You see or hear about it every season: parents that cause a scene screaming at officials, coaches, and often times their own child. It never seems to fail that at least one parent in each league is still trying to live vicariously through the efforts of their 8-year-old child on the football field or basketball court. It is easy to get caught up in the emotions of sport and most of us struggle with it at some point or another but the role of a parent in youth sports stems much deeper than making sure the score is right or that the official calls that charge on a fast break. The parents’ role in youth sports is to be supportive of and encourage ALL involved.
It may be difficult for a parent to provide the necessary emotional support for a child, especially in an adult society the emphasizes winning and the product of performance, but it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to take a step back and understand that these children are not mini adults and we cannot possibly hold them to the same expectations as we would a professional or even college athlete.
So next time an official misses a blatant call or a coach may incidentally miss your son in a substitution rotation, try and follow these simple pointers to save you and your child the embarrassment:
- Remember, it is just a game. Nobody is bringing home a seven-figure contract or championship trophy.
- Encourage ALL players including your child, his/her teammates and the opposing team.
- Don’t compare your child to any other child. Each child develops at a different pace. Instead, focus on the unique and positive qualities of your child.
- Focus on your child having fun, making friends and improving on his/her individual skills. That is what most youth leagues are designed for… In that order!
- Have fun! Cherish the moments knowing you are a positive role model in your child’s life.
Youth Sports Programming at the YMCA of Greater Cleveland focuses on the core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and faith.
For more information on the YMCA of Greater Cleveland's Youth Sports Programs, visit our web site. To contact Jarrod Williams, email him here.