I’m past the point of baby tips and tricks. If you want those, you can obviously look in my archives but now with a 9 (almost 10 year old) and 7 year old, we’re in a different phase of life. Then I was sitting around watching Allie’s practice when I realized what discussion we CAN have. Tips for being a New Sports Parent
At this point, Allie and Ian are both playing team sports and have been for a few years. One of the things Scott and I agree on is what type of sport parents to be. And yes, there are different types. I’m about to give you some of our tips for ensuring both you and your kids have a great sport season!
- Keep your own hopes and dreams to yourself. One thing that kills me is seeing parents project their ideas of what their kids will grow up to be on those kids. Let it go! I feel like it’s the quickest way to get them to resent you is to push ideas on them that aren’t theirs. And here’s a news flash. Chances are they aren’t going to play professionally. So let them enjoy and learn the value of being part of a team.
- Respect your kids coach and refs/umps. Remember these people are most likely parents just like you and probably volunteering. This isn’t a full time job for them and even if they do get paid, it’s not near enough to deal with the more “intense” parents. So don’t be “that” parent.
- Keep your critiques to yourself. Are you the coach? If the answer to that is no, then let it go. If there are lessons to be learned, talk about the advantages of working as a team. Teach them to back each other up. Remind them that team sports aren’t won by ONE.
- Remember the names of your kids teammates and cheer for everyone. Again reinforcing the team aspect here is important. Don’t mistake cheering for shouting instructions. “Go Johnny go!” “Way to go!” NOT “GO TO THIRD JAKE” or “PAY ATTENTION CHRIS!”
- Tell them you love them…no matter what happens. Seriously…use these words. “I love you no matter what.” Chances are if a game didn’t go their way, they feel pretty bad about it as it is. There’s more to life than sports. Learning how to loose gracefully starts with learning not to dwell on it.
I’m sure there’s more, but when spots start, you can feel a little overwhelmed and that’s normal (at least it was for me). But I will tell you, some of my proudest parenting moments to date include seeing them achieve success on the field (as a team of many and a team of one).
So sit back enjoy and let the kids play!