Apr 19, 2023

What makes an amazing sports parent?

According to a Public Library of Science Journal on Sports and Child Development, close to 55 percent of American children are involved in youth sports. 
Parents play a very important role in nudging their children into sports. They are responsible not just for offering financial and transportation assistance but also offer emotional support to their children. 
As parents, it is easy to get caught up with winning and sidelining your child’s sportsmanship. This blog helps you understand what makes a good sports parent and gives tips on how you can be your child’s biggest cheerleader.
Let them have fun
Do you feel a sense of personal accomplishment when your child does well in sports? Do you always egg them about winning? This may mean that you are burdening your child with some unfulfilled expectations. 
The first step in being a good sports parent is to not overwhelm your child and let them have fun. As verified by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, children cite ‘fun’ as the main reason for participating in sports. 
Children are usually focused on having a good time with their friends. Kids learn more when they are having fun. They perform better, develop sporting skills, and inculcate expressions when they are naturally left to enjoy. 
Know that comparison hurts
Do you often find yourself comparing your child to their peers or even your former athletic self?
You need to stop.
Today’s children are already under tremendous pressure of performing well at not just sports but also at school. Comparing them to what you were in the past or other children only increases this pressure.  
Understand that every child and their abilities are novel and inculcated by their environment and skills. Comparisons impact self-esteem and may lead to deep-seated feelings of jealousy and rivalry in adult life.
Remember not to set the performance of their peers as a benchmark for your child. Instead, inculcate a team spirit in them and celebrate their strengths to help them become the best versions of themselves. 
Offer constructive feedback
I didn’t like the way you played”
“You weren’t that good today”
Do you often find yourself making these statements after your child’s game?
A Pennsylvania State University research confirms that children report higher levels of athletic competencies when they receive positive comments frequently. As parents, you must realize that no child is perfect and is bound to make mistakes on the field. 
How you address that mistake and attempt to correct is what makes all the difference and instills a sense of self-worth in children. Always deliver feedback with responsibility and a respectful attitude towards your child as an individual.
Don’t praise too much
There is something known as too much praise. While saying things like ‘good job’ and ‘you are the best’ may seem like the right things to say, in the long run, this may harm your child’s mindset. 
Too much of anything can take away its value. It is important to say things that you mean and strike a balance. Children know when their parents mean what they are saying and when they don’t. This may affect their sense of self-worth. 
Also, overpraising may make them feel superior to their teammates. They may also start feeling that they are beyond correction, which may affect their game in the long run. 
Instead of praising the outcome repeatedly, you can choose to process their process. This will help them replicate their behavior in the future in other things besides sports. 
Don’t try to become their trainer
One of the most important things in your journey to becoming a good sports parent is to never overstep the responsibilities of your child’s trainer. Your role as a parent is to offer emotional support to your child when they need it. Their trainer, on the other hand, is a professional who spends a significant amount of time with them. 
Don’t guide their trainer and never offer unsolicited advice. This will only lead to your child feeling stressed and confused. Instead, maintain a distance and keep a positive relationship with your child’s trainer. Keep your emotions in check and let them have their own experiences. 
Become their role model
Parents have the biggest influence on their children. A child observes your behavior more than you imagine. Every time you yell at someone while driving or at a restaurant, your child notices. They may even normalize this behavior and start practicing it. 
Instead, demonstrate good coping skills and balanced reactions to situations. Don’t be judgemental and put emotional pressure on your child. Practicing this will help your child become a well-rounded and empathetic individual.
Ask for feedback
Everyone knows the importance of clear communication in developing a good and honest relationship with your children. Good communication is also two-way. As a parent, you should not shy away from asking your children about their experiences and feedback about your involvement in their sports. 
You can specifically ask things like how much involvement they want and things that you can do better to help them enjoy the game more. 
Be genuinely interested in what they have to say and implement things that will help solidify your presence in their sporting life. 
Being a supportive sports parent takes time and practice. Don’t let off days affect you. Instead, try to build a consistently positive relationship with your child when they are in the field. You can also use technology to help your child become more confident. Youth Sports Index connects you to the best trainers, sporting events, and camps to help your child get exposure to a variety of sports and amazing talent from around the country. Download the app today to know more.
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