10 Things Parents of Athletes Need to Know

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10 Things Parents of Athletes Need to Know

I have seen some things on the sidelines over the years that would give you nightmares. Casts being sawed off, coaches going to blows, parents screaming obscenities at the other teams fans. U.G.L.Y. We have all gotten way too emotionally involved in our kids sports. We have forgotten that it’s about the the kids and the lessons, the journey if you will, not the end point.

I have an 18 year old now. He is playing D1 lacrosse for an east coast college and I couldn’t be prouder of him. My 16 yo is committed to a college on the east coast to play as well in 2015. One thing I know for sure is this. They did it. Not us. No amount of screaming, calling coaches, forcing practices would have mattered if they didn’t want it. It was our goal to be supportive, try and embarrass them as little as possible and give them the tools they needed to achieve their dreams. But they had to fight for those dreams. Not us.

My point here is, it’s about them. Get out of their way, enjoy the process, uncoil a bit. Someday far too soon this whole sports thing will be over and you will be begging them to come home for Thanksgiving. TRUST. ME.

Ten Things Parents of Athletes Should Know

1. It’s not about you, its about them.  Do not live your own sports dreams through your kids. It’s their turn now. Let them make their own choices, both good and bad.

2. Never talk to a coach about your child’s play time after a game. Actually you never should. You should have your kid do that. That said, if you just can’t help yourself, send an email the next day and ask for some phone time. 

3. NEVER yell at referees. They are trying. How would you like it if someone came to your job and screamed at you? Not. So. Much. If you have a real issue file a grievance the next day.

12 Days of Oophmas Giveaways Starting December 2nd! Amazing brands!4. Do NOT coach your kid from the sideline. Your job is to be a cheerleader, not a coach. If you wanted to coach, you should have volunteered.

5. It is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY you are raising a professional athlete. I promise you. Relax, let them have a good time and learn the lessons they are supposed to be learning in sports.

6. Kids should play the sport that is in season until they are in middle school. Then they can decide which one or two sports they want to play and become more focused. Cross training prevents injuries and burnout.

7. If you have nothing nice to say, sit down and be quiet. Don’t be “that” parent. 

8. If you are losing your mind on the sideline of game, it’s time to look in the mirror and figure out why. It’s not normal to care that much about sports. Put that energy into something more productive.

9. Let them fail. Forgotten equipment, not working out, not practicing at home? Let them suffer the consequences of that. It will make them better.

10. Your kids are watching you. Make them proud not embarrassed.

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Comments

  1. Denise says

    Uh oh…I think I have done at least five of these, not to mention calling out a “pumpkin or two”!! God, I hope I can refrain from these bad examples at the D1 venue this Spring?:(

    • Stefanie says

      I considered adding, NEVER call your kid pumpkin and saying “this one is for you Denise.” But you are the exception lady. Watching your passion brought me joy. And you were nothing but positive and supportive. When we were down by 10 you continued to say, “We can do this.”

    • Lindsay says

      I have done a few of these. The one that made me laugh was coaching your kid from the sidelines. It was his first game ever and I yelled 3 or 4 (okay maybe 5 or 6) times. His teammates asked “who’s the crazy lady yelling at you?” His response, “my mom, and she’s not crazy. SEC Football is like a religion in our house and she meets with the coaches twice a week helping with formations. Trust me, do as she says”.
      They played wonderfully and went on to become district champs with a
      9-0 season. I’m a proud mama!

      • GoalieDad says

        Totally that parent…

        I often review the game’s with my boys and go over their choices and what they can do better and why. I don’t expect them to win, or be perfect, I expect them to try their best.

        Occasionally I get caught yelling at the ref… but I always keep it clean and rarely more than “Where’s the penalty” type thing.

        • Marilyn says

          Maybe you should spend some time working on your grammar…you’re, games… Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

          • JRollTide says

            You are THAT OTHER type person. I write for a living. I despise contractions and never use them verbally or in written text. I hate two spaces after the end of sentence period. Yet unless the setting is an academia one or the site is about grammar (or similar), there is no need to point out grammar mistakes that are mostly typos (literally or mentally). It only makes you look like a snotty jerk that believes because you grammar policed someone that you are intellectually superior. It is just another form of bullying. Did you get the ‘message meaning’ they were trying to convey? If so, keep your inferiority complex in check and do not try to actively make someone feel stupid. Obviously you know how that feels like. Only those types that decide they need to be ‘that person’ that points out grammar flaws to feel ‘intelligent’ decide to be the grammar police. It is just bad form and not needed.

      • Shane says

        Shane dislikes this!!! Who are you to tell me how to raise my kid? I made him,pay for his sports,and i will yell at him,a coach or a ref when i feel the need to.

        • Flo says

          Shane’s attitude is why we avoid team sports most of the time. Running, biking, hiking, and swimming can be done for our whole lives, without the hassle of “crazy team owner” parents and coaches.

        • AD-Coach&Parent... says

          Really Shane? Sadly, you are the very parent that this article addresses. Usually clueless parents are the biggeat offenders. If you made him, pay for the sport, and want to yell at refs, then be a “real go-getter” and get off your butt from the stands and become a coach for your kid’s team. You might actually learn how others see you and why others probably ridacule your your position.

        • Rebecca says

          That is not a good thing to do. My daughter and son played school sports from jr. high, high school and my daughter in college.

          You SUPPORT them, not yell at them, you console them when they don’t win. You say, “you’ll do better the next time” shake it off.

          Parents are suppose to be their “ROCK”, not their MOM THAT RUINS THE GAME FOR EVERYONE.

        • JRollTide says

          I believe what you are missing is the experience of everyone else around you when it involves team sports. Yes, even though I vehemently disagree with your ‘philosophy’ on how you address your child’s participation in these sports, unless you are being abusive, yes you can do all the aforementioned actions. No, it is not illegal. Yet you pay for Shane’s son’s activities. Yes you raise(d) him. You made him. What you are missing is that you DID/DO NOT pay for, make, raise all the other kids. In team sports, there is no “I” in “TEAM.” You should be considerate of everyone else that is involved and of their experience. It only takes one ‘Shane’ to ruin the entire experience for EVERYONE involved. The two teams, kids, bleachers, umpires. If you want to ruin it for your son, that is your unfortunate miscalculation (and your child will resent you). It does not give you the right to ruin it for everyone else. Do you not care that by your actions you are causing your son to be singled out by his teammates, the parents, the coaches? He has to sit on the sideline/in the dug out and deal with his teammates eyes on him and whispers. Not you. Selfish much?

          • Jesse says

            If you ruin the experience for everyone else don’t be surprised when your kid is not invited back to play the next year? The coaches don’t have to deal with things they don’t like and it is a privelage to play team sports! Your actions can ruin your kids opportunities!

        • Brandon says

          As a soccer coach, when I hear players’ parents coaching them from the sideline, it always pisses me off. Parents yelling at their kid when to pass, when to shoot the ball. Or telling my forwards to go back and get the ball.. Get the ball get the ball get the ball. Trouble is, most parents know the few basics; their kid gets a point when the ball goes in the net. You don’t want the other team to get the ball in your net. And you can’t touch the ball with your hands unless your the goalie. Concept of fouls, offsides, and all the technicalities/exceptions, player advantage, etc..

      • Mark says

        I’m probably just reading it wrong, Lindsay, but are you trying to tell us that SEC coaches meet with you to go over formations? I’m assuming it’s in a teaching capacity, and not that they are coming to you for your input.

    • Aldridge farm in the country says

      I can’t agree with #3. Sometimes they need to be yelled at for some of the calls they make. It’s good to get their ATTENTION…..

  2. says

    I raised two boys (now ages 42 and 38) and was embarrassed for all those boys whose dads walked the side-lines telling them how to play the game. Even when it wasn’t they way the coach was telling them. I could see the look on their faces, how torn they were in who they were supposed to listen to. I have heard the refs called some pretty foul names and then wonder about the parent whose kid is ‘the bully’ and they can’t see why. All of these are great tips. Hope there are parents out there who will learn something today. I would add one more tip: If your kid doesn’t want to play sports then don’t force him. There are plenty of other activities out there. Just because you were a great football player doesn’t mean he will be. Or she!

  3. says

    Well said. I’ve seen my share of crazy sideline parents. I am amazed at the things people say to coaches, refs, their own kids and kids on the field that don’t belong to them! Sadly, when you see poor sportsmanship on the field…nine times out of ten, their parent is the one screaming on the sidelines too.

  4. says

    Such great advice. Our son is high school sophomore with hopes of playing college hoops. We are in his corner, supporting him in his dream, but it’s hard to not get too caught up in his successes and failures. I just read your list to my husband, who sometimes finds it a struggle to be just “dad” and not “coach.”

    • Stefanie says

      You are so right. It is hard not to get caught up in it. I just want to make it better. Good luck to your son. I hope his college hoops dream comes true!

  5. Kris says

    The downside of this advise….
    Doesn’t it seem like it’s the parents that already agree with what you are saying are the only ones that take the time to read it??? This kind of information should be mandatory reading for parents with kids in sports!

      • Tricia says

        My son plays travel baseball. His coach actually *does make us sign a contract regarding behavior during practices, games, etc., when we can discuss playing time or anything else regarding our son’s performance. If we violate the contract, our son gets kicked off the team.

        • Mike says

          As a coach I always have my parents read and sign a Parents Code of Conduct before our first practice. I’ve only had one incident when a parent made a fool of herself when she thought her son wasn’t playing enough during a game (He played 85% of every game).

          • Danielle says

            I agree parents shouldn’t yell if their kid is in 85% of the game. What about if they don’t play at all? Or don’t get the mandatory plays/play time? Should coaches sign a contract saying they will play the kids as they are suppose to?

          • Cheryl says

            My kids are still young and I try hard to live by these 10 rules, though it can be difficult. I’ve learned to thank coaches and team managers for their time and support of my children. More often than not, they are not thanked enough.

            Playing time is tricky when there are minimum play counts that are not respected. What are your recommendations for addressing this appropriately? Turning the team/coach into the league makes a point but can lead to a forfeit which isn’t a desirable outcome. Bringing it to the coach’s attention just leads to false promises. I’m open to any suggestions in this area!

        • Austin Fern says

          When I coached little league back in the late 80′s I had a parents’ meeting where they had to agree to a code of conduct. These were little kids (8 years old) and I simply would not allow inappropriate behavior.

          Some of the rules:

          Any parent who volunteers and helps with the kids will have input on batting and fielding positions. (I got exactly one taker, and she just wanted her daughter to have fun.)
          Your kid cares less about the ins and outs than you do. He or she is eight and is more interested in whether we’re going to Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbins after the game.
          Yell at a kid, any kid, I will have you removed.
          Yell at an ump or coach, I will have you removed.
          Any unsportsmanlike behavior, I will have you removed.

          Had a parent removed in the first game. He pulled his son off the team. I never had another parent get out of line…tho some came close.

          • ANN says

            Had a parent dropping the “f” bomb because the opposing team scored first. Did not know this till the second game when I sent out an email about sideline coaching. These kids are 6 yrs old and just moved up the past Fall to a bigger field. I have 2 or 3 that are really into playing the others just want to come have fun with friends. I am suggesting that our soccer club add what another local club has to their fields. Signs that read. 1.THE GAME IS FOR THE CHILDREN! Should YOU desire to play we have ADULT leagues. 2. The ref’s and coaches are volunteers, don’t like what you see, come see us, you’ll have to pass a background check, take a couple of courses on your own time and dime, THEN you can make difference. 3. AGAIN THE GAME IS FOR THE CHILDREN NOT YOU. 4. YOUR CHILD DOES NOT PLAY FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM they are simply children who want to have fun. 5. Don’t like these rules, we’ll be more than happy to have an officer of the law explain them to you.

    • Sumer says

      I am the team manager for my sons soccer team. Each season I pass articles like this out to my parents reminding them how to act. I also remind them throughout the season of what is acceptable and what is not.
      The only thing I have an issue with is the multiple sports thing. My childrens ages range from 18 to 9. My kids do not want to play anything else. I do not make them play soccer, they choose to. If they came to me and asked to play something else I would be so happy but they just are not interested. I will not ve the parent that makes my kids participate in sports when they do not want to. If they ar not interested in other sports I am not going to make them play other sports, even if they are young.

  6. says

    I love things like this–it puts it all in perspective. I have to say I had two clarity moments–one when I realized that when my son played poorly in a game I was letting it put me in a bad mood. I worked really hard on removing my emotions. But the big one was when he got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 13. He’s 15 now and just finished a pretty good year of high school soccer. We are able to look a every day he gets to be on the field as a success. We aren’t sure if he will have another flare in high school but man that taught us to enjoy every time we get to watch him play a sport. And it helped him appreciate what he can do when he is healthy also. He is a talented athlete, but he doesn’t have the desire or drive to go for a scholarship (at least athletically, he is focusing pretty hard on his grades though) and there is nothing we can do to make him have the passion. It was a good lesson for us and one I wish I could impart to many people I see on the sidelines!

    • Sara says

      Wow, Jana…your post jumped out at me…my son was 15 and ON his high school soccer team when his Crohn’s diagnosis came!! Played his heart out. Next season did tryouts with setons in place…played JV all the time and swung up to varsity some! This season, as a junior, was in an active flare as we needed to switch meds (Remicade to Humira)…straight varsity, but not enough playing time to earn a letter. And now he is seriously considering not playing next season as the stress of it really seems to bring on a flare. My first reaction was to freak out a bit…overreact as Stefanie’s article tips suggest NOT to…so I am trying my best to be calm and allow him to make that decision. His health is a constant struggle, as you well know, and I guess I will definitely take one day at a time.
      GREAT list, Stefanie. I only wish more parents would take it to heart!! (Another tip for soccer parents: NEVER criticize the goalie!! If the ball made it that far, 10 other players missed it, too.)

      • linda says

        Sara and Jana: Your posts jumped at me too…My son is 15 and a high school runner/triathlete and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in May. Why was he fading so much in races (low iron–blood coming out the wrong end)? Why was he opting out of workouts? (autoimmune disease fatigue/arthritis). My whole perspective is different now. Top 7 in our high school cross country is a HUGE deal–varsity on one of the top teams in Calif. He lost the spot as a freshman, ran 17th on the team in September, and got his spot back in October (lialda/probiotics–no Remi/Humira yet). Started last year one of the country’s top triathletes–finished disappointing 13th at nationals in August. My husband keeps talking about splits and times and goals for college. I am just thrilled every time he finishes a race in one piece. State championships this weekend and I couldn’t be more thrilled for his experience, not for the results, the college stuff etc. I now find the other parents incredibly annoying! Thanks for sharing your stories. I love knowing I am not alone. Best of luck to your boys. They are role models!

        • says

          I am not sure if Sara & Linda are still reading replies to this but THANK YOU for your stories. I have felt so alone, there is only one other teen (that I know of) in our town with Crohn’s and it’s not someone I really know. When my son was getting diagnosed and his development had totally stopped my heart just broke. He went into middle school one of the tallest in his class and ended it as one of the shortest. I wasn’t sure if he would ever catch back up and I could find no examples or stories online that eased my mind! Now that we’ve been at this three years (still on Remicade and it’s still working thank God!!) his is finally growing and maturing physically but it has been a long haul. It really shifted you lives as you both know too well! So thank you for sharing, it’s hard for people who are there to understand that even though they are healthy now, they might not be in a month!

  7. Nicole Kamp says

    As a mother of three D1 athletes, two graduated and one sophomore, I have to say I agree 100% with this list. Let #10 be your guide, it will also keep your relationship with your kids intact!!

  8. TJohnson says

    I could not agree more. As a High School coach of 4 sports,I’ve seen so many parents ruin a sport for their child. Whether through overreacting, embarrassing the child from the stands and outright bad parenting. Its about the kid, not the parent, let them grow and live their lives. Don’t live yours through them. Its just a game, its amazing how many parents forget that.

    • Angela says

      Crystal…yes! I agree, And I think you are saying this with humor being mean, as Stefanie implied below. I like pretty fonts just as much as the next one, but I prefer to be able to read it without eye strain than for it to be pretty. :)

  9. Sherry says

    Did every seasonal sport for years until in middle school she decided theater was her thing. I’ll tell you, sports moms have nothing on stage moms!

  10. Gary says

    It is interesting to me that most respondence on this are women. As a grandfather, it seems like a lot of parents not only need to read this but put into practice.

  11. Sammy Jo says

    Another tip for parents is to instill the importance of sportsmanship. You will win and lose some epic games but regardless of which side you’re on it doesn’t give you the right to be a poor sport or to down play the talents of the opponent who beat you. I went to a Junior Wrestling Tournament last year and saw more outrageous temper tantrums and tears than 25 kindergarten classrooms combined!

    • Jeff says

      This is the best one by far. My boy is a baseball freak and has some talent as well. I’ve seen him have a tournament (championship game)- winning hit AND a tournament (championship game )-ending strikeout in the same month. One stunk and the other was great. The best part of a well-developed child is that within 15 minutes of both, he was just Ryan again. He cried through the ‘good game’ line with his team once and smiled respectfully through the other. I saw him tell one of his own teammates who was having a bad game (and taking it out on the bench) to “stop complaining and start playing” — very proud of the boy. It’s something that all boys and girls can do. Sportsmanship is the great equalizer between talent, desire, victory and defeat.

        • Dave says

          Wrong Vince, he understands there is more to life than a game. People whose end all/be all is the game, are destined for failure. I’ve been coaching my sons lacrosse teams for 11 years now, and let me tell you, the most successful players I’ve coached, are the ones that can move past the game after an upset. We ended one tournament with a silver… only loss in the tournament, and the kids were destroyed by it. The handful of players who got over it quickly, moved on and the next game against that team, were the superstars of the game.

  12. Brian Kelly says

    #9 is BS! If you have an absent minded kid, then you need to train them to be more responsible for their equipment. IT’S NOT CHEAP! Also, if your child needs to e reminded to put in some extra work, then put the Orkney in with them. Tiring passes, running routes, shooting free-throws, etc.

    IT’S ABOUT TEACHING / TRAINING / COACHING / PREPARING your child to be successful in any application, NOT JUST SPORTS; LIFE!

    • L. Calvert says

      Easy there, tiger. You’re talking about preadolescents here. Children make mistakes. I bet you probably did at some point, too. Calling a child “absent minded” is unbelievably crass. You look ridiculous.

      Also, it’s actually *not* about that. It’s about a child having fun playing a sport with other children, period. You seemed to miss the point of the article. This is not some analogue for hardening up a child in order to succeed in the big bad world 20 years from now. It is recreation and fun, period. Let your child encounter some Billy Martin figure *after* he or she has fully developed cognitively and emotionally, please.

      And ffs, turn off your caps. You’re talking to other adults; try being civil, Brian.

      • Monica says

        I think “absentminded” is a fairly mild criticism and hardly what I would call “crass” unless you are oversensitive. Brian has a point about equipment. Kids need to realize that their parents are not made of money and take care of their things. I don’t agree with turning into “Tiger Mom” about the practicing – your child will put as much in as he/she wants to and should expect to get out of it what is put in – but it is reasonable to expect them to hold onto their stuff so they can continue to participate in the activity.

      • Nancy says

        Actually I agree with him. My child is absent minded and it’s not crass in the least to say that. I don’t go around publicly declaring him to be absent minded (in life, not on an anonymous blog) In fact I can be absent minded and if someone said I was, I wouldn’t take any offense.

        Also part of sports is to learn responsibility. Personal responsibility. My child carries his own equipment, his own baseball bag and has to make sure it’s all in there. He’s 8, not 2. Yes, sports are for fun, but I’m not going to baby my child and carry his things and be a helicopter parent.

    • normalsportsmom says

      The motivated kids won’t forget their equipment. I’ve coached very scatterbrained kids — but if they love to practice, they will be there, early, with all equipment…and not because mom or dad packed it for them. And if dad is the one “reminding” his son to practice free throws, he is not self motivated. Relax, dad, it’s just a sport.

      • Betty says

        so not true…my daughter graduated after a successful softball college career and she would leave one cleat in the dugout in high school lol. On another note we watched some of the most talented athletes she played with quit the sport during high school because they were sick of the craziness coming from their parents mouths. (and somebody please explain what value travel tball has…i mean seriously)

      • Baseball says

        If you are having to “push” your child to practice, then it is more likely they aren’t enjoying playing the sport. If it was something they wanted, they would practice on their own. Maybe they enjoy playing, but don’t aspire to be an all star…it is okay to play simply because they enjoy it you know!

  13. says

    Well said and thank you. As a coach for over 25 years and working in the field of sports I appreciate your comments and hope they are taken to heart. please contact me if you would like to be included in our sports leadership efforts.

  14. says

    Also the coach should watch how these children are talked to in front of a gym full of spectators. Also don’t scream at them in the hall and tell them just wait until the next practice, you will regret your choices. Also when the coach gets a techical they should be upset because a player gets one or 2. The student asked a ref a question and get 2. Now come on here.! I have two very good athletes that walked out after a basketball game because of the coach. Then while standing and listening to the ref say I wish I could have done this over I was wrong. very sad they lost 2 team players.

  15. Brenda says

    I have a situation. My sons junior in high school tried out for basketball team and got cut coach saying he wanted to give freshmen a chance because there MIGHT be some potential. So no juniors will be allowed to play JV. Just want to back up and tell a little history. He was on championship team MVP in 8th grade. They got rid of our 9th grade program the following year. Tried out for high school got cut but told to practice and come back in 10th grade. Did and made the team. Got limited playing time because Juniors played ahead of him. So this year when he went to tryouts found out he was cut because they were giving younger kids a chance. My son helped coach done if the younger kids at clinics he helped at. He is levels above them yet they are getting the chance to play leaving him with nothing. I feel so bad for him. What is their to do in this situation.

      • Chad says

        “Vince Lombardi” you’re crass & just a dick in general. I’m sure you’re trying to be funny, but you’re falling. Which is ironic seeing as your pseudonym is of a great winner. Have a nice day-douche.

  16. April Isaacs says

    No matter how much YOU want your kid to be great, THEY are the ones that have to WANT it! If you push and push they will either resent you or they will experience burnout. You can and should suggest extra practice, but the kid has to want to do it.
    I believe her point is that you can’t keep “saving” your child if they forget a piece of equipment. Let them get in trouble and they will start remembering it. You won’t be there to remember their gear in college. They have to be accountable for their own actions. This is where guiding them in life comes in… reinforce what the coach’s rules are, if they aren’t starting are they doing extra, that’s a point you can make to them. They will soon figure out that if they want that starting position, then they will need to put in the effort for it. If it’s always you making them, it’s extremely rare that a kid is thankful later.
    - coach of 12 years
    .

    • Vince Lombardi says

      Sorry, but extra effort and buttering up the coach doesn’t get a kid much if he doesn’t have the physical attributes, which your son obviously does not.

      • James says

        You have obviously never been exposed to the harsh reality of politics in sports. I have seen a number of teams that it didn’t matter how good you were if daddy didn’t coach or was a buddy of a coach, you didn’t plat. That is why you would see 10 coaches for 1 Peewee football team. Or a sport that dad coaches just so their kid can get on a better team because there is not a chance he/she would ever make the team without daddy picking them. Or a sport that all coaches/board members kids are on the elite team because of daddy or mommy’s status within the organization. You need to open your eyes!!!!!! This happens all to often and it is not because my kid sucked or was a wuzzy….In fact he blow up every single daddy’s boy across the line from him and you know what he got for making the coaches kids look bad? Not a place on first string I can tell you that. So sacking up, being a coach, board member or donor carry a hefty weight in the world of youth sports!!!!!!

        • J. Krohl says

          I agree… My Daughter is a fantastic athlete in two sports… In softball, the varsity head coach decides to put his Daugter who is a freshman on varsity just because he can… He told my daughter for a year that she would be on varsity (she is also a freshman ) and took his daughter instead who had no business being on varsity! The whole team was pissed and complained about her… She received playing time over other girls who were better, an he got away with it ALL YEAR!!! And many coaches get away with this….

  17. Bryan says

    I have four sons. 10,8,4 and 2. My oldest son is a big strong kid who loves playing sports, but for some reason has no real competitive drive. He is So good at hitting baseballs, he gets in the 80 & 90mph cages and puts on a show that often ends with high school aged kids giving him high fives and cheering him on as he exits the cage. I am trying my best to not be that dad, but for some reason when he gets in a game against another kid, he freezes up and doesn’t even try. How do I stay positive when the competitive side of me wants to say so much more than “go have fun, try your hardest, I’m proud of you” . I just don’t want to let it affect my relationship with my son, but every time he walks off the field he is down on himself for not trying. (He is still afraid of getting hit in the face) does anybody have any suggestions on how to get him to believe in himself and play without fear. I wouldn’t worry if he was just an average kid, but he is ten years old and has hit the ball over 250 foot fences like it was nothing.

    • Stefanie says

      My advice to you would be to be patient. He is only 10. Remember that he won’t graduate for another 8 years. That means 8 more years of playing baseball if he chooses which is a long time to hone his skills. It’s normal, even you feel like it’s only your son right now. My boys used to be petrified of the ball too. And like you it used to make me nuts. Ultimately they didn’t stay with baseball, they switched to lacrosse where they get the snot knocked out of them. He will grow out of it. Just keep supporting him.

    • Erin says

      I have a 10 year old too and I know how frustrating it can be – I also coach this age group. They really do need support more than anything. They are still very young. Be patient – they will mature!

    • Philip M says

      Bryan, can you say over-training for his age. 1. The average fastball velocity for pitchers 10 years old and younger is between 40-50 mph. The average change up speed for this age group is about 10 mph slower, putting the velocity between 30-40 mph. 2. add 10 mph for about every 2 years group after 10, age 11-12, 13-14 ect… 3. A batting cage is not a baseball diamond or a real fast-ball or a curve ect… a good player need to control his bat speed during the swing depending on how fast the blur comes. I was a strike out king when i got older and switched to softball sometimes I would swing three times before the ball would hit the glove hearing strike 1, 2 than 3 but normally I had 9 swings. He should have good headgear to protect him when batting he need to trust the gear before he can swing for the home-run.

    • Vince Lombardi says

      Sorry, but this is your subjective view of reality. Your son is not an athlete. Buy him a new xbox and feed him junk food until he is old enough to get a job and then kick him out.

      • normalsportsmom says

        Vince – your comments about boys being wusses are uncalled for. Sports are good for exercise and developmental. Yes, there is a problem when everyone thinks their kid should be a high school starter. But until then, there is room for everyone to play – whether it’s Rec, Travel, AAU, whatever. And sometimes it’s realizing what sport your kid likes / is good at….not forcing Football or Baseball on your son because you played them and want your son to be cool. I’ve seen kids love another sport but Dad refuses to let them out of football to do a sport he likes better – then he sits the bench in football, hates it, and ends up playing Xbox all day. The kid was begging to do another sport when he was younger (tennis, or swimming, or track) but SportsDad didn’t listen. Everyone’s loss.

        • Tina says

          “Vince” is a troll. Just scroll past his posts like the rest of us do and don’t give him/her the satisfaction of a response!

    • Chris Crawford says

      Bryan, if you haven’t found a solution to your son’s fear yet, I can help. I have coached baseball and softball, boys and girls, from 4-18 years of age, and have over 25 years of coaching experience. I have used this many times and never had a kid it didn’t work on. Start out in your home- roll up some socks, have your son kneel on the floor with his hands behind his back. Toss the socks gently at his chest/stomach then let him do the same to you. Progress to bouncing off your heads. Move on to a ping pong ball, a rubber hand ball, tennis ball, etc. The more you make it goofy for him, the easier he’ll take it. By the time you use a tennis ball, rag ball, baseball, have him wear a chest protector and helmet. Start all over, with the socks, while wearing the protective gear, and gradually toss harder. It shouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 throws before you can move on. Start the processes over in the yard and have him swing a bat at each item. I’ve had kids that I trained this way go on to be very successful ball players, some who are actually playing in college right now. Good luck, and remember to keep it safe, keep it fun!

  18. Dylan says

    Funny how these dads that never made it virtually guarantee their children never do. It is almost always a kid that is not as good as he has been told he is.

  19. The Truth says

    #5 is so true, BUT, you can 100% get your kid into a College, be it D1, D2, and D3. So training and hoping for the best needs to be considered, but thinking they are pro is true for sure. its the context

  20. Rutabaga Putin says

    1 Thing Contributors to Ooph Need to Know About Writing

    Stop.Doing.This.

    You.Overuse.It.

    Really.Annoying.To.See.

    Every.Third.Sentence.

  21. M Law says

    There is nothing wrong with being very passionate about sports. You ladies like to shop, we like to enjoy sports, at all levels. Sometimes you will lose your mind, and that’s ok. You would have to be a true sports fan to understand. Coaching from the sideline is needed sometimes. The coach may not always see something that could help you kid, so helping out is fine. The coaches have a lot to focus on. As far as the refs, most people heckle them for fun, but they also need to know when they make mistakes, just like at work. Most of your opinions on this are good ones, but they are like my opinions on this subject, just your opinion. Some people like being that parent. It’s their prerogative. Some kids need extra push. I say parent your child as you want. What doesn’t work for some kids, does for others.

    • Patrick says

      M Law, you are one of *those* dads. You are the one Stefanie is writing about. You’re one of those parents who undermine the coach’s authority on every game day. You’re one of those parents who get a boost to your self-esteem through your child’s success. And in my ten years of coaching soccer and softball, you will be one of those parents who end up with children who quit playing because they choose to no longer put up with the pressure that you put on them to succeed. When you instill in a preteen the notion that if you are not the best then you are a failure, you get a child who believes he/she is a failure, since there can only be one “best”. Had your child been on my team and you tried to “help” me by coaching from the stands, I would have asked you politely to stop. When you failed to stop, because you cannot just be a supportive parent, I would have given you my whistle and clipboard and asked you very loudly to take over coaching the team since you obviously know more than I do. It was a very effective technique the one and only time I had to use it.

      • Mike S says

        I would just like to defend M Law for a second here. I am not a parent. I’m almost 22 now and I was a student athlete. I played basketball, baseball, football, and I even did cross country my senior year at the same time as football. He may have not expressed his opinion in a friendly manner, but on some level I have to agree with him. Some parents can be very passionate about sports, my dad being one, I’ve had him as a coach and what Stefanie refers to as a “cheerleader” in the stands. I’ve grown up always having the loud dad in the stands and everyone knew who my dad was. I think in the course of my career in sports he had been thrown out of 5 games… 3 being basketball and 2 being baseball. Was I little embarrassed? Yes at first, but I was proud to have a father that would stand up for me when the umpires or referees made a bad call, and even more proud when I had a parent that would cheer me on and I could actually hear him in the stands. Imagine a homecoming football game, generally the loudest of games, and being able to pinpoint exactly where your parent was in the stands. He also did the occasional coaching from the sideline when he was forced off the staff and made into a “cheerleader.” I’m sorry, but my dad’s always had my back, and if he saw something that the coach didn’t, I’m going to take his advice. So I agree with M Law in a way. And to say that parental upbringing isn’t the right one, then my answer would be not every teen is the same and no one parental style is the right one. For me, what my dad was right. I graduated 9th in my class, went to college for a couple years for criminal justice, decided to take a break and join the national guard as military police. After OSUT, I left on my first deployment to Afghanistan and I’ve seen and done things people could only imagine and I will go as far to say it was because my father pushed me and raised me right.

        • Dave says

          Mike, Your dad sounds like a great supporter. And having supportive parents on the sidelines is great. Having ones (that I get the feeling Vince is) that undermine the coaches direction because they “know better” are a cancer for team sports. If those parents know more than the coach, they should be coaching. Like M Law, I have been coaching for over 10 years, and will not put up with parents who undermine the way I run the team. If they don’t like the way I’m directing, they can gladly take over, which by the way, has yet to happen in all the years.
          Again though, your Dad sounds like the dad all kids playing sports can be proud of.

    • normalsportsmom says

      No MLaw. You aren’t getting it. You are THAT parent. You can coach, parent and motivate your child at home, but not on game day from the sidelines. MikeS is defending you, but his loudmouth dad was thrown out of games! And if MikeS has a child, he is going to parent the same way because he doesn’t understand that his dad was an embarrassment. Thrown off coaching staffs and known to everyone for the wrong reasons. And note his son dropped out of college (success?) and but was “raised right” because dad had his back. No, parents that raise their children right create happy, empowered, motivated kids that do the right thing, and they do not need to intervene because the child is motivated to do his best — and best is good enough.

    • Erin says

      Ignoring the sexist part of this (I’m a lady – I hate shopping, but I love coaching)… my question is this: If you know more than the coach, why aren’t you coaching? It is absolutely NOT helpful for you to coach from the sidelines. If you are telling your child something different than the coach is telling them, you’re actually hurting them. Undermining the coach is not a good thing and not a good lesson to teach.

      Mike, while it’s great that your dad was at your games, getting thrown out of games is NOT something to be proud of. He could still have supported you and had your back by being there, being a good sport, and cheering you on.

      • Sambo says

        I agree with you Erin! I would be horrified if my parents were thrown out of a game – in fact, I wouldn’t let them come again! I have a D1 athlete as well, and we have always taught him that no matter who you are, there is always someone out there better than you. So win or lose, you do so with class!

        Vince Lombardi – I don’t know who you think you are, but I have a couple words in mind to describe you. I surely wouldn’t want you coaching my kids!

        • normalsportsmom says

          Yep, Vince Lombardi is “THAT SportsDad” too, probably a hot head that is a horrible Coach-Dad, one of those that puts his son before all other kids on the team and has a temper too. The one every normal parent is hoping their son will not have as a coach this season. Look above, he calls kids wusses and calls me a horrible person for having a normal perspective under MLaw’s post about his psycho SportsDad that was thrown out of games.

    • Coach_Rojas says

      M. Law, in my 10+ years coaching, never has a parent coaching from the sidelines been helpful. In fact, in one situation it led to the benching of a senior who was an all conference player for us the year before. His dad felt our defensive ends should run up field 4 yards and box like he did in high school and not set the edge and extend to the sidelines like we coached. As you can guess, we got burned off tackle a lot because he wasn’t playing inside our scheme. He rode the pine and had a disappointing senior season. A sophomore with less talent took his place and was all conference simply because he did what he was told.

        • Coach_Rojas says

          No. I coach high school, Vince. But, we did end up upsetting the prennial conference favorite for the championship that year. Not bad for the little Christian school about a third of the size of all the others in our conference. And only in our third year in having a football team!

          But, hey, you’re Vince Lombardi! You also typed “lemme”, so clearly you are quite educated. I’m always willing to learn from legends in coaching. How do you handle the kids who would rather play outside the system instead of being a team player? Maybe our system sucked, but going 10-1 losing only in the play offs, I feel it was solid. Maybe the teams we played that were loaded with D1 prospects had poor talent. I’m not sure how we found success. Possibly you have some ideas?

          Or, maybe you’re not the great Coach Lombardi and it’s very sad and disgraceful that you would tarnish his name and legacy with the drivel you are spouting.

          I’ll stick with our head coach with over 50 years of experience and has numerous players that have been or are in the NFL. More importantly, he has impacted many men who are now great husbands, fathers, business owners and overall contributers to society.

  22. Sheila Lowe says

    Thank you for putting this out there. My daughter plays a sport that I know nothing about, which is a good thing. I have heard those parents yelling from the sidelines and seen their children cry because of it, don’t they understand that they are ruining the experience for their kids. I want my daughter to have a good time and learn how to play and work on and with a team. Yes, I get worked up, excited, and walk the sidelines, for our girls. Again Thank you, every parent with a child in a sport needs to read this!

    • Stefanie says

      I believe for the most part, parents are doing this out of love and the desire to see themselves succeed. Unfortunately we just get caught up and our kids suffer. And yes, the best days of my life have been running up and down a sideline!

  23. vballdad says

    I am a volleyball official – but before becoming an official, I am sad to say I was guilty of 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10… :( But putting my money where my mouth was, I became an official, and can honestly say I see and hear parents acting and yelling like I did, and think “OMG, did I really sound that bad/stupid?”

    Get a grip people! Thanks for this list! It was a great self-analysis and good for a laugh or two, think about all of those parents AND coaches yelling like they do… if you want to officiate the match, do what I did and put on the whistle, get the training, and become an official. It’s easy knowing all of the answers in the bleachers – try getting on the field, on the court, up on the ref stand…you will shut up quickly too!

    • Stefanie says

      Thanks so much this comment. I too have been the crazy lady on the sideline yelling. Not because I thought I had more knowledge but because I was so excited and just wanted my kid to do something AMAZING. While I have never been on your side of it, 18 years and 3 boys into it, I have learned to relax and realize nothing I do on the sideline is going to change a darn thing. Except maybe how much they want me at the game :)

  24. Randi says

    As a volleyball coach for 3rd grade girls, can I just say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I volunteer my time to these precious little girls to ensure that they learn something to help them become better players and, most of all, that they have fun! It’s not about being the best team out there, especially at 8 and 9 years old. It’s about them doing their best. Don’t make them feel worse than they already do about having an off day. Parents can’t live vicariously through their children. Let them be the players they are and somewhere down the line, it will just click for them.

  25. says

    I am actually in the throws of this right now. I have a 13 yr old who plays several sports. I see it every football game, that parent sitting in the stands yelling like a crazy woman at her son and the refs. I’ve also been married to coach for 18 yrs. I’ve seen it all to. From parents to coaches to kids that act like they should be on the play ground of daycare. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s always better if you sleep on it. As mad as you might be your emotions will always get the best of you and it’s better to take 24hrs before you say anything.

  26. Tiffany Vu says

    This is a great read. Coming from a collegiate athlete, I wish my parents read this but they are the complete opposite spectrum. It’s more along the lines of them being unsupportive. I’m a college senior and just finished up my career and the first thing they say after I made a 6 hour drive home is “Thank God volleyball is over!” Being supportive is a must, doing something you love and passionate about and not having support is the worst thing any child can face. Not to say that I’m not grateful for them providing me the monetary means to playing club volleyball and paying for portions of college but sometimes, parents out there, tell your kids that you love to watch them play. Tell them “I love to see/watch you .________” whatever that may be.

  27. Sarah says

    thank you for this post. I agreed with a lot of what you wrote. I am a collegiate athlete and have been exposed to this kind of parenting, I do not agree with it.
    However, I have also found that I wanted my parents to be involved. I wanted them to know what I was doing, and to care. I did not want them to always say, “good job! you did your best” when I didn’t. The saddest part of athletics in my opinion is when a child works really hard and wants to do well, but their parent does not care, is reading during the competition, or simply is going to be social and have the other sport parents like them.
    Yes– it is about the kids. So parents should get involved!!! But find a balance between screaming on the sidelines and reading a book.

  28. Dan Kelly says

    To All !!
    Never have I agreed with an opinion or discussion as this one. I raised two boys now 24 and 20 who both were active in multiple sports and both eventually received scholarships to play in college. In their youth I coached both baseball and basketball for my boys and learned many lessons doing that. I have made players smile and cry and don’t regret one minute of my coaching years other than I miss it tremendously. Many of the boys I coached went on to very successful college careers and are now coach’s themselves. They still reach out to me and to this day still address me as coach !I have dealt with all things mentioned in this article like parents talking about play time, yelling at their boys and overall bad behavior. I was honest and direct in my communication with them and in some cases sent fathers away from the game to another part of the field in order to allow the player some freedom to be who he is.
    IN more recent years I have been an official in both baseball and basketball and regularly see and hear the screaming and yelling of parents. I have ejected many a coach and parent for unsportsmanlike conduct stopping games until that individual left the field or gym so we could proceed with the contest. Having been at both ends of the scale I concur with the above code of conduct and encourage all parents to be supportive of their athletes and let them grow as individuals. I promise you if you do just that they will make you proud !!!

  29. says

    Love the list! #6 is especially my favorite. And honestly, I’d consider pushing it past Junior High. We see High School athletes who get burnt out from doing the same motions / activities year round. Switching sports works different muscle groups and coordination skills. It’s better for many reasons!

  30. Russ says

    I played baseball at a D1 college a long time ago and played professional for 15 years and now I am watching my oldest daughter play high school sports. I think besides your 10 great points you make it is important to teach your kids to respect the coach, their teammates, and the game. That learning the disciplines of sports will benefit them in the long run. That their education is paramount. Because the chances are not in their favor to be a professional, having an education to fall back on will be key. I’ve seen way too many athletes and parents put all their hopes on their child and that’s just too much pressure. The athlete doesn’t reach the parents goals. Resentment and disappointment are the results rather than enjoyment and appreciation. I hope your points get passed around.

  31. Lisa says

    I love the spirit of the post, but still am very bothered by “Rule #2.” Kids just want to play. They care far less about the position they are playing when compared to time actually spent in the game rather than on the bench. Why is this question off limits. In our case, these coaches are not paid experts, but volunteer Moms and Dads like me. If this is the only thing the kids really want, why is the topic off limits? I would love a response as I am very curious about the reasoning.
    Thank you!

    • Stefanie says

      Thanks for the comment Lisa. The spirit of #2 is really to empower your kids to ask their coaches about playtime. Not for you to do it for them. They should be the ones going to their coaches and asking what they can focus on to get better and to get more play time. That said, if your kid is young, not yet in competitive sports than they should all be getting equal play time. Does that clarify?

      • Danielle says

        What if the child is scared to ask the coach? I’m talking about 9, 10 & 11 year olds and they are not getting equal playing time (or the organizations mandatory minimum). I want to know how to handle this situation correctly.

        • Erin says

          If a coach is not following league mandated playing time guidelines I think you do need to address this first with the coach – NOT at or after the game, but email and ask for a phone call. If the coach does not respond, this is something to take up with your league director.

    • Coach_Rojas says

      Great question! My only experience in coaching is at the varsity level. At that level so much goes into the decision of playing time that we simply do not allow parents to talk to us about it. Parents don’t see what happens daily at practice. Attitudes we deal with. Effort put forth. Even talent or knowledge of the playbook. And these last two aren’t even solely about winning, but also safety! A lineman goes the wrong way and a quarterback gets hurt!

      At our JV level, we may have certain athletes that we want to see in different situations because they are on that line of possibly playing varsity in the very near future. So, we tell those coaches how long they should play.

      Anything below 7th grade, everyone should play equally. And score should be kept and there should be winners and losers. But, that’s a different topic for a different day!

        • Coach_Rojas says

          Ok, Vince. I’ll bite. Enlighten me. How should playing time work at the varsity level?

          Also, please tell me what I’m missing in my coaching. Teams I coach always improve on overall GPA, school attendance, number of athletes moving on to attend college, number of athletes moving on to play in college, number of both academic and athletic scholarships, and number of participants no that team. We win a lot too.

          I’ll be honest, I stole my coaching style from a combination of Wooden, Dungy and my college coaches.

        • Dave says

          Cop out lines for a crappy coach?? Huh, guess your opinion is that you, as a parent, have a right to punch out the coach if you disagree with their coaching style, right Vince?

      • Melanie says

        My experience is varsity coaches don’t have a clue what goes on with c team players or games. Who played well or who was a ball hog. You don’t know everything you think you do. It made high school basketball a let down for my child. The parents know and probably should be asked how it went. High school coaches have way to much power and it hurts teens who love to play.

      • Nancy says

        Yeah, this is the genetic fake answer that we get that translate to; I’m not playing your kid. Coach’s are not always fair. And what happens when the parents are at every single practice and see the coach’s son make error after error and yet still get first base and your son catches every fly ball near him and gets benched. It’s nepotism and power hungry bad coaches.

  32. Mark says

    I am that parent! I wasnt that coach! Tell you the truth I would do it ALL AGAIN! I push my child to do their BEST bottom line call it what you like. But we are here to teach and guide our kid! My daughter noticed the first game I missed. She noticed the pushy reminders that helped her bring her A game! Boils down these kids and parents change teams like we do underwear. Who knows this kid better? The parent who has been there from the first day of that instructor u paid all that money to… Now at time went on I had less to say not because of the team she is on nor the coach she is playing for. Because I was that parent how constantly told what she did wrong and why it was a single and she got out. Once she understood then the power hitter came out of her and college’s came out of the wood work from a sport she wanted to play and made me cone to every pratice and every game… its all in how you do it!

  33. zack says

    These 10 things are dumb I rather enjoyed my dad being the loud one showed me that he cared he was very football smart and would yell down to the field what the offense or defense were doing on each play it was like having another player on the field also you should push your kids to an extent if the kid loves the game and you can tell he could go somewhere with it push them abit to make sure they succeed. Kids now a days need to be pushed because 90% of the kids are not self motivated anymore all they want to do is sit on the couch and play video games its sad too see that parents now a days think everyone should be treated the same because they dont want hurt feelings, feelings get hurt they learn from it and grow up wanting to succeed

  34. says

    Do i have your permission to repost your blog on my blogvwith creditbto this blog? as. Aformal basketball official I couldn’t agree more. One Easter morning, I was officiating a nine year old AAU game at 8 AM. At half time I had to go over and remind the parents that on any day their language and derogatory comments to the other teams 9 year old children were unacceptable but Especially on Easter morning. i would rather be in church. after our break we came back out on yhe court to begin the third quarter and a representative came over on behalf of those patents and apologized. ive also had grown men come out of the stands and try to punch me in the back of the head while officiating for AAU in front of my children. is this really worth $25 a game?

    • Stefanie says

      Hi BJ. Thanks for the support. I would love for you to select a few that you love and post on your site with a link back for the rest. Let me know if you do so I can promote it on my social media pages.

  35. ref says

    As a football ref I do hear a lot ..but it is not from the players or coaches. .it the parents who dont know the rules we been hassarass walking off the field by parents telling us that it was a bad call on there kid.how can this parent see every thing we don’t see..funny..kids need to be kids..let them have fun..no pressure.

  36. Roger says

    From the other end, my parents’ doing some of these made me not want to be involved in sports much past 6th grade. My dad played college basketball and tried to coach me from the bleachers. Only he would do it badly and I’d get frustrated because I didn’t know what he was talking about, and he’d get frustrated because it appeared I wasn’t listening. Never yelled at the ref, just me.

  37. Jimbo says

    I battle with being that parent. I know I do, and I am embarrassed by it. I am a competitive and driven person, and my oldest daughter is too, which is awesome, and a recipe for disaster in the same box. In trying to teach my daughter lessons I learned from sports, things that have been some of my best attributes, I have stepped over the line on occasion. My daughter was blessed with excellent hand/eye coordination, quick feet and an intense drive to compete and succeed. Her maturity level was not in sync with this drive until recently, and this was always something that was difficult for me as a parent. I have taught her that 100% effort is what is required to be the best one can be, and I probably remind her of that too often and I know I let it affect my emotions when I watch a practice or game and her body language tells me she is frustrated and hanging it up. That is happening less and less, and I am maturing as a “sports dad” which helps a lot too.

    I agree with most of your points wholeheartedly, and in particular the ones that focus on sportsmanship and respect. For the ones that regard pushing your children, I would add a caveat. I would say that a reasonable effort to teach your children about effort and focus is acceptable, as long as you can do it in a way that inspires them, or encourages them. I have failed in that on occasion, and I regret it each and every time. I want my child to learn that fort and work solve most problems, and that if you want something, or want to improve with something, then effort, diligence, focus, time and energy will get you there.. The manner in which this is taught will be the determining factor of how successful your child is in their endeavor.

    Last point I will make is this, in my first year of football a coach made me “bear crawl” about 50 yards down and up a hill for not applying what he taught me… Halfway through i was hurting and crying, I was in 5th grade, and I stood up and walked obverse to my father and told him I was quitting. He looked me in the eye and told me I was not quitting., I had committed to this team and to playing this season, and I was going to finish what I started..that I could drag myself around and be miserable, or give it my all and see what I thought about it at the end of the season. So, I went back over and did what was necessary and I gave it my all and ended up loving the game. The memories and lessons I obtained from that were essential to who I am today, and I wouldn’t change much about that. It payed for my college education, and I have friends that are as close as brothers from those times. I am thankful to my dad for teaching me that lesson, and all that came with it. The right kind of motivation, involvement, and support is essential.

    Thanks for your post.

    Jimbo

  38. Kyli says

    I myself was a very competitive softball player for many years and I did go to private coaches on top of practicing 3 days a week with my team, but that was my choice my mom and grandparents were with me through thick and thin. I played college softball and if it were not for the drive in myself I don’t think I would have made it all four years between getting chewed out because of a miss pitch or an error on my part I learned and got better. But now I help coach a 16 u travel ball team and it is very frustrating to see athlete’s talk to their parents the way they do, or throw their equipment that alone can cost up words $600 so I do think there should be punishment for that but our head coach is a great head coach and doesn’t bring it up until practice and even then doesn’t say names. Our head coach had also sat down with a few parents because of there attitude either being towards their kid, other kids, or umps. I will be printing this out and giving it to him cause I think there are still a few parents that could learn from this. So thank you for this list :)

  39. Nicole says

    Being a parent, a coach and an athelete…I agree with most of these. I do however disagree with #6, if your child is good enough to play a certain sport year round, such as a travel team, and WANTS to then they should be able to. I allow my son to choose the sports he wants to play. At 8 years old he has made the travel team for soccer, good for him, I let him do it. He also has chosen to play other sports to piggy back off of them…his life, his choice:)

    • says

      I couldn’t agree more. We’ve allowed our 15 year old (nationally ranked) son to specialize the past four years, at his request. He has the potential to translate his athletic ability to the university level and possibly beyond, if he so chooses. We feel strongly that it’s his life, not ours, and that he should be free to decide as he wishes. Our role is to support his decision, and do what we can to prepare him for the challenges of pursuing his sport for as long as he decides to. We manage regular pushback from well-meaning family members and friends who feel we should encourage him to diversify and explore other options, and we cheerfully ignore them :)

  40. Eric says

    Good points. Nobody does it perfect and I believe even all those “bad” parents understand most of this but just forget themselves. The point about begging them to come home for Thanksgiving is particularly vivid and boy the time sure passes quickly and I don’t want to waste it being bent out of shape about sports. It is poor thinking to believe it EXTREMELY UNLIKELY that a child will someday become a professional. With that in your head it is unlikely. My son wants to play professional soccer someday and I tell him he can do it if he really wants it and keeps with it. Thanks.

  41. Traci says

    I am a multiple sport mother to two busy boys. They bowl, play football, trying wrestling this year and unril this past year baseball. I have seen “those parents” and upon occasion have yelled when bad calls were made. In hindsight, I realized it was in the heat of the moment and what a moron I must have sounded like. I cannot help my sons when they are on their field (or alley), only if they ask will I help. They are good athletes and I have to realize while I am there to support them, cheer them on; I am their mother FIRST AND FOREMOST. My behaviors will have a positive or negative impact on their love of the sport. Like the mom that wants to yell “Go Pumpkin!”, I say do it. But be ready for that look…you all know that one. I still yell “Go Monkey!” And “Go Polar Bear!”. It’s the mother side. Thanks for putting this article out for us. Sometimes parents need that reminder that we are a reflection of each other as a family, so try to practice what we as parents preach.

  42. says

    I’m a softball player and I can’t stand when my parents yell at me and shout if I do bad or not I’m not perfect it’s not u on the field it’s me I need to make mistakes sometimes it helps me learn from them

  43. Betsy says

    I would like to reprint this in the program book we are doing for our basketball team with your permission. This is an excellent article. I found #3 to be the most difficult for me and your perspective really helped me to see why I should stop doing that.

  44. Roger says

    Try climbing (indoors and our) as a sport for yourself and child. You can practice together. Competitions are fun and friendly—and intense. It’s the only sport I know of in which competitors cheer for their competition. It’s more like all of you against the climb. It is also very healthy and not destructive to your body. It may be different at the highest levels, but all the comps I’ve been in were a joy for participants and onlookers.

  45. Candie says

    Love this! I long ago read a great piece by one of “those” parents who realized that their bad behavior around their kid’s sports was because she really needed to be playing. She joined a rec volleyball team and realized it was much easier to play from the stands! Her whole attitude to her lid’s sports changed from back bleacher coach to cheerleader. I think more parents should resuit up and join the game!

  46. Mike says

    Addendum to #3. If you are constantly complaining about the officiating, try being an official and making a difference.

  47. Doug says

    I will add a “tip” from a dad that has done and seen it all with kids sports…. Worry about YOUR child!!! If you do not feed or house them… Leave them alone!! nothing sickens me more then to hear an adult berate or belittle their OWN child, let alone someone else s….

    • Vince Lombardi says

      There are many children and coaches that need to be berated and belittled Doug. Particularly when they are getting playing time because their mom is banging the coach or daddy is buying playing time through the booster club.

  48. Matt says

    Do you have specific research for number 6? Can we truly say that playing 1 sport will cause burnout or is it poor coaching, pressure, to win, etc that can cause burnout. I feel this to be a very intersting question that is overlooked and too often burnout is stated to be caused of single sport play.

    Whats your take on the 10,000 hours rule. Do you see burnout in the smartest kids, great child musicians, etc.? Makes you think a little. Do we just say burnout because thats what you’ve heard other people say? What happens when we analyze a little more in detail

    Also, what differences are there from sport to sport that involve cross training? How much different is soccer from lacrosse? You have have a lot of triple flexion and extension during the sprint work, directional changes, some straight linear runs at different paces, rotational bracing of the core, and eccentric decelerations. The main difference is hand eye coordination in lacrosse and foot coordination in soccer. Do these help play in the other sport? What then is being gained by so called cross training? or should I say what is being lost (skill, technique mastery) by cross training?

    Great post though. It is amazing to sit back and people watch during kids games.

    • Michael says

      You use different muscles for different skills therefore developing areas of the body that wouldnt necesarrily develop. Between developing more muscles and allowing others to rest, this leads to less injuries. Also, cross training the mind is often over looked. Different sport, different rules, different techniques taps into different parts of the brain. Along with a change of coaching styles. Not an expert here, but an experienced father

    • Robin Nasello says

      This is nothing but basic stuff, that if anyone has a child in sports know. However #6 I feel she is totally wrong about, this is a competitive age and starting young, if the child likes the sport is important. My husband was a high school and college soccer coach and it was very obvious which kids played soccer all year. Sorry miss, but muscles will not help unless you have the training. This is like playing the piano most children have to at least touch the ball, play for fun or have training to be good at it. I feel also you are negative yes, most children will not he professional players however, what would happen if all the professional athletes and their parents had this outlook, very negative.

  49. Erin says

    This is excellent, thank you. I played sports, have coached for 20 years and have kids now of my own playing and I have yet to hear a kid say “I wish my parents would yell at me more.” Yes, they want you there – but they need your support. Let the coaches coach, let the referees ref, and most of all let your kids enjoy their sport.

  50. Sonya says

    Wonderfully written. I have played sports competitively through college, coached for years after that, and reffed my fair share if games. I have seen deplorable behavior by parents, other coaches, refs, kids, you name it! It never ceases to amaze me that the person yelling the loudest from the sidelines at their kid is usually the person with the smallest amount of knowledge about the game. I gave up coaching when I had my daughter three years ago, but I coached soccer until I was eight months pregnant. All I ever wanted for the children I coached was to enjoy themselves, always display sportsmanship, and to develop a love of the game, be that soccer, softball, or basketball. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from organized sports, my parents coached me in practically everything. They taught me sportsmanship above all else. Someday, I hope to instill that in my children. Keep up the great articles.

  51. jerod says

    I don’t agree with this really at all. I do agree with let’s remember they are just kids. Its really the perspective of it. And most of all these post are by women. Which are more emotional and. Kind hearted. That’s just what it is. I have been a coach in. All my daughters sports. And trust we have had are disagreements. Cause she loves the game. And to succeed in the game. I don’t get on her because she made a mistake. I get on her when she knows better. Some times its just a reminder on how to do some than. My daughter knows when we practice or play. I’m a coach and shes the player. Will kick and scream during either or. But she never quits lol. After the game or practice. She knows I’ her dad and she is my daughter. And win or lose. I’m always very proud of her. And always let her know that. While not playing sports. We do normal things play at a park. Go fishing laugh and make fun of each other. And there is times she makes mistakes and I just look her and smile or laugh. Letting her know mistakes happen. Cause by all means they are just kids. But if your kids not doing well in let’s say math class. Keeps making mistakes. Makes mistakes doing certain chores. Is it not OK to say any thing hhmmm. Raise your kids to be strong. Not always telling them oh its OK you Will learn on your own. When we could practice a few times and eliminate most mistakes. Wow that professional player is amazing. And know one ever showed him or got on to him when he was a kid. Just poof he was good. Said no one ever.

  52. Michael says

    This is a great read with a lot of great conflicting opinions. Quick story here. My oldest son broke down at a soccer game and did the unthinkable. After a few seasons of being yelled at from psycho dads trying to “one up” each other with their a noxiousness, my son snapped. As he set the ball up to take a corner kick, all eyes on him, he stopped, looked up to the sideline and held a big proud middle finger up to the loud obnoxious dad that called him a ball hog. I was devistated and could not believe my son would be so disrespectful. Hes a good and respectful kid. After the game, I let my son know that never will that behavior be acceptable, regardless of what anyone says to him, especially an adult. When I asked him to apologize he broke down in tears refusing to apologize because every game he has to put up with “that dad” and a few of his cronies yelling at him and his teammates. I am not happy with how my son handled it, but I am proud as heck that he handled it. I got several offers from other parents to take my son out for ice cream because my son did what most of the parents on the sideline wanted to do to “that dad” all season.

  53. says

    I agree with all of them…and tried to follow them. I would embellish one by saying to not EVER say anything bad about ANY kid from either team….that is a guarantee that the parent is sitting right in front of you! Been there, done that….and apologized! I also had a collegiate athlete, dual sport, and it was a wonderful experience. Make sure to keep a balance between school and sports, don’t get caught up in the sport…school is ALWAYS more important. My son will be 26 this week, do I have to stop calling him pumpkin? Great list!

  54. says

    This list is great and after almost 30 years of coaching, I could add even more… I have heard and seen so many out-of-control parents that thought they knew better than coaches and officials. It is obviously more prevalent in more popular sports like basketball. I also have four children that not only played high school sports, but two of them went on to play at the college level. Now, I have grandchildren starting to play competitive sports (and yes I still am coaching at the high school level). When I am a spectator at games, I move far, far away from the parent section. I can not stand to hear all the comments bashing coaches and officials. Most people know who I am and I just give them a look that says “you are making an ass out of yourself” Sometimes that is enough to shut them up for a while. :) I just focus on my grandkids and hope they are having fun.

  55. John says

    I’ve been a high school football official for 12 years. On two separate occasions, I’ve had athletes come to me during a game and say “That guy yelling is my dad and he’s embarrassing me. Can you do something about it?”. Those dads were ejected within minutes. The other thing I’d like to add – if you’re more interested in reliving your high school glory days than in actually teaching, don’t coach. Youths need a lot of patients and a lot of teaching as they learn their sport and you yelling and screaming at them because they can’t grasp your NFL play book will only make them hate you and the sport.

  56. says

    For a few years I coached my daughters in rec league soccer, and my stepsons played flag football at the local YMCA. I have been embarrassed by the actions of some parent and coaches in their behavior in front of their children. Coaches spending every minute of every game yelling at their players (remember: REC league soccer), constantly trying to correct them on the field. Buddy, that’s why you PRACTICE. If you have to instruct them constantly during the game, you are doing it wrong.

    But the most appalling to me is parents screaming at game officials. Watching one of my stepsons play a couple of years ago, I had to break up a verbal fight between a parent and a game official as she harranged him play after play after play. Your children are WATCHING this. They are both embarrassed and learning the exact wrong lesson from YOU. Parents are the ones that wreck youth sports…and AYSO had it right to have occasional “Silent Saturdays” when no one, not even the coach, was allowed to yell from the sidelines. Let the kids work it out and figure out when they make mistakes sometimes.

  57. Dana Collins says

    I am a hockey and lacrosse mom…I agree with everything on this list. Even my husband, the Head Coach, agrees.

  58. marti says

    I am wanting advice. I have a son athlete that isn’t a. Scholar but I am getting hard feelings toward the school. Every year we have trouble that a teacher has purposely messed with his grade. Most recent adding bonus points but then removing them to make him not eligible. He also got injured this football season d/t a helmet broke and coach told him to play with it any way.. I am going to loose my temper. I have been thinking I need to give the school for the root canal he had because his helmet came off and a tooth got broke off. Helo

  59. Shelley says

    I think you missed the most important one – just be there. Show your kids that win or lose, you just love watching them do what they love to do. I did D1 track in college, and went to an out-of-state school (5 hours away). My parents never missed a meet. Every weekend they drove anywhere from 4-12 hours each way to watch me compete. That spoke volumes to me.

  60. Josh says

    #5 should be #1 and #11. it really bugs me that half of the parents on a sports team think their kid is some end all-be all athlete who is going to get a full ride. good article!

  61. Emily says

    Couldn’t agree less with some of these things you have listed here, or maybe that they just need to be tweaked and everyone reminded that there’s a practical way of dealing with things and then the crazy way. I agree that you should always make it about the child and what they want and how much they want it. If they don’t love it, is it really worth anyone’s time to drive to practices, games, etc.? If you want to talk to your child’s coach then I think you should – it’s no different than talking to their teacher. It can be done in a practical way, ex. “What can my child improve on that will make them better and allow for more play time.” If you drop your kid off at practice how do you know what they’re working on and how to help them if you don’t get involved? Ok, I agree, never YELL and the refs but it’s worth mentioning that they are human too and that simply pointing out that there are two outs instead of one is always a good thing. Coaching your kid from the sideline and reminding them to do something could be splitting hairs but when there’s 10 kids on the field and only one coach, things will get missed – so yea, I will remind them to do XX until they learn to do it on their own. So what if you’re the 1% that is raising the next Tom Brady, Chipper Jones, or Lindsay Vaughn? You shouldn’t push them because it’s “not likely.” I’m betting Tiger Wood’s dad never said that. Gear it towards the child – if they have a passion for something then you absolutely should encourage it and yep, even push a little harder at times. Play the sport that is in season? What if the kid doesn’t want to? It’s been offered but there is no desire to play any other sport so we keep moving forward with that – as long as it’s the child pushing forward and not the parent, there is no harm in a one sport child playing all season long. Agree with you on the whole “nothing nice to say” thing but then again that’s just common courtesy no matter where you go. I have absolutely LOST my mind on the sideline, and that’s OK. When your child makes the game winning out or makes an unbelievable play, what parent wouldn’t lose their mind? You put so much blood, sweat and tears into that team also (if you’re involved) – it’s not that you care that much about sports but that you care that much about your child, the team and all the efforts put in paying off – it’s ok to lose your mind (in a good way) – it lets your child know you care about what they’re doing. Sports are a time to learn, just as in school – you are your child’s biggest fan and supporter of education, why not be the same for sports? Just because it’s not “normal” for you to care about sports that much, maybe to your child they do. I can’t think of anything more productive than believing in your child, pushing them towards greatness and cheering for them all along the way, whether it’s in sports or just in life.

  62. muni says

    Hi from Chile!!! you are right!!! I´ve been teased by my friends because I never say anything to my kids when they train…. instead, I read a book or have a cofee with other mums. But we share afterwards and it is so cute when they try to share feelings instead of saying “why mum, why?”….. I go to yoga lessons with y older son (11) and we really enjoy receiving instruction from the yoga teacher….. we are both students and we feel great!!! we talk about sel steem, proud, prejudice! It is so nice to watch your kids doing things they love, so why ruin the moment?

  63. Kristin says

    I think you’ve made some excellent points but agree with those who feel it is ok to dream big. I’d love to find more support and guidance for those of us who are likely raising professional athletes. My son is 8 and plays football, wrestling and basketball. There is nothing that he enjoys more than running routes in the back yard and practicing. The only thing that exceeds his God given talent is his drive and his desire to get good grades so he can play football. We support and believe in him all while realizing he has his whole life ahead of him and anything can happen. I am his mother and I don’t want him to be crushed but I am also not going to tell him his dreams are extremely unlikely to happen. He’s bright, he knows how few kids play in college and how even less go pro. We do our best to focus on academics, having fun and supporting all kids on his team. I am very proud of that example because I see him support his teammates the same way and I am more proud of that than I am of the sacks or touchdown. Just my two cents as we try to balance and navigate his development.

    • Mary Ellen says

      My son is 13 and has been playing sports (football, baseball, wrestling, track and field) since he could walk. Do you know how many parents we’ve met who think their 8 year old is destined for the pros? Do you know how many of those 8 years olds quit the sport they were supposedly so good at by the time they are 14? TONS. There are a bunch of reasons. One is that kids develop at different rates. A kid who is exceptionally talented at 8 may have peaked, while the kid who stinks at 8 is going to keep working and getting better and peak as a teenager or even later. That kid your kid is running laps around may take his spot on the team someday. Count on it. Another reason is that parents who think their kid has a shot at going pro, whether they think they are doing it or not, put too much pressure on their kid. The kid starts seeing winning and being the best as the goal, rather than playing and getting better. And once they stop being the best, and they WILL (someone is always better) it won’t be fun any more and they’ll quit. Finally, they’ll quit because they see how much it means to their parents and they are getting to that state where it is natural to rebel, and what better way to separate yourself from mom and dad than to quit the sport they want you to play more than anything.

      • Kristin says

        Ok cool. So what do you do? I realize you don’t know me but we honestly are the last people to place pressure on our kiddo. I’m a social worker and I try to minimize the amount of therapy he will need in the future :-)
        I feel like he puts too much pressure on himself. Wrestling was hard to watch last year and when he wanted to quit it took all I had to help him make the decision that he wanted to. He wanted to quit because when they realized he was beating other 1st years they gave him more difficult matches. He beat the 2nd years and some 3rd years and started losing to 4th years. HE WAS DEVASTED. He didn’t think it was fair that his coaches did that. It was more fun to win and it killed him to lose. I wanted to run out of the gym as fast as I could! I agreed with him, it should be fun and if he’s not having fun it’s not worth his time. But he WAS having fun he just didn’t want to lose. He talked to his coach and found some things to work on. When he placed second in the county tournament against those same 3rd and 4th years, he thanked he coaches for giving him harder matches.
        I do not know what I am doing.
        I’m less concerned if he peaked already because his physical talents are not the part that makes me think he could play in college. It the desire to want to skip playing after school to make sure his homework is done. The drive that he has to do well while truly loving what he does is that part that scares the hell out of me.
        So trust me when I say I don’t think about my kid going pro, I worry that he or his coaches don’t push him to hard. I worry that I don’t say too much to just worry about the here and now. Are you having fun? Are you sure you want to miss this friend’s party because you have a game? (He went out of his way to get a gift ahead of time, apologize for not being able to make it and offer to have a play date instead).
        So seriously what am I to do since I am doing the steps listed above and I still don’t know that I am doing the right thing.
        I shouldn’t say that, I do feel that I am doing the right thing in the moment, I just wish I had a crystal ball to make sure.

        • Mary Ellen says

          Follow his lead, which it sounds like you are doing anyway. And keep him wrestling. Nothing will be harder or keep him more humble. Plus, it will help him physically with any other sport he might want to participate in. Bonus: There is no chance of “going pro” so he can only do it for the love of the sport or at most, the hopes of wrestling in college.

        • normalsportsmom says

          Yes….your heart is in the right place…but remember he is EIGHT. He does not have any maturity yet- he can’t even handle losing. Get the professional athlete thing out of your head! The main thing is he enjoys the sports. Mary Ellen is right on. Teach him how to be a humble winner and a good loser. Both are important…esp in a sport like wrestling. And btw, I have seen the very best child athletes suffer as teenagers because they were used to winning and couldn’t take it when other kids grew past them and got better…they were “always the best” and couldn’t accept it. And that negative experience comes when it matters most. Nothing matters at 8. As a teenager it does, because if the goal is college sports (not Pro – that is an unrealistic goal!), then doing well in high school years is the most important.

        • normalsportsmom says

          You seem confused about school work also. Try to get a handle on this. 8yo (2nd/3rd grade) homework is NOTHING compared to what kids get in middle school or high school!!!! Middle schoolers have 2-3 hours a night, high schoolers more, esepcially if they are good students taking challenging courses. There are many more academic scholarships than sports scholarships. Even good athletes need to be good students…BOTH in tandem help the athlete get a scholarship. But this is not what you should be thinking about at 8 anyway.

          • Kristin says

            Thanks for the responses, I actually feel a lot better knowing we are on the right track. I’ll take my “reality check” and continue believing and supporting my son.
            It is also never to early to lay the seeds and academic work habits for college. Academics are important and considering he is interested in becoming an engineer I am thrilled that he attends private school where he is being prepared to go to college. His current homework load is intense and he completes his work independently in an after school program while his friends are playing.
            I actually think that is quite mature.
            As long as he is having fun we will continue doing what we are doing. Thanks again.

    • normalsportsmom says

      Key words: he is 8 years old. You do not know that you’re “likely raising professional athletes”. You need to remember it’s just sports. A lot of things change between now and high school and your son may or may not be good. Only 10% of the top athletes at 10 are still the top in high school, but the other 90% thinks they are in the 10%. Plus you said “professional athlete” — even more unlikely. Reality check!

  64. says

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! You are so spot on!

    I feel as if I could have written this myself. As a Mom whose husband coaches our son’s baseball team, I too have witnessed all of these.

    We’ve had to speak to some parents simply because their commentary was bothering the child while he was playing (and it was evident).

    Totally agree to let them fail. If you do everything for them, pack their bags, make sure glove, bat, batting gloves and helmet are all ready to go, then they won’t learn the value of responsibility. It’s a tough lesson to learn (for both the child and the parent) but we aren’t always going to be there for them.

    Of course, the younger they are, the more assistance they’ll need but the older they get, they should start to take on these responsibilities.

    Seriously, if I could hug you right now I would – LOL!!

    Thank you for sharing.

  65. Di says

    Thank you for sharing this. I have son who plays high school hockey and one who plays middle school sports, including hockey. I am sharing this with our hockey team and basketball team – this is the perfect time of year to be reminded that we are the support/cheer section.

  66. Jimbo says

    Don’t forget, as talented as your kids are, as much as you love to watch them play, as many scholarship offers they receive, they may decide to hang it up anyway. It’s not about you (their parents), it’s about them. Hard to swallow, but it is their life, not yours. Remember that.

  67. Erica says

    I love this! I will admit I am sometimes guilty of #8. I will say that I am not living vicariously through my kids though. I grew up being extremely athletic and was very intense about the game. I also played at the collegiate level. That intensity doesn’t just go away. However, I am always telling my kids how proud I am of them no matter how they play and at the end of the day it is just a game. My boys are identical twins and are very very athletic. I find that there is a lot more pressure put on them by others to perform well. Always having to live up to those standards makes me crazy on the sidelines. I think it is why I stress so bad! To hear other parents talk about your kids is very very hard. Applauding them when they play well and talking poorly about them if they don’t. I want them to be happy and their world revolving around sports makes them happy! Regardless of what they do, I am extremely proud of them! Thanks for sharing! It is always nice to be reminded of these things. :)

  68. cj says

    A lot easier to do In a perfect scenario. One that is fair and not tainted.. good luck in the “real world” not saying I disagree with any of it. In fact I completely agree.. just being a realist..

    1. yes your right its not about me, it is about them, but if i can keep them from making the same mistakes i did, then that isn’t living my sports dreams through them! that’s me being a parent, same as any other decision i help them make in life, non sports related.. its called being a parent.. should i not help with school either, or any other aspect of their development??

    2. 100% agree

    3. though it can be very difficult and frustrating, i 100% agree.. this is unacceptable.

    4. not so fast.. if the coach isnt doing his job, after being told to get on my child, then im going to yell and coach my child from the side lines.. that doesnt mean i want to be a coach..

    5. 100% agree, Ive said 10000 times what my child does at 8yrs old has no baring on if he will make it to the pros.. however at this age he has a better start, and better foundation.. and.. my excitement has nothing to do with him learning lessons of sports.

    6. COMPLETELY DISAGREE.. if my child loves to play a sport and wants to play it all year, by all means he will and can.. i will never push my child to play something he doesn’t want to or doesn’t like anymore..period.. SO WHAT if he gets burned out??? remember its about him not you, your not raising a pro, and if he enjoys it let him play!! if he does get burned out, he can then start a new sport.. he will only get burned out if your forcing him to play something he doesnt want too.. PERIOD..

    7. 100% agree towards other fans, kids, refs, coaches.. my kid needs and will learn from constructive criticism. not everything is rosey peaches and cream in anything including sports..

    8. who are you to tell me whats important?? and how do you know how much effort I put into everything else i do?? this is the most ridiculous statement ive ever seen.. you go tell a special olympian that sports are not that important.. SMH…

    9. 100% agree make them responsible very important

    10. agree, however, i have made it very clear that my kids can talk to me about anything anytime, i can only hope that if im embarrassing them they will tell me. If they do i will change my ways. Remember as you say, they are watching, and learning from you.. if they see passion they will learn passion, just as well if they see meh i dont care attitudes, they too will not care.. fine line with this… but not caring, not being excited, not engaging can be just as bad..

    • normalsportsmom says

      #4. NEVER coach your child from the sidelines. You are embarrassing your child and yourself. We all know who these dads are and feel bad for those kids! And if you don’t get this, you are right, you should not be coaching.

  69. jrgazek says

    gotta tell you, my daughter is a cheerleader. I wish parents would not be so obnoxious and bragging about what their kid can do. I think those parents and some rare bad coaches almost ruined this sport for my child. I care about her skill development at a rate that mimimizes injury. I am grateful to the people coaching my child, her teammates and their parents. It makes the experience worthwhile for all involved.

  70. says

    This is an excellent article! We raised two kids who played several sport (including baseball in college), and we saw just about everything. I am sure I am a bit guilty as well. But really, I tried to always behave so my kids wouldn’t be embarrassed. One time, we actually experienced an umpire who walked off the field because he was fed up with the jeering from the parents. I am a health coach and post all sorts of things on my Facebook page. This is going on there tonight. Thanks for this great post!

  71. mallory says

    Amen! Funny though that the person who reposted this on his facebook page where I linked to you is one of the worst offenders. For sure *those* parents don’t realize they are the problem. (pp CJ—this means you too)

    I have always said that if parents in America cared even 1/4 as much about education as they do about sports this county wouldn’t be trailing most countries in the world in education. Our priorities are seriously screwed up.

    I will close with a a stat: only 6% of high school athletes in ALL sports combined will play in college. While a scholarship is great, realize that its probably not going to come from the field but CAN come from the books.

    • cj says

      your making random posts of “your” opinion.. just cause someone is educated in sports does not mean they are not educated in anything else, and just cause someones kid plays sports does not mean they are not also focusing on education or trying to get an academic scholarship.. I could care less about how my child get into or pays for school.. has nothing to do with why he is playing sports at the moment..

      And i am not condoning any of said actions from article, just giving my opinions, in fact if you read my response i basically agreed with all of it..minus a few details.. you say i may be part of the problem, that’s fine, i can accept that its your opinion and your entitled to it.. however you dont even know me, so how can you judge me.. have you ever watched a game with me?? please explain, by what i wrote, why i am? Because i want to educate my child on sports that he enjoys? Then i guess i am wrong.. sounds like I shouldnt even let my kids play sports i guess.. right? I find it amusing how everyone on forums seem to be know it alls… that my friend is more a part of societies problem than sports. that and the fact that everyone is SO desensitized because of the internet..

    • cj says

      Another issue with america that is much bigger than sports is the fact that most are lazy and don’t care.. about anything.. wonder how genearations learn that. Becoming fat lazy and de sensitized.. no passion no respect… meh everythings ok right? Maybe of you focused more time on issues instead of your hate for sports.. you could help!

  72. Coach Giggs says

    As a college coach I can guarantee all parents that your sideline behavior has a direct effect on whether or not many college coaches will even consider your son or daughter. I usually cross them off the my list.

    • cj says

      Lol .. usually?? Unlesd its a five star recruit right?? Then its cool. Dont be a hypocrite.. if its that important do it for all… its.obviously more about the players abilities in your case as in all coaches. Way to teach integrity coach!

      • Coach Giggs says

        “Usually” because it depends on the context and extent of the parents behavior, and insight from the players club and high school coaches. This is regardless of the skill level of the player. But yes, many college coaches would pass on a five star recruit whose dad is a jerk, and take two four star team players from a good family instead. “Usually” because when we see parents behaving poorly, and all things considered, in the end we usually end up crossing that player off the list.

        • cj says

          So because dads a jerk, the kid isnt a team player?? Interessting.. smh. Its cool you can say one thing.. but I’m no idiot, college sports are so tainted I wouldn’t beleive a single thing any college coach ever told me or my kid.. but that’s my opinion as you have yours. You can sugar coat all you want.

          • Coach Giggs says

            No one said because dad is a jerk the kid isn’t a team player, or anything close to that cause/effect relationship. However, I am saying that when parents act indecently (dad is a jerk as a euphemism), they will likely reduce opportunities for the son or daughter, regardless of the playing ability. Just letting parents know how it is with many college coaches.

        • Erica says

          No disrespect but I find it highly unlikely that a college coach would recruit a player with mediocre athletic talent in order to avoid dealing with possibly difficult parents. Both myself and my husband were college athletes at 2 separate university’s and I have never witnessed that kind of recruiting. In both our experiences it was not the norm to have an entire crop of parents at all our games. It’s not High School! We traveled extensively and parents were often not there. (Yes there were the few parents that made it to more games than others) You should not be basing your decisions on whether you could get along well with the parents but rather if you can get along with the player. #1 clearly says, its not about the parents but about the player and I do agree with that!

          • cj says

            exactly.. look, im not trying to argue any of whats written is wrong.. well other than sports and seasons thing and burning them out.. but regardless, i said previously and will again i agree with almost all of it, and probably ALL of it at a high school level.. my actions and my interactions are based on my kids at the age of 8 and 5.. trying to help them understand sports and hustle, if they don’t by high school then yes this is completely valid.. I will not be one of those parents at that level.. i’m not now, to a degree, but i have been on occasion. at least i can admit the truth, unlike some posters on this thread.. realistic situations are often based on emotions. its ok to have and show emotion..

          • Coach Giggs says

            “A college coach would recruit a player with mediocre athletic talent in order to avoid dealing with possibly difficult parents.” Of course not. But, like I did say, some (and I can only speak for college soccer) may pass on a recruit (regardless of ability) if the parent(s) sideline behavior is unacceptable. Regardless of whether or not you find it believable, it is true.

      • Aim says

        My daughter has played soccer since the age of 3- she is now in college playing soccer. And the choice has always been 100% hers. She was recruited in high school- and once contact was allowed with the coaches- her coach made many efforts to get to know us and still talks to us. My point, though, is that the coach got to know us to help get to know my daughter but his decision to take her had nothing to do with us. And after meeting other parents who are difficult- I know that to be true. The only college sideline experience I saw as bad was one really terrible team actually shouting to their players to hurt ours- and they did. This list is great advice; guide your kids, encourage them, be honest with them (when they have a bad game it’s ok to say it wasn’t their best day) . My kids tell me how much they appreciate that- they know what to fix and THEY choose to push themselves to overcome. Sports aren’t everything-but they can pay off and if we raise smart kids they make good choices- mine chose to play at a school where she could get her engineering degree 1st, play soccer 2nd, and she has it all paid for…. She’s a better student having to manage sports and school and I do not interfere.

      • Coach Giggs says

        We know first and foremost by evaluating live games and second from the youth coaches. I can only speak for soccer. Some may not like this fact but it’s the way it is.

  73. Coach says

    It is important to step back and take a look at roles and dreams for all involved even at the point beyond their teen years. The issues do not end after high school. I’ve coached for 20 years, and have seen many of my former through high school

    • Coach says

      …….. players struggle to balance sport with college decisions. Many have gone to schools they never fit with to continue playing a sport that wasn’t going to move them forward toward their true dreams, only to drop out of their sport or school all together. Others have focused so much on their sport, that they were not prepared for what awaited them at the next level of life; and others were devastated to find that their athletic skills were no longer “special” now that they were a small fish in a big pond. It is important to have LIFE Goals and look at all alternatives. Use those lessons that SPORTS can teach and follow those dreams and develop those talents, but keep your perspective clear from tunnel vision…….

  74. triathletewhohappenstobeamomtoathletes says

    I actually agree with most of these things in theory, but I find this writing self-righteous. I don’t agree with yelling at refs on “bad calls”, but when they are not controlling a game in a dangerous way, that’s a different story. Apparently, you don’t have a job because people actually do yell at people at their workplaces “all of the time”…it’s not right, but it’s a fact. If a nurse leaves a surgical utensil in a patient…she gets screamed at.
    Maybe you’d be a little more relatable if you got off your “high horse”.

    • cj says

      finally, someone else with real thoughts. Another thing wrong with all this social media crap.you can hide behind your keyboard and type in pretend that your hollier than now and better than everybody else. At least if you’re going to comment be real about it..

  75. Maria says

    I’m new to the kid-sports scene – my four year old had his first experience this year with football. And I’m a teacher – so I never thought I would say a word to the coach. But I did. My son’s coach chose 4 kids, (the oldest and most athletic) and they were the only ones to actually touch the football during a game -the rest were told to stand in a line and block. After several weeks of tears, and questions about why they never got to “play” my son just wouldn’t go back any more. The coach, however, had the winning 3-5-year old team. Now I’m not sure how to get my son interested again. He definitely does not think sports are fun. Help!

    • cj says

      Well then sports aren’t for him apparently.. at least according to these people.. honestly.. 4yrs old and plating football probably a bad idea.. however this clearly was poor coaching.. you just neednto talk to your son. Explain to him what happened the best you can to a four year old and let nature run its coursebat the momemt. Have dad play football with him. The problem I have with children’s sports today is directly related to the coaches for me.. it fuels my fire and passion for my sons to improve because they HAVE too to play.. because of piss poor coaching like you describe.. for ecame my kids play ice hockey mite division under 8..3 levels red white blue.. red top white middle blue bottom.. obviously there is still going to be some range of skill in each divosion.. organizations and coaches arensupposssd to build teams with equal talent disspearsed across teams in each division.. which my kids teams do, but we go to tournaments and organazations have 2 teams in same division as we did.. one team crushes everyone never looses the other losses every game.. hownis that fair to kids on any team? Its not! And that fuels fires created by piss poor coaching.. we could easily field a team to compete at that level. But then we would punish an entire itjer team to nothingbu losses all year! What scenareo is better? You as a parent need to decide to help or be a part of the pronlem.. I would immedialty pull my childmoff ome of those stacked teams or leave the organization to find anotjer one.. at 8 years old is winning a 3v3 hockey tourn that important to these coaches? Apparaently.. so that’s more of a problem tjan anyyjing liated here if you ask me

      Again if he liked sports before he can again..just ease him into it! And support him. Find a good oganization one that yeaches respect, passion, integrity, not one that focuses on winning at his age. Its ridiculous how many poor orgamazitioms arenout there.. research. Go to practises and observe.

  76. JJ says

    What I loved was this: at my daughter’s volleyball game, a couple was just screaming at the referee for a missed call. They were very loud and obnoxious. Initially ignoring them, the referee was ready to blow the whistle to have the next girl serve the next point. Instead, he turned entirely around tp face the stands, stared at the couple, and made an arm motion, to motion them to his spot, i.e. to be the referee. It was so funny. They just sat there, all embarrassed as he motioned them down. They didn’t move an inch. He then turned and continued on with the game. Ha ha, no parent said much after that.

    • cj says

      lol similar issue at a hockey game last year, was scoring at a tournament.. a parent was screaming at the ref after a whistle.. ref told him to leave the arena, and that he would not drop the puck till the guy left, and would not continue game if he came back. LOL took 10 min, ref stood by time table box until he was gone, then dropped the puck.

  77. Doug says

    I would alter #3 – not phone time but face to face time. I believe people like to hide behind the computer and telephone. Get face to face with a person if you have a question or comment.

  78. Amanda says

    As the “little sister” in a whole family of athletes, some who are now coaches, I found this article to be AH-MAZ-ZING! I wish I could hand this out to all the parents at the beginning of the season. I will say that I have toe’d the line a bit on the being fanatic in the stands rule. Okay, maybe I’ve crossed the line, but i am always positive! But seriously, we all graduated from the same school, and are now coaching at that school with the next generation on the fields (and mats). There has been a blood relation involved in sports at that school since 1978, with 50-something varsity letters that range from football, to baseball, soccer, archery, wrestling, spirit line, basketball, athletic training, music, and academics (yes, it is totally awesome that my school valued music and academics enough to issue varsity letters). So ya, I put the fan in fanatic. Can you blame me? Great article! Sharing on FB!

  79. JimO says

    I have played sports since age 5 and coached for the last 19 years. I was recently elected President of my sons football organization. I have witnessed many of the offenses noted and may have been guilty of a few myself. One of my first actions in my new capacity will be to rewrite our players code of conduct and install a mandatory parents code of conduct. I would love to use some of the passages from this list. It is as accurate as can be and actually states some of the thoughts I had in mind for our parents. I learned long ago that my son and daughter are blessed to be playing and they should truly enjoy the experience!

  80. Brent says

    I like your article and thank you for writing this. I think this is worth the dialogue and debate as well. For the debate purposes I do feel it is warranted to say we all have to make judgement calls that may go against the “proper” thing towards refs, other parents, coaches and your kid. As a coach for 5 years there has only been 1 incident where I became that “guy” on the sideline. My belief has always been, when you start loosing your cool you stop coaching. However, in middle school football I was faced with an incident where on both teams the ref would wait until the running back, quarterback, receiver would be tackled before they would blow the play dead. We repeatedly saw this even though forward progress had stopped and were being driven backwards, I finally had enough when my running back was driven 5 yards back gang tackled and thrown to the ground. As the ref told me, that’s football coach. I lost it on him, I mean lost it. My responsibility was to teach the kids to play fair, safe and make them successful. But, when the refs challenged this simply to have a hard hitting game it also became my responsibility to protect my kids and by default the other teams kids as well.

  81. says

    Found your blog from this post. I am going to half to re-post this somewhere. Really I could have/should have written it! Agree with every bit of it. We have 2 sports minded teens…….daughter plays lax and I have a D1 baseball player and yea…….I have seen some serious ugly things over the years and through our travels. My D1 baseball player also played high school basketball all 4 years despite everyone telling him he should just play baseball if “he wants a scholarship.” He loved basketball, and has NEVER regretted playing. We also never pushed him, we just put the “tools” in the toolbox for him, he was the one who had to pick them up and use them. :) Great post! Love you blog btw!

  82. CarolinaLAXMom says

    There are times it is appropriate to yell at the referees, most notably when they are not doing their job and it involves the safety of the players. When an opposing team player has tackled my son in the backfield and then proceeds to SIT on him and the ref doesn’t call anything for almost a minute, it is appropriate to yell at said ref. Some refs don’t care and are mad because they didn’t get a free hamburger between games and take it out on kids (true story). The best refs take time to teach while making appropriate calls.

  83. Athletic DIrector says

    I am an Athletic Director at a high school. I see this day in and day out. Parents just suck the fun out of sports for their kids and those who are trying to help them have fun (coaches, referee’s, administrators). I have so many parents that come back later after their kids have graduated and have regretted being”that parent”. Parents, think about what you are screaming for, or complaining about before you do it. And think of how your kid feels when your doing it. Sure most kids will not say a word to their parents about their behavior in the stands or sideline, it is all part of that unconditional love thing. The reality is they will often share with others how they are embarrassed how their parents act at games. My advice is to enjoy it because you will watching your 5 year old following a soccer ball like it has a magnet in it one day, and the next you will be figuring out what college they want to attend and what to study. Let your kids know you are their biggest fan, not their sports agent looking for more playing time or a specific position to play.

  84. Gilbert Salinas says

    I have been sharing this article with several parents of young athletes that I know (Ages 9-13). No doubt I have a friend or two that are guilty of most of the top ten. I hope they pass it on as well. Personally I want this article to go viral. Just FYI I was an excellent athelte myself and was a college prospect for track in the 800m dash by my junior year. Not D1 and injuries took my senior year. I was NEVER pushed by my parents to participate in any sport. They didn’t mandate any practice or even notice if i was practicing on my own or not. I was a straight A student and thats all that mattered. If it’s going to happen, let it happen. I am proud to say I am NOT that parent. Seriously if you are that parent or think you might be try going to one game maybe not your own childs game and observe. Just see how stupid and ridiculous that parent looks and sounds.

  85. John Burrows says

    Also keep in mind that all of the coaches and league administrators are volunteers. They don’t need to be there but the players need them to be there. The should be treated with the respect you would convey on other volunteers in our world. They are giving up their free time and expertise for the benefit of your kid.

  86. Peggy Whalen says

    I had a daughter that played varsity basketball from the time she was in 6th grade. She was small but mighty and a force to be reckoned with, however by her Senior year in high school she was burned out and wanted to quit. I insisted she finish out her last year and in her first game of the season she tore her ACL and meniscus and was out most of the season. When she came back there was no fire to her game and I really should have said enough is enough but I didn’t. Well, now I have grandchildren in sports and I constantly warn my son against them getting burnt out. My youngest grandson is in 4th grade & is very very good at basketball,but I don’t want to see him go down the same path my daughter did so I constant caution his dad not to over extend him. Well, today at a game I witnessed 2 coaches (not my grandson’s thank heavens) who stood out on the court throughout the whole game screaming and I do mean screaming at their players . I went back in my mind to the few times the coach got in my daughter’s face and I thought no wonder kids get burnt out…no one wants to be screamed at like a dog. Your 10 things parents need to know need to be sent to ALL COACHES EVERYWHERE!

  87. says

    Another thing I would mention is never put a negative thought in their head while they are playing. Meaning if they have a 3-2 count on a hitter as a parent do not say, “Don’t walk him/her!” It should always be a positive comment.

    I have already shared this article with coaches I work with. I have to say it is FANFRICKINTASTIC! I used to play highly competitive softball in Texas and I have seen college coaches scratch out kids’ names on their recruiting list because of how parents act in the stands. I also couldn’t agree more with #4. My dad who also coached in the softball world in Texas said the same thing, parents cheer and coaches teach. Gosh, have I said how fanfrickintastic this article is? LOVED IT!

  88. Heather B says

    Fabulous article! For years I volunteered on our Lacrosse Club’s board and served as Team Manager. I’ve butted heads with many parents always reminding them “our role”. The coach coaches, the players play and the parents cheer them on! You would think easy enough right? No… Everyone still decided to do and say what they wanted. I chose to remove myself from the stands and watch my son play from elsewhere. Together with our son, we placed him in an American Prep School for Lacrosse… It was the best move ever!! Our son is now committed to an Ivy League D1 school, which he worked his way on his own both academically and athletically. We couldn’t be prouder!!!

  89. Bart says

    I have coached my daughters softball team for 4 years now. She started middle school ball last year. I am not the coach but know her so well I can see when she needs some attention or coaching in game. She trust me not to make a fool out of myself and embarrass her, so we have come up with some hand signals that I can give her in game to help calmn her or direct her. It’s not a lot maybe 3 or 4 so it’ doesn’t look like I am directing a symphony from the bleachers. It had worked for both of us, I get to help and she adjust her play for maximum performance, great article.

  90. says

    One more item for your list if your child is playing a team sport. You need to live by the rule “Win and lose as a team,” and make sure your child does as well. It is the coach’s place to critique the performance of your child’s teammates, not yours. And everyone on the team is part of the victory or defeat — whichever it may be and whatever his or her role is in the game.

  91. laura says

    When my son and daughter were younger they both played various rec sports. Our local soccer club has ONE Saturday each season called “Silence on the Sidelines”. Parents are supposed to watch the game silently and even the coaches are not allowed to shout out to the kids on the field. The kids designate one of their peers on the team “captain” for the day and that child will “coach” the game and can talk to the actual coach during the game if they choose for help/guidance. This teaches the kids to rely on themselves, builds confidence, and reminds all of the adults, parents and coaches, what they are really there for. It is a great program, but even then, there is the occasional parent who cannot control themselves. One year there was a parent who just would not SHUT UP so I walked over to them and quietly said, “Do you realize it’s Silence on the Sidelines today?” I got a very abrupt “mind your own business” and such a look. No good deed goes unpunished :)

  92. Mike Maiorino says

    Words to live by. We lived by them when our kids (now 32, 30, 26) and they learned to live by the same rules and they turned out GREAT!. So listen Mom & Dad these are good advice,

  93. Michele says

    Being in the “lacrosse world”, for 15 plus years, both daughters played in high school and club and one played D1 in college. I have one thing to say about ANY parent that can find themselves doing any of the 10 DO’s/DON’T items listed. When recruiting time comes around and the sidelines are loaded with college coaches looking at your kid to be a potential player for their school, if you just can’t keep your negativity, loud and obnoxious comments, coaching your kid, yelling at the referees, to yourself, you can rest assure that the coach interested in your kid will march right over to the coach and want to know “whose kid belongs to this parent?” Check! Red line thru that kids name! Player and parents are a PACKAGE deal. I witnessed it first hand with the Duke coach. And this was a school that this particular player had at the top of her list. Guess what? She’s not at Duke! Just sit back and enjoy the ride! Don’t embarrass yourself and more importantly, YOUR CHILD!

  94. Janey says

    I have a son who is 11 and loves baseball. It runs in his blood. Me and his father support him in every way we can. Have I broke some of your 10 rules ? You bet. His dream is to play in the MLB. When you said that we are probably not raising professional athletes kinda bothered me. Who says we aren’t? If it’s my sons dream is to play in the mlb why shouldn’t we tell him to work hard and go for your dreams. We live in a very very small town and there has been 2 baseball players make it out of this town to the professional level. So I will continue to tell him yes he can! I very well could be raising a professional ball player. The mlb players today were kids once too.

  95. Aaron says

    Focusing on one or two sports? Nah. I play just about every sport our school has to offer. And I personally think I am pretty good at them. I mean I start in them all.

  96. Cathy says

    I have a current D1 wrestler. Reading this took me all the way back to my boys wrestling kids club and the actions of some of the parents. Funny thing is, I still see it in D1 college wrestling! It’s so much more fun to just sit back and enjoy the ride!

  97. athletic coordinator says

    Thank you for this wonderful list! I am an athletic coordinator for youth and I will be sharing this with my coaches/parents. You present it in a great way that doesn’t sound preachy which can be difficult when telling people what they should and shouldn’t do. Kids want to have fun with their friends, not worry about how the adults will behave.

  98. says

    While most of the post contains good advice, you’re wrong on No. 2, specifically as it relates to recreation leagues. There are rules on participation. Coaches should treat players fairly, by those rules, and if they don’t, parents should discuss the rules with them if ANY players aren’t getting the legal minimum playing time, period. Coaches, in their competitive zeal, can and do treat players unfairly. Don’t accept that, and don’t advise people to accept it. Again, I’m talking about rec leagues, where participation is the goal. Select and Varsity teams have different rules, of course. BTW, I was a soccer coach for 12 seasons. And those rec league coaches who ignore the participation rules. That’s usually not the only thing wrong with them. Just sayin’.

  99. Chris says

    What if you are a coach at the high school level and your son/daughter is participating in youth sports? Done appropriately, do you think a parent should pull them aside while they are on the bench for some brief instruction?

    • J.S. Spencer says

      Never. I have coached numerous kids at the junior high level whose parent(s) are/were coaches at a higher level than I was (high school and college). Talking to your child on the bench is never appropriate in my opinion. Talking to them/coaching them (within the limits of the goals of the program and coach) is appropriate at home. Respectfully speaking to the coach (at a later time) if done appropriately can also be appropriate.

  100. Jason says

    That is why I volunteer to coach my 13 year old in basketball and baseball…I can yell at the refs/umps when needed, encourage him and the rest of his teammates and make sure that all of them learn what I think are the things that they need to learn

  101. Ben says

    Agreed with everything mentioned, except for the talking about playing time one. There should never come a time when a parent should discuss playing time. As a former collegiate baseball coach, we put an end to all of that and had the talk with all incoming freshmen. As a former coach of an 11 year old travel ball team as well, it was never about winning. It was about every kid playing the same amount of time, and never a win at all costs attititude. I was lucky to have parents that followed all of your points exactly….

    Great article, and good luck to your kids!

  102. Eric says

    #4 Is HUGE! As a track coach I have seen a lot of parents trying to tell their kids what form to use or how the form we teach them is wrong without realizing that we pay careful attention to form because it can really be crucial in preventing injuries.It is also important to remember that many sports have changed a great deal over the last several years; the way we played may no longer be effective and it’s really important to remember that new techniques and skills are developed all the time.

  103. says

    I think your observations apply to general child rearing too. Bravo for reminding all of us that when it comes to learning and accomplishing, regardless of what it may be, that it’s not about us, it’s about them.

    • Kevin says

      Whats most competitive sport in the USA ? Parenting…. I agree with everything you say but times have changed with all the different levels of competition. Kids that try out and want to play more games and a longer season have different goals than kids that just want to be on the team. Ones not better than the other just different. Is it ok for a parent to make their child do 3-4 hours of extra homework every Saturday and Sunday ?

  104. Karen says

    I am a judo coach. I tell parents that the only way they can EARN the right to “coach” or critique their kids in any way is for them to compete, too. This requirement cuts WAY down on that “issue.” I am fortunate that our parents are really good about supporting ALL our students and they teach that behavior to new parents.

  105. Esbjörn Sjöberg says

    So true! I happen to have 2 kids that are both elite and professional and they have ‘played’ their way to that level. Of course, with a lot of support from Mom/Dad but on the level of making a bring-with-you-lunch, transportation, buying equipment, helping out in the arena coffee shop etc. With two parents in elite sports it would have been so easy to push the kids into what we wanted, longed for. B.U.T, you have to stay out of it! Or it will not become your kids’ ‘thing’ for life. That is the reason why none of my kids are professional golfers. Unfortunate, but a fact. But I tried to influnence a little in that direction of course. I’m also just a human being!

  106. Sally says

    From another D1 parent, you actually need to do more than keep your mouth shut (which you should do). Be kind to others. Our parent support group welcomed parents from other teams, NEVER messed with coaches, and made sure that the athletes who did not have family near-by to cheer, felt cared for and supported. We made LOTS of food and celebrated every race. As parents, we made life-long friendships with other parents and came to know the young women who are now living wonderful lives – some coaching and teaching, in graduate school, and doing meaningful work. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.

  107. Melanie says

    I do not agree, my experiences with ball hog players: A c team basketball coach ruined my teens chances to improve in offense because she let the point guard ball hog didn’t teach to always hit open player, that’s the point of basketball. I regret not saying anything or shouting at the hog to pass it. Ignorant jv and varsity coaches never watched c team. I think parent imput is important in all school activities and should be asked. We are the tax payers. A schools job is to encourage and promote all who love to play not focus on winning. This is what I have learned. So my teen got cut this year. Coaches have way too much power in a teens life. They need to be more accountable, they are paid coaches for public school.

  108. Scotty says

    My daughter is in band. Now before anybody says that band isn’t athletic, I challenge you to spend 8 hours and sometimes more a day during her summer marching practices.(It gets pretty hot here in Arkansas.) Our high school football team doesn’t do that. The band practices more, and puts in way more blood, sweat, and tears than our football team ever has. I was in band when I was in school, and was a fair to middling trumpet player. I sometimes wonder if I am trying to relive my band days vicariously through my daughter. I try hard to offer advice when she asks and not be critical or too involved. I graduated from high school with her band director so that is a double whammy, but I keep it in perspective. Especially when I think of how much better they are then my band was.

  109. Steve in the Great White North says

    #3 is really the only “rule” in the list that is universally true. Coaches are teachers and every teacher wants parental involvement. Success in school and in sports is almost always directly related to parental involvement. I don’t see much value in a set of rules designed to address the 2% of parents that are obnoxious and inappropriate.

    Sports just expose jerks, it doesn’t create them.

    Every kid is unique and needs to be treated uniquely. There are no universal rules that apply to everyone at every age and every stage of development.

  110. says

    Love these points. From a health perspective I recommend that all parents, especially athletes, seriously consider Omega-3 supplements for them. They help protect the brain from injury and promote healthy brain function in every aspect of life. We see sports-related head injuries/TBIs/concussions too often and the symptoms can be life-altering.
    So let let your kids have fun and keep their future safe!

  111. Cindy says

    If you are interested in reading some research based guidelines on how to parent an athlete, coaching an athlete, or being an athlete, check out the website proactivecoaching.info. VERY GOOD information on how to keep our kids from burning out early and keep our cool during a game. They also travel and give seminars to groups (coaches, athletes, parents) and it is excellent information! Worth the time. Their information would mirror that of this author plus add quite a bit more.

  112. V says

    As a D1 athlete, I am here to tell you that this article is 100% good advice. We beat ourselves up enough about losing or making mistakes, we put pressure on ourselves to perform well– we don’t need our parents to pile onto all that as well.

    And– I know this sounds crazy– but believe it or not, having my parent scream at me from the sidelines makes me play worse, not better. My dad used to try to coach me and I finally told him that he wasn’t being helpful. I am so thankful he listened. Now, we have a rule that we wait until an hour after a game to talk about it. By that time, both of us have cooled down about whatever happened during the game and can talk about it productively without anyone getting heated.

  113. john says

    While I agree with much that is said, there should be an article 10 things a good coach does.

    I have seen way too many dad’s coach their kids that shouldn’t be.

  114. Anabel says

    While reading the list, I could not find anything on that list but #4 that pertains to me directly. But I know that rule now. I have worked on getting my 10 year old to speak up (as he is an extremely shy kid), but he is working on this. I get involved and speak for him because I don’t enjoy putting him in a sport and he ends up practicing really well, then he is “benched” for the game because the bigger boys need more play time. Not a good feeling for him or myself. So I feel the need to say something about it. Plus, like John said above, there are some bad volunteer coaches and it is all in how the teams are set up. Also it seems, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, as they say. But I am pretty good about keeping to myself. Now, I am praying that I am not in the category of “EXTREMELY UNLIKELY you are raising a professional athlete”. I will hope that my kid is in that 1% or at least “The One” that will or can make it. Somebody has to be, why can’t it be him, right? We can dream and work hard as we dream. Positive thinking always. We are a very quiet but competitive pair, my son and I, and are in the game to play hard and win if possible. :-)

    • Kimberley says

      I agree with you. I have the same feelings with my son as well as he is very shy too. I spoke up for him but was worried afterwards he would be mad at me but he said no, thank goodness! I hope my son is not in the unlikely to be professional group as well. He has the potential if only the coaches could see that and give him the ice time he deserves just like every other child in the ice. The coach double shifts or triple shifts a couple of the other boys so this is why some of the others get less time. Selfish coaches only wanting to win every game instead of forgetting it is about the kids and the sport!

  115. Kimberley says

    Good point Danielle! Coaches should have to sign a contract for play time just like we had to sign a parent code of conduct. My son plays Bantam hockey and has played for the past 8 years since he was 5. I am ashamed to say that I was “that” parent just last week when I had a chat with the coach about my sons lack of play time. He is a “just above average” player on the team and many less and a few more than, but I have gotten tired of watching games where he is sitting on the bench for way too long, I’m talking like getting maybe two or three shifts in a period. My son wants more ice time but is too shy to say anything, so I took it upon myself to do it for him. I realized after the fact that it was not a good thing to do but it’s frustrating as a parent to sit there and watch what is going on. The coaches “over coach” sometimes and forget about the quiet ones on the bench…sometimes I feel it would be better if I wasn’t at the games but then I would be letting him down. I want to cheer him on but without the frustration. How do I do this? I feel like it is a no win situation either way..lol. I guess I just need to learn to let go a bit and just be a supporter…but that is very hard to do!

  116. Dave says

    Agree. The one thing I will speak up about now (whether coaching or sideline parenting) is dirty or dangerous play not being controlled by the ref. After seeing it happen with one ref over two games and then my son getting badly injured as a direct result, I will not allow it to happen again to anyone where I am present. Sometimes nobody else is doing it and attention needs to be drawn to it. If the ref doesn’t like it we can file dual grievances and work it out there, but I will no longer watch it happen and do nothing.

  117. Agree With Crazy Parents says

    I agree with the crazy parents. Not many D1 athletes come from indifferent parents. Definately a time and place, but the ones that excel get their drive and integrity from their parents. Keep it up parents, the excellence of sports depends on you!!

  118. Greg Smith says

    I’d add: remember you more than likely don’t know as much about the sport as you should. Depending on the sport and if your kid is in high school, the coach of your child’s team more than likely doesn’t know as much as he or she should, either. Some of them are glorified babysitters. Hence, before you judge your child’s play, talk to someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

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  120. Glenn Stevens says

    I believe that point #6 needs to be re-examined. As I sit here watching the Tigers take on the Indians on ESPN, they are commenting on the rash of Tommy John surgeries this season. 20!!!!!

    The culprit by consensus is youth baseball. Too many pitches, too many types of pitches and too much emphasis on one sport. The author says that middle school is when a young athlete should concentrate on one or two sports?!? Gifted athletes are gifted athletes. The need for specialization is wrought with negative consequences and outcomes. Younger bodies and minds need exposure to multiple sports to expand their skill set and expand their mind. Look at many of the highly-recruited Division 1 athletes for the two major sports; football and basketball. These athletes are more often multi-sport stars and not just focused on their one sport. Football, basketball, baseball, track, wrestling, etc. Cross-training is not enough. Young athletes and their developing bodies need the benefit that multiple sports bring to them, not to mention that it prevents burn-out.

    Let younger athletes be athletes, don’t worry about putting your kids on a path to a scholarship or professional sports. If they have the talent and the drive, they will get there without parents and coaches taking them down a path to “specialization”.

    Take a look at the Bo Jacksons, David Winfields, Deion Sanders, Kirk Gibsons show us that multiple sports work – simply because good athletes are simply good athletes, regardless of what sporting equipment they happen to pick up at any given time.

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  122. strawrose says

    My rink has written rules on how parents should behave. This is sad.

    My brother and I did our own things. He did track and field while I did figure skating. The only thing our parents forced us to do was piano and we both quit that.

  123. dale says

    #11….Never coach a team if you do not have knowledge of the sport….this cheats all of the kids out of learning how to play the game properly and knowledgeable coaches totally understand #4 on the list, ones that do not understand the game, maybe sideline coaching is the answer to this.

    #12….If you do coach, your child may not be the best player on the team….you need to identify this and not favor your own child.

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