Summer sports are just around the corner, meaning sports parents will be outdoors cheering their young sports stars on as they compete. As we enjoy the nice weather in the months ahead, we need to remember how easy it is for kids to see when we become frustrated and angry with what is happening on the field. It is for this reason that I like to write an annual “tips to good summer sports parenting” column to remind us all of the basics:
1. Get involved. Remember, sports should not simply serve as a babysitter for your child. Being an active sports parent means more than just dropping your child off at practices and games — it also includes extra practicing, helping your child develop sport skills, keeping up with equipment needs, helping with fund raisers, and doing anything else you can to help your child, as well as his or her team, have the best sports experience possible. When you take this approach, not only will you have more fun, but your child will have a wonderful sports experience, too.
2. Use positive reinforcement. Telling your child “great job” and giving her high-five’s are things you can’t do enough of when it comes to sports! While it’s easy to nitpick and point out all the things your child needs to improve, try to instead keep up with positively reinforcing all the good things she is already doing (even the little things, like being a good teammate to others). Positive reinforcement is something we all like, and it actually helps build confidence, refine focus, and improve motivation — all great things that really help kids succeed in life.
3. Let the coaches “coach.” While not every coach is a master of the X’s and O’s of the sport (remember, many are volunteers simply trying to help), it is important to support the coach and refrain from immediately calling “politics!” every time your child is benched or not put in the starting lineup. Remember, in youth sports the primary goals are having fun and learning the basics of the sport, so be sure to support your child’s coach as much as possible. As volunteers, youth sport coaches often get overlooked and only talked about when things go bad — do your part this summer by supporting your child’s coach and helping out if the coach needs support.
Learn about how Sport Success 360 can help your team this summer!