Parents and Sports Can Be a Deadly Combination, but Not If You Know How to Behave

As a youth soccer player for fourteen years, I have had many experiences with parents as fans, not just my own parents, and some have been pleasant, others as far from pleasant as can be. Kids love having their parents watch them play sports, but if the parent does anything embarrassing, kids will think twice about wanting their parents watching.

I am glad my parents acted the way they did while I played. They cheered me on, yelled advice out to me, and told me when I needed to improve on the way I played. My mom would yell out, “Go Pappy!”. They never embarrassed me while I played. Parents should not care if you win or lose, as long as you enjoy playing. If the kid loses, parents should support them by saying, “You played well, it just wasn’t your game. Don’t get down, keep your head up and look forward to the next game. Forget about today.” This is the way a parent at their child’s sports events should be – encouraging, helpful, and supportive.

On the other hand, I have witnessed parents who behave on the other side of the fan spectrum. These parents constantly yell at their kids to play better and criticizing every move. A lot of the times the referees and coaches have to tell these parents to calm down and back off, unless they want to be removed from the field or banned from watching other games. These parents are an annoyance to officials, the players, and the other parents alike. Many parents do not realize that they act poorly at their kids’ games, and when someone tells them of their behavior, it is met with denial and disbelief, even if the child is the one informing them.

Parents please do not embarrass your kids during their games. You are at the games to support and encourage your young players and make sure they enjoy playing the sport of their choice. It is not your job to tell them how to play, or to live vicariously through them. Coaches will tell them how to play the game. This does not mean become a coach, but do your job, and not the coach’s job. Once again, parents be supportive, encourage them with warm words and cheering, make playing fun for both of you but more importantly for your child, and remember, sports equal fun.


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