What kind of sports parent are you? Please take a moment and answer the following 5 questions honestly, then read the feedback that follows to see how you stack up.
1. When it comes to making sports decisions with your child you:
A.) Decide on things together and include your child’s input
B.) Make decisions without your child based solely on what you think is right
2. After games when emotions are often high you:
A.) Allow some time for things to settle before talking about the game
B.) Usually get right into talking about the game, regardless of emotions
3. When it comes to coaching your child you:
A.) Look for appropriate times to coach, often deferring to the coach to coach
B.) Always coach – before, during, and after games
4. Regarding the sport experience you:
A.) Reinforce sportsmanship and the spirit of competition, regardless of outcome
B.) Only reinforce winning
5. When there are controversial team decisions you:
A.) Assume responsibility, learn, and work toward helping your child improve
B.) Usually call “politics” and point to the coach’s poor decisions
The questions above were designed to provide a quick glimpse into your sport parent philosophies and are not designed to be absolute, “right or wrong” types of questions. Generally speaking, the more “A” answers you marked indicate that you see sports as a life skills growth opportunity, and include your child’s views and input along the way. Answering “B” for the questions above might suggest that you are currently experiencing youth sports less through your child and potentially more through your own “unfinished business,” and/or as a life experience where it is only considered a success only if your child is a winner on the field.
Remember, with only a very small percent of kids being able to play college or professional sports it is important to use the youth sport experience to teach invaluable life skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. There is nothing wrong with pushing hard and trying to win, but when success/failure in sports is exclusively based on winning then you may be short-changing your child along the way. It’s also important to involve your child in sports decisions and listen closely to his or her thoughts and feelings rather than simply telling your child what to do.