Who has not experienced the overly-excited, obnoxious and inappropriate sports parent? Someone who cannot contain him or herself when watching their child’s game or sport event. Maybe you have a parent who was one of them, maybe there is one on your child’s team or maybe you, to some extent, are one yourself. There are different types.
Parents’ ability to foster a positive athletic environment where it’s not all about winning, but rather about fun, teamwork, skill development, character build-up and increased fitness; is crucial. There are many ways in which parents try to support their children. Some command and comment on every move their child makes, especially when it’s wrong. Some constantly praise their children when they compete or workout. Some blame referees or insult other players on the field. In this article you will find tips coming from STOP Sports Injuries, on how you can motivate your young athlete to succeed and enjoy doing sports.
– Have a good relationship with your child’s coach or coaches from the very start. Have an open communication and discuss things calmly and respectfully when the timing is right.
-Define and communicate goals, values and the procedures which are involved in the sport. Set realistic goals and highlight that it’s about improving performance and not just about winning.
-Keep your child in a safe environment where you know the right training and equipment will be provided. Have an understanding that many youth coaches are volunteers and not trained professionally or certified.
-Understand and remember that other parents and children may have different (their own) expectations than you. Be considerate of this, what you want for your child might not match with the team’s goal.
-Be a role model. Show respect towards others and keep your emotions in control at games or events. Yelling at others will not foster a positive atmosphere and spirit.
-Finally, many of us might have an athletic background and cannot resist the temptation of reinventing our own pasts for our children. Remember, your child is the one doing the sport, not you. Focus on his or her unique abilities and goals.
Additional tips on how to encourage your child to do sports come from student leadership development expert T. Elmore. He has studied numerous NCAA and professional teams for years and met with numerous athletes and coaches. Based on psychological research, he found the healthiest statements parents can say before, during and after their children’s events as encouragement. They are the following:
Before the event
-I love you
After the event
-Did you have fun?
-I’m proud of you
-I love you
Furthermore, researchers E. Brown and R. Miller discovered that what college athletes said when asked what their parents could say in order for them to feel great during and after a game. They answered:
“I love to watch you play.”
STOP Sports Injuries, Strength training tips, (2012), available at:
Growing Leaders, What Parents Should Say as Their Kids Perform, (2013), available at: https://growingleaders.com/blog/what-parents-should-say-as-their-kids-perform/
Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about our products, news and inspirational reading direct to your inbox. Your email is of course safe with us.