Stop Doing These 5 Things If Your Child Plays Youth Sports-It’s Toxic
If your child is involved in Youth Sports then, YES, this is for you. It's also for me, I am a parent of multiple kids in youth sports and I have to do better. We ALL do!
FIRST THINGS FIRST: YOUTH SPORTS ARE NOT PROFESSIONAL SPORTS
This one will be hard to swallow for a lot of parents. I have had to remind my own husband who is also a coach of this one. The probability of most kids making it into a professional sport is about that of winning the Powerball. So why do why press them so hard? It's starting younger and younger as the years' pass. I know we all want to see them rise to their potential but the truth of the matter is they won't if you're treating them like a workhorse in the field. In fact, they will most likely grow to hate whatever sport it is in spite of you. Let them take the field and play their game.
STOP COACHING FROM THE SIDELINES
Raise your hands in the air if you are this parent. It's me I'm that parent. My son plays 9-10 years old Youth Football. He's a great player. He is smart and super athletic. He loves the game. What he doesn't love is his mom screaming at the top of her lungs from the sideline telling him what he should be doing. One game he turned to me and hit his chest. I was furious until I realized at that exact moment it was the only way he could express to me "not now momma". He finally addressed it with me this weekend. He said "momma I love it when you scream when I score or tackle someone but please stop telling me what to do it's confusing" OUCH that was a punch to the gut. He continued to tell me it breaks his concentration and he can't focus on what the coach is saying. Don't be the parent that only yells negativity at your kid. I have watched far more times than I care to share these dads or moms who scream at their kids and it deflates their confidence. We must teach our kids to show up every practice and every game and let them know what we expect of them in listening to their coaches. Take the pressure off yourself trying to coach your kid and let the coach do the job you have entrusted them to do.
STOP PREACHING SPORTSMANSHIP IF YOU AREN'T GONNA UPHOLD IT YOURSELF
It happens. A ref makes a call you don't agree with and your mouth is off to the races with jabs and cuts about what they could have done better all the while your kid is dying inside listening to you. I can promise I have seen more times than not where it has hurt a team and not helped them. Unless it is a call or a situation where players are in danger of being injured save it for the end of the game. And for the record in no way, shape, or form is it permissible to EVER and I mean EVER ok for a parent to take the field or court and approach (scream at) or assault a coach or a ref. If this happens that parent should be banned for life. Wait until the end of the game and address it with league officials or those in charge.
STOP TRASH-TALKING OTHER TEAMS -PERIOD!
I have heard this happen more than once and it infuriates me. Maybe because my son is friends with all the kids from all the other teams. Maybe because a lot of those kids have become like my own children. It sets a horrible example for these kids. It also causes unnecessary worry and anxiety for them that we sometimes don't even see. Let your child form their own opinion and more often than not they don't have one they just want to show up and play the game. Kids are gonna talk but they don't need the adults in their life adding to it. Encourage them to play their game and help them capitalize on their strengths as individuals and as a team. Teach them to see other players' strengths as a way of helping them to improve on their own. I tell my son I don't care what a team's record is every single team is beatable and every team is capable of winning if they play their game. In our home, this helps them understand they have to show up for every single game. Does that always happen...NOPE! It is our job to encourage them to breathe life into themselves and others. Show up, play the game, and go home!
STOP TELLING THE COACH HOW TO DO THEIR JOB!
Lord have mercy we all have an opinion of how we would do things better, don't we? Yet most of us aren't willing to put in the time to coach ourselves. Youth league coaches do not get paid. They give their time and attention to our children on nights, weekends, and all the in-between. They do it because they love the game. They do it because most of them love our kids. If your child's coach isn't doing it the way you would, so what. Stop telling them what they should have done or who they should have played or how you would have done it. They honestly probably don't care. There is a shortage of coaches because they're tired of having to deal with parents who think they know it all. Instead of sending a complaining text how about sending a thank you, a great job coach, or a how can I help coach? If I was a coach these parents would be the cause of their child being benched.
LASTLY, LET YOUR KID HAVE FUN!
Refer back to the very first paragraph of the article. Youth Sports are not professional sports. These kids honestly want to have fun. Many of them give up playing outside with their friends, being true kids to dedicate long hours and weekends to playing a sport or sports. At least let them enjoy it. It's ok to tell them you expect them to work hard but constantly spouting off at them or overloading them just so you feel better is crap. Help them enjoy their experience and if they decide whatever sport it isn't for them that is ok too. Explain to them they need to show up and work hard for their team and when the season is over they will move on. I get wrapped up in wanting my kids to win. I want to see them do good. I hate when they have a bad game. Then I remember I have bad days at work and in life and I am an adult. We all have to practice a whole lot of GRACE and this world would be a much better place.