5 Rules of Tryout Etiquette for Sports Parents

girls softballWouldn’t it be interesting if parents had to try out for their kids’ teams too? But instead of showcasing skills on the field or court as their children do, they would exhibit their composure in the bleachers and on the sidelines. I doubt your child would be held from a team because of your behavior; however, you can make your child, your child’s coach, and the people around you much happier if you follow these rules for tryout etiquette:

  • Keep your mouth shut. Your child is not playing in a game, so you don’t need to cheer. If parents insist on being at their child’s tryout, they should be seen and not heard.

At a recent tryout, I observed–and clearly heard–one dad instructing his daughter loudly from the top row of the bleachers. As she played various positions on the field, he yelled comments and criticisms about her play. I felt very bad for this high school player and sensed her embarrassment. Seriously, Dad? Just shut up!

  • Keep your distance. If you insist on watching the tryouts, do it from a distance. Your presence alone may increase your child’s nervousness, so try to stay in the background as much as possible.
  • Keep from pestering the coach. Resist the temptation to ask how your child did, how’s the team looking, and any other questions that are masking what you really want to ask: will my child make the team? Coach may or may not know at that point how your child looks; he probably has to spend some time thinking about what he saw in tryouts. Let him deliberate in peace and don’t fish for information.
  • Keep up the positive front. No matter how much you are worried about your child making the team, don’t let your child see you sweat. I can’t tell you how many times I was nervous for my kids as they tried out for teams, but I knew that expressing my own nervousness would add to their stress.
  • Keep Trying. If your child makes the team, congratulations! Now, the fun begins. However, if your child was cut, encourage your child to keep trying. Look for other teams where he can play and continue improving. I’ve known many kids who were cut from a team, only to come back and make the team the next year. And even if he doesn’t want to try out for that same team again, encourage him to find other leagues or teams where he can play the sport he loves.

How about it? If we had tryouts for parents, what should they be required to do? Janis B. Meredith has been a sports mom for 20 years, and a coach’s wife for 28, and sees life from both sides of the bench. She writes a popular blog called JBM THINKS. photo credit: rainbowbeth via photopin cc    

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