Being a parent isn’t easy. It’s made even harder when you’re the parent to an athlete. There’s a lot of pressure to say the right things, to handle your child’s feelings the right way, and to set a good example. Fortunately, though, by following a few tips, you can be a great, supportive “sports parent.”
Ban Pressure from Your Home
To begin with, one of the things you absolutely don’t want to do, as the parent to an athlete, is to put pressure on your child. Whether it’s pressure to perform well all the time, to win, or just to stay involved in a sport he doesn’t love, pressure is not going to help your child in any way. If anything, it will just cause him unnecessary stress and potentially lead him to hate a sport he once loved. As a parent, remember that your goal is to support and encourage, not to push and pressure.
Choose the Right Coach
A coach is someone who will have great influence over your child. A sports coach will shape the child’s attitudes about sports, winning, sportsmanship, and, to some degree, about life itself. Thus, you don’t want to choose a coach lightly.
Make sure you know the person your child is working so closely with. Choose someone whose athletic philosophies and ideals line up with your own. Also, look for someone who will treat your young athlete with kindness and support and who will foster a positive self-image in your child.
Put Health First
Finally, always remember that your main job is not to be a sports parent but just to be a parent, period. Thus, make sure you are always putting your child’s health and overall wellbeing above the sport.
Getting enough sleep and downtime should be more important than overworking a child to perform at a sport. Likewise, don’t force sick or injured kids to “play through the pain.” Not only is this dangerous, but it sends a horrible message to your child.
If you can remember these tips and just strive to be as loving and encouraging as possible at all times, you’ll be a stellar sports parent and a stellar parent in general.