Becoming a Great Sports Parent
Something that can make or break your day-to-day in a youth program is parents. Here is where the idea of Parents vs. Adults comes in. 'Parents' are those who only look out for their child's success, are unreasonable, and not looking at the bigger picture. But 'Adults' are those who are rational thinkers, are understanding, and are supportive of the overall mission of the youth program.
Parents in a youth program don't always act like 'adults' (rational thinkers, understanding, compassionate etc.). One way to encourage more adult behaviour from young parents is by developing and implementing "Great Sports Parent" guidelines. You can show parents the basic level of respect your program and participants deserve, which then creates a more positive and fun environment for everyone. Here is an example of a list of Great Sports Parent Guidelines that you can incorporate into your youth sports program today:
- Cheering is highly encouraged, but yelling will have you removed.
- Stop being cheer section coach. Let the coach be the only coach.
- Refs are just trying to do their best, and you probably won't agree with what they call, so take a deep breath and move on.
- Teach your child that you win as a team AND lose as a team. Don't allow them to talk smack about their teammates. Hold them accountable.
- To build off #4, you should cheer for the whole team, not just your kid.
- This is your child's experience, not your own, remember that.
- the other parents should be your friends, not enemies.
- Make sure you aren't too positive that you're facilitating entitlement. But also don't be to negative and put a bad taste for sport in their mouth. Find a happy medium that promotes confidence well still being honest with them.
- Don't be a hater. There are real people behind those emails and phone calls you make to the sports organization.
- No matter the outcome of the game, make sure they know you love and support them.
Unfortunately, parents are an uncontrollable factor within a youth program that can make or break the experience for those around them. Establishing a "Great Sport Parent Guidelines", can help show parents the significant impact they have on their child's sports experience. No child wants to have the parents who are screaming at a ref during the middle of the game, or causing a fight between other parents on the team. As a youth program organizer, you want parents to work WITH you, not against you. A big step towards that is showing them how to act like adults VS just a parent.
Download the Great Sports Parent Guideline visual template today!