What is the key to being a good sports parent?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 8/11/2014

Recently, I had a conversation with two of my kids, ages 21 and 24. We were reliving sports memories, and something became clear about my sports parenting as we talked.

I made a lot of mistakes.

They reminded me of dumb things I said to them after games and times I yelled at the refs. Of course, now we laugh about it, but it wasn’t so funny at the time.

How is it then, since I made mistakes that our kids were able to grow strong and learn life lessons from their sports experiences?

What was the difference between my mistakes and the mistakes made by other sports parents whose kids’ character growth was stunted because of parental antics?

What’s the key that kept me a holding steady as a “good” sports parent?

Simply this: Although I was not perfect, I was willing to learn from my mistakes.

I don’t say that to pat myself on the back but to encourage you. You can make mistakes, say stupid stuff, get mad at a coach and yell from the sidelines. You can slip up every now and then and go on to be a positive sports parent if you are willing to acknowledge your mistakes and purpose to do better.

It’s that simple.

It’s just not that easy.

If you are starting your sports parenting journey, know that you will make lots of mistakes. And as long as you recognize them and try to back off and learn from them, your kids can still have a positive sports experience.

And if your child has been playing sports for a few years and you are honest enough to admit that you haven’t been the most positive parent, it is never too late to make a change that will help your young athlete have a great, character-developing sports experience.

For my kids’ sake, I am glad I was willing to learn from my mistakes. Are you?

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. Check out her Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series with survival guides for football, softball, basketball and volleyball moms.