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4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Pace The Sidelines During Youth Sports

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Pace The Sidelines During Youth Sports

Parents, it’s time to have a seat, most preferably in the bleachers or a chair. We promise, this is something you need to hear: pacing the sidelines and instructing your child during youth sports is not going to help them play better. Consider your actions by turning the tables. What if your boss was constantly pacing outside your office, waiting for you to do your job? Perhaps worse, what if he or she intermittently stopped by and offered forceful instructions to you on how to do it?

Of course, no adult wants to work in an environment like that — unfortunately, that is exactly what parents are doing when they coach from the sidelines, here are the reasons why:

You will add confusion to the game plan
The coach has already put together a strategy and given players their assignments. When you coach from the sidelines, you may end up giving instructions that will contradict what the coach has instructed the players to do. Youth sports athletes will have a hard time focusing on both the coach and parents. They can’t do both and so you must decide: do you want your child to play and have fun or slow down and try to listen to the instructions coming from both sides?

You might be thinking: yes, but the coach isn’t coaching! However, just because he isn’t constantly yelling from the sidelines doesn’t mean that you must do it for him. Many coaches feel that constantly yelling at a player hinders the development of an athlete during youth sports. A great coach knows how to do more coaching during practice so that he can pull back during the game.

You set a poor example of self-control
Your child learns self-control by observing how you behave on the sidelines. Your example of self-control — or lack thereof — will be far more important in your child’s development than any in-game advice you may have. Besides, if you’re acting out and yelling at athletes, coaches, referees, whomever it may be, then what will stop your child from doing the same? If you show poor sportsmanship as you pace the sidelines, your child will not be far behind, following in your footsteps.

You create anxiousness
If you get nervous, your anxiousness well spread to your child. Again, let’s use the pacing boss analogy. Can you do your best work with a boss hovering over your shoulder? No, of course not. He is only adding to your anxiety as you strive to get your job done — it’s no different for your child. Pressure, particularly so for a young athlete, can be an absolute confidence killer and reason to quit the sport entirely.

You are hindering your child’s growth
Yes, you’re only trying to help your child by instructing him from the sidelines, but, in reality, you are holding back his growth. Your constant sideline interference does not allow him to make decisions and learn on his own. The best way for you to help your child this season is to invest in a very comfortable stadium seat or lawn chair to use at every youth sports game.

If you must walk off nervous energy, visit the snack bar or walk behind the bleachers where your child cannot see your anxiety or frustration. If you relax and watch, rather than pace and yell, we promise that all parties will enjoy the game that much more.


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