want you to encourage your kids to give youth sports a go but it’s important that you don’t try to force your kid into becoming an athlete. It’s not going to be fun for you or them.
3. I will give the coach a hand if they need it.
Remember that most youth sports coaches are volunteers. Being a youth sports coach can be a big job (even harder if it’s their first season) and even the best coaches might need a hand from time to time. Maybe you can help organize the logistics of an away tournament; offer to run a few drills during practice so ½ of the team isn’t standing around with nothing do to; or even just help carry equipment to and from the car. Some coaches might not want parents to get involved at all with running practices (as a way to keep things less complicated) but if you see a coach in need of a hand please don’t hesitate to help!
4. I will cheer for everyone on the team.
Not every parent of every player is going to make it to every game. And almost nothing boosts a youth athlete’s confidence like getting cheered for the stands. You’d want another sports parent to tell your child “Great job!” if you weren’t there, right? So pay it forward and cheer for everyone on the team. Also, don’t be afraid to applaud a great play by the other team either—give credit where credit is do!
We’d love to hear from all the sports parents out there what their personal sports resolution for 2013 is.