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Positive Sports Parenting

  1. Make sure your child knows, win or lose, that you love them, you appreciate their efforts and you are not disappointed in them.
  2. Try your best to be completely honest about your child's athletic ability, competitive attitude, sportsmanship and actual skill level.
  3. Be helpful but don't "coach" on the way to the track, diamond or court...on the way home...at breakfast...and so on.
  4. Teach them to enjoy the thrills of competition, trying, working, improving their skills and attitudes...taking the physical bumps and coming back for more.
  5. Try not to relive your athletic life through your child in a way that creates pressure.  Remember, you fumbled too; you lost as well as you won; you were frightened; you backed off at times; and you were not always heroic.  Don't pressure them because of your pride.
  6. Don't compete with the coach.  The young athlete often comes home and chatters on about "coach says this, coach says that."  This is often hard to take, especially for a father or mother who has had some sports experience.
  7. Don't compare the skill, courage or attitudes of your child with that of other members of the squad or team, at least not in front of them.
  8. You should get to know the coach so that you can be assured that his or her philosophy, attitudes, ethics and knowledge are a good influence on your child.
  9. Always remember that children tend to exaggerate both when praised and when criticized.  Temper your reactions to their tales of woe or heroics they bring home.
  10. Make a point of understanding courage, and the fact that it is relative.  Explain to your child that courage does not mean an absence of fear but rather doing something in spite of fear or discomfort.
  11. Never approach a coach on game day to talk about your child, before, during or after a contest.

A parent's "Coaching Job" is the toughest one of all and takes a lot of effort.  Sometimes in your desire to help your child, best intentions can end up being counterproductive.  Applying Positive Sports Parenting will go a long way towards fostering an environment your child can use to enjoy and excel in their sport.

Copyright Jack Renkins (2008)

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