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Being a Successful Sport Parent

Our friends at Ela Soccer had this posted on their site and we too wish to share with the association.  It is pretty much self-explanatory.

Sport, as we all know, is a huge part of today's society, and for me, has been a huge part of my entire life. It has been my involvement in athletics that has taught me the principles of teamwork, discipline, persistency, success, failure and basically has defined my character as a person. Involvement in sport can be fun and a powerful learning experience. Coaches and parents must realize that they hold the key and play a major role in this experience and the level of engagement by our youth today.

There are two basic choices that we have as coaches and parents:

  • To have a positive impact and create a positive environment
  • To shorten or end the sport experience by having a negative impact and build an environment built around the fear of failure.

We can all agree that life is full of choices and with every choice there comes a consequence. Good choices usually bring good consequences and bad choices always bring bad consequences.

What Is Responsible Sport Parenting?

A Responsible Sports Parent fills two key roles:

  • Ensuring your youth athlete's safety
  • Helping your youth athlete apply life lessons from sports on and off the field

Parent's Checklist In Sports

  • Be accountable for getting your child to games and practices on time. You'll be setting the example that the coach's rules should be respected.
  • Teach your child to have fun and enjoy competition. Don't tell him that winning does not count because it does, and he knows it. Instead, help him to develop a healthy competitive attitude toward winning and losing.

  • Maintain a "Fun is #1" attitude. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  • Praise athletes for effort, not just results.
  • Remain calm when mistakes are made, and help athletes learn from mistakes.
  • Look for positives in athletes; avoid ridicule or sarcasm.
  • Help athletes from getting down on themselves when things don't go well.
  • Don't be obsessed with your involvement in sports.   There is life after sports.
  • Maintain a sense of humor.
  • Lead by example in Sportsmanship:
    • Accept winning without gloating,
    • Accept losing without complaining and without criticizing coaches or officials!
  • Emphasize teamwork in team sports; teach them to think "We instead of "Me"


Responsible Conversation: Parent & Coach

This section contains suggestions to help Responsible Sports Parents build effective Coach/Parent Partnerships.

Research shows when we as parents support our children's teachers, students learn more. This concept can be transferred to sports, where kids will have a better sports experience if we work in unison with the coach to create a positive youth sports environment.
Recognize the Coach's Commitment
Coaches commit many, many hours of preparation beyond the hours spent at practices and games. Recognize that they do not do it for the pay! Try to remember this whenever something goes awry during the season.
Make Early, Positive Contact with the Coach
As soon as you know who your child's coach is going to be, introduce yourself, let him or her know you want to help your child have the best possible experience, and offer to assist the coach in any way you are qualified. Meeting the coach early and establishing a positive relationship will make conversation easier if a problem arises during the season.
Fill the Coach's Emotional Tank
When coaches are doing something you like, let them know about it. Coaching is a stressful job, and most coaches only hear from parents when they have a complaint. A coach with a full Emotional Tank will do a better job.
Don't Instruct During a Game or Practice
Your child is trying to concentrate amid the chaotic action of a game and do what the coach asks. A parent yelling out instructions hardly ever helps. More often than not, it confuses the child, adds pressure and goes against the coaches' instruction, which undermines the player-coach relationship, the player-parent relationship and the parent-coach relationship.
Don't Put the Player in the Middle
When parents share their disapproval of a coach with their children, it puts the children in a bind. Divided loyalties hinder people. Conversely, when parents support a coach, it is easier for children to put forth maximum effort. If you think your child's coach is mishandling a situation, do not tell your child. Just take it up with the coach.
Observe a "Cooling Off" Period
Wait to talk to the coach about something you are upset about for at least 24 hours. Emotions can get so hot that it's much more productive to wait a day before contacting the coach. This also gives you time to consider exactly what to say.

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