How to handle the 4 biggest headaches that parents will encounter in youth sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 12/14/2016

For most parents, the biggest headaches in youth sports often have nothing to do with the action on the field.

The biggest headaches within youth sports usually involve spending an abundant amount of time and energy, which can potentially derail a smooth season. If you are already a youth sports parents, then you may already be familiar with: safety, scheduling, costs, and volunteers.

Here’s some tips to help you avoid these potholes on the road toward a smooth and enjoyable season.


  • Before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam from a qualitied physician.
  • Prior to the season, be sure to exchange contact and relevant medical information with your athlete’s coaches. This should be done prior to participation, in case of an emergency. Further, if your athlete has specific medical conditions that require special attention, tell the coach before the first practice.
  • Make sure your child warms up properly before each game and practice. 
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of dehydration and other forms of heat illness.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion. This information is important for coaches, parents and athletes.
  • To avoid overuse injuries, kids should have at least one or two days of full rest and recovery per week, which means no practice.  


Remaining incredibly busy while sports parenting is a given. To help you manage the stress of your schedule, keep these things in mind as your calendar fills up:

  • It’s okay to be choosey and ‘no’ is not a dirty or offensive word, especially when utilized to filter events for your family. Identify your family’s priorities, then filter your events through them. It’s okay to be choosey.
  • Don’t sweat the mess. If you get behind on your housecleaning and it starts to drive you crazy, then try to let it go. You can’t let a messy house rule your life. There were many weekends ion my household where the vacuuming did not get done because I was off at a tournament. Needless to say, we all survived.
  • This too shall pass. That phrase is often used when consoling parents who are going through difficult seasons of life. But sadly, the phrase also applies to the good times so try to remain present and enjoy every minute while it lasts.

Paying to Play Sports

Here are a few tips for saving money:

  • Be choosy. Overloading kids’ schedules will not only put a tremendous strain on our schedule and energy, but it also can drain your wallet.
  • Start simple. If your child is a beginner, then choose sports with less expensive equipment.
  • Buy used equipment and sell last year’s equipment if it’s in decent shape. If you are still having difficulty, you can ask to borrow equipment from other families. Additionally, you can save money by purchasing slightly older equipment, so don’t shy away from buying last year’s model. If you know your kid will play a sport next year, then think ahead by purchasing new equipment during end-of-the-season sales.
  • Put off travel teams as long as possible, these will put a tremendous stress on your schedule and wallet.


Youth sports would not exist without volunteers. Many organization struggle to entice people to help out. If you want to attract volunteers, then your team has to become volunteer-friendly. This simply means that the whole process of volunteering should be easy, seamless, and involve effective communication.

As you work with your volunteer team, keep these items in mind:

  • Don’t be shy about asking for help.
  • If you are the team manager, then you need to learn how to effectively delegate.
  • Be clear about what is expected of volunteers.
  • Make it easy for volunteers to sign up.
  • Remember, parents are busy, so give volunteers plenty of notice regarding their duties.
  • Be gracious in accepting whatever your volunteers are willing to offer. If you can get enough volunteers and get everyone pitching in at least a little bit, then the job will get done.
  • Always thank your volunteers.
  • Beware of volunteer burnout.
  • Be accessible and communicative. Provide volunteers with your cell phone should they have a question.

The Rest is Up To You

If you can mitigate these four headaches and make them more manageable, then you’ll be able to more effectively handle other youth sports annoyances with a little more grace.


Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called Her new book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.