We all know the stereotypical overbearing mums and dads at games. The kinds who scream at the refs, belittle the coaches and embarrass their children. There's another, less obvious kind of nightmare sports parent though: well-intentioned mums and dads who unwittingly ruin a sport for their kids.
Picture: Coca-Cola South Africa/Flickr
Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching are former coaches who now advocate for young athletes and speak at schools to teach adults how to avoid becoming nightmare sports parents. In a survey of hundreds of university athletes, Brown and Miller found that the worst memory those athletes had about playing sports when younger was overwhelmingly the ride home from games with their parents.
The reason, The Post Game explains, is that parents can't help refraining from talking about the game "before the sweat has dried from the kid's uniform". It doesn't matter if the game was won or lost, kids don't want remarks from their parents about how they performed, whether the coach made the right plays, if they seemed to have lost their focus at some point and so on immediately after the game. They want their parents to be just parents and not still spectators/pseudo-coaches. Miller's advice:
"Sports is one of few places in a child's life where a parent can say, 'This is your thing,' " Miller says. "Athletics is one of the best ways for young people to take risks and deal with failure because the consequences aren't fatal, they aren't permanent. We're talking about a game. So they usually don't want or need a parent to rescue them when something goes wrong.
"Once you as a parent are assured the team is a safe environment, release your child to the coach and to the game. That way all successes are theirs, all failures are theirs."
The best thing you can say is, "I love to watch you play." That's it. No commentary, no tying special treatment to how the game went, just love. I think that goes for other kinds of performances beyond just sports.
Hit up the link below for more advice on how parents do it right and mistakes you might be making unknowingly.
What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent — And What Makes One [The Post Game via Hands Free Mama]