Why parents feel the pressure in youth sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 2/27/2017

Although competition may be a challenge for athletes, I’ve seen enough in the youth sports world to know that it’s also a challenge for the parents.

Parents feel helpless as they watch from the stands, knowing they can’t go out and help their child play the game. They also struggle with not being able to clear all the obstacles in their child’s path.

I believe there is one main reason that parents feel this pressure and it’s this: you want your child to be successful.

Wanting to see your child achieve success is the reason that you confront the coach, yell at the refs, and push your kids to try harder.

But the question is, how do you define success for your young athlete? A college scholarship? All-star team? Starting position?

Obviously those are worthy of celebration. We all want our kids to perform well. Before you and your child start aiming towards success, however, it might be good to define just what “success” will look like to your child.

Are awards, good stats, and newspaper mentions the only measure? If that’s the case then there are going to be weeks, even seasons, when you are disappointed.

If your child doesn’t get that starting spot or that college scholarship, will they be a failure? An athlete who fell way short of “success”?

Sometimes when your child has success there will be flashy results and sometimes there will not, but your child can be successful with or without the flash. Those achievements are not the total measure of your child’s sports success.

Success will not look the same for every athlete. For one child it may be just making the team, for another it may be making the all-county team, or just a season of improvements.

Your challenge, parents, is to see success through different lenses.

Sports are fun and can open doors for your child’s future, but nothing will ever be more important than what your child becomes in the process. The glory days will end, but the character developed while playing sports will live on. That’s the real success.

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