Winter sports have finished, spring sports have just started and AAU season is upon us. As a result, over the next five months parents will be sitting in hot gyms and playing the role of chauffeur while supporting their children’s athletic affairs. Parent decorum has been a topic of conversation over the last few years but what does it take to serve as an impartial spectator when offspring is involved? Below are a few keys to being a standout sports parent.
- You Are Not The Athlete: Check your ego at the door. Youth sports isn’t a competition, between parents, to see who can produce the best 12-year old prospect. “Know your role, and shut your mouth.”
- You Are Not The Coach: Many parents believe they can out-coach the coaches of their child’s team. Simply put, if you feel this way, please find your own team to coach. It is in your best interest to refrain from initiating conversations regarding strategy, playing time, or team management child’s coach. Imagine that same coach, coming to your place of employment and giving you pointers on how to do your job; you definitely wouldn’t appreciate that.
- Your Child Isn’t That Good: As a parent, it can be hard to see your child for what he/she really is, but chances are, your child probably won’t be good enough to play in high school. So if he/she isn’t good enough to play in High School, logic should tell you he/she won’t be good enough to play in college/pros so please act accordingly. This is probably the only time your child gets to have fun and play with his/her friends, so understand that you will probably care more than they do.
- Come Support The Entire Team: Since your child isn’t the only player on the court/field, please support their teammates/friends since many of them don’t have the luxury of having parents in the stands to giving them support. It takes a village to raise a group of kids, so please be a proper villager.
- Drop-Off Timeliness: If your child’s practice starts at 8:00, please drop that child off at 7:45. One role of a parent is to teach life-skills and if a child sees his/her parent disrespect the time of the coach/player/team, that child could possibly pick-up similar habits. Please set an example by bringing your child to practice early.
- Pick-Up Timeliness: No coach in America wants to wait around for a parent to pick-up their child well after practice has concluded. Please be a responsible adult and pick your child up at the correct time. Maybe the coach wants to go home to his family; just a thought.
- Attend Practice: If you are interested in what your child is doing on a daily basis, go visit a practice session. Offer to rebound for the team, sweep the floor for the coach, or give water to the athletes. All of those are ways in which a parent can contribute to a team, but just one suggestion; remain silent during practice. Your voice, as a parent, doesn’t need to be heard. Stay in your lane. ( #BBB )
- Post-Game Behavior: When your child gets in the car to ride home, let him/her have a moment to process what happened during the game before you give your untrained opinion. Most likely his/her coach and/or teammates have already mentioned what you felt the need to say, so just wait until emotions have passed and mention it at a later time. Chances are, the child doesn’t want to talk to you at that moment, especially after a tough game.
- Stop Feeding Your Child Garbage: (Note: Sensitivity is shown to those that aren’t in a position to have as many options as others due to financial status)
In general, we need to do a much better job with educating children about food but when your child is in-season, please stop feeding him/her food that doesn’t fuel them as athletes. At times it can be difficult to prepare nutrient-rich meals for your child but parents need to be more conscious as to what goes into their children’s bodies during season.
I hope this helps in some way, remember this should be about the child and not our selfish dreams.