How To Be A Good Sports Parent

We all know what makes a bad sports parent. They yell at their kids during games and argue with the ref or coaches. But what comes to mind when you think of a good sports parent? How they act on the sidelines is one indication, says Sue Shellenbarger, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal who writes about juggling work and family life. In her latest article, The Best Way to Cheer for Your Child, she shares advice and tips from real sports parents trying to be the best cheerleader for their kids. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Watch the game closely
  • Avoid shouting criticism or instructions
  • Remember even encouraging cheers can imply criticism
  • Cheer for the whole team, not just your child
  • Use self-talk to stay calm
  • Reiterate it is “just a ballgame” to other parents who start yelling
  • Don’t complain to the coach, and if you have to, never in front of their team

A piece of advice that really resonates is that parents should monitor their own behavior by asking themselves what their child would see if he looked up at them in the stands. “Would he draw confidence, assurance and poise from what he saw?” Building confidence in young athletes can carry over into their life off the field and is an important factor good coaches aim to instill in their athletes.

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