Knowing how to be a good sports parent is important if you want your child to be successful on a team.
Here are some rules of thumb on how to be a good sports parent:
1) Make sure that your child knows that win or lose, scared or heroic, you love them, appreciate their efforts and not disappointed in them in anyway. Sports is a great way for a child to build their self-esteem and to develop athletic skill. You don't want to knock them down by showing disappointment.
2) Try your best to be completely honest about your child's athletic capability, their competitive attitude, their sportsmanship and their actual skill level.
3) Be helpful, but don't coach them on the way to the court (or the rink or the track etc), or on the way to or back from the event. You are the parent, not the coach. You don't want to interfere with the way the coach is teaching them to play.
4) Teach them to enjoy the thrill of competition. Don't say "winning doesn't matter," because we all know that it does. We all want our children to be gracious losers as well though. In life, nobody is going to win at everything.
5) Try not to relive your athletic life through your child that creates pressure on them. Do not pressure them because of your pride.
6) Don't compete with the coach. Remember, in many cases the coach becomes a hero to their athletes, a person who can do no wrong.
7) Don't compare the skill, courage, or attitudes of your child with the other members of the squad or team.
8) You should always get to know the coach so that you can be sure that their philosophy, attitudes, ethics, and knowledge are such that you are happy to expose your child to them.
9) Always remember that children tend to exaggerate, both when praised and when criticized. Temper your reactions when they bring home tales of woe or heroics.
10) Make a point of understanding courage and the fact that it is relative. Some of us climb mountains but fear a fight. A child must know that courage is not absence of fear, but rather doing something in spite of fear.
11) Don't have the coaches thinking about you while they are coaching your child.
Preseason gathering is a great way to start the year on a positive note. It allows the parents to meet each other as well as the coaches who will be working with their children. It also helps begin building team unity among the coaches, players, and parents, which is essential to any successful program.
Keeping these factors in mind at all times will help you become and remain a good sports parent.