Being a parent of a youth sports athlete could almost be considered a sport of its own. Between running back and forth to various practices, games, and fundraising activities, parents usually find themselves just as involved with team activities as their kids. It's important for parents to realize, however, that the main purpose of all their efforts and hard work is for their athlete and not themselves. There are numerous pitfalls youth sports parents should avoid for both their own and their child’s sake.
1. Being Too Involved
The first major pitfall is becoming overly involved at practices, games, or events. The coach may look to parents to help out with various activities, but it's important to keep in mind that the coach remains in charge of the team. Parents who try to fight the coach for power will end up damaging their relationship with not only the coach and team, but most likely with their child as well. It's wise for parents to work with the coaches and other parents to establish guidelines to avoid interfering with what the coach has planned.
2. Forgetting You're Not the Athlete
Another pitfall youth sports parents face is trying to live their dreams through their child. Parents who focus too much on their athlete’s success can lose sight of what the athlete really wants.
Whether their reason is to play outside, be with friends, or learn how to play the game, the athlete’s wishes should always be kept at the top the parent’s mind.
Children who play sports only to be with friends will not have the same dedication as those who truly want to learn and excel at the sport. Parents trying to push their children to work harder will only ruin their athlete’s experience.
3. Being Competitive with Other Parents
Youth sports parents who try to compete against other parents, whether they are on the same or opposing team, fall into one of the worst pitfalls of youth sports. Nobody wants to see parents display extreme aggression either by yelling or becoming physical, and when it does happen at youth sports games or practices, it ruins everyone’s experience. Parents who get kicked out or banned from games because of their aggressive behavior only negatively impact their child in a number of ways, including being a poor role model.
With more and more children playing youth sports, parents need to be careful to avoid these common mistakes. By avoiding these pitfalls, parents will have a more enjoyable experience watching their child play and enjoy the sport.
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