Annoying is a word that some athletes use to describe their parents’ behavior, and it is also used by coaches to describe some sports parenting behaviors. There’s a third twist to the annoyances: parents annoying other parents. After writing posts for Coachup on parents annoying athletes, and parents annoying coaches, I was reminded by readers that parents should be mindful of how they annoy other parents. So I asked for some feedback and this is what parents claimed to be the most annoying behaviors by other parents.
- Coaching from the stands. One parent said, “I’ve seen kids stop playing to try and listen to what mom or dad is saying in the crowd.” “It’s one thing to cheer,” claims another parent. “ It’s another thing to yell and get pissed off with every little mistake. It’s it uncomfortable for all.” “Parents should not give tactical or playing direction,” explains a mom. “Leave that to the coach; your job is to encourage only.”
- Constant yammering at the officials, coaches, players. “If you know so much, get out there and help,” says a frustrated sports parent.
- Verbally putting down their child, especially in front of the team. It’s awkward for everyone witnessing this and embarrassing for your child.
- Intimidating a child on the opposing team. “I’ve seen parents stand too close to the court and clap loudly about the opponent’s mistakes, trying to intimidate them, it seems,” recalls a dad. In my opinion, that is a poor display of sportsmanship and a huge display of immaturity.
- Criticizing the play of kids on your own team. One mom claims that she’d often hear another mom moaning and saying critical things to players on her daughter’s team who made a mistake. “Seriously? I so wanted to tell her to shut up! And on top of all that, she always blamed other players for her daughter’s ‘mistakes.’ Like if her daughter didn’t catch a basketball pass, it was because she was thrown a bad pass, not because she dropped it!” When my kids played sports, I often sat away from the cluster of parents so I didn’t have to listen to their nonsense. I found it more than annoying; it often angered me and I was afraid I’d say something I’d regret to an obnoxious parent.
How about you? What do you do when spectating parents are annoying during your child’s game? 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.