Although well intentioned, many youth sports parents approach their athlete’s sports in a manner that is more detrimental than helpful.  I’ve learned a few valuable lessons about youth sports parents:

  1. Parents – You had your chance, now it’s your child’s turn. Their path may be different than yours but allow them to lead their own way rather than fitting into your plans or expectations.
  2. Athletes really don’t want you coaching from the sidelines. It can contradict and distract from the coaching and embarrasses players. Encourage and support athletes, rather than trying to instruct – that is the coach’s role.
  3. The car ride home after a disappointing game or loss is a grueling time for most athletes.  If the feedback isn’t positive and encouraging, they would prefer going home with someone else instead of having to listen to criticism or negativity. It’s even better to not discuss the game at all unless the athlete initiates it.
  4. Parents take the losses harder than the kids do – failure teaches valuable lessons that will help athletes as they mature. Parental disappointment creates negative pressure on the athlete.
  5. Playing multiple sports DOES NOT hurt an athlete’s chances of being successful in one sport. On the contrary, playing only one sport tends to lend itself to more injuries, burnout, and athletes quitting the sport sooner.