Sports parents, let me get straight to the point. If you want your child to have a good youth sports experience, it starts with you. Stay away from these bad sports parenting habits if you want to keep your child from having a miserable season:
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1. Make winning the only priority.
2. Fall into the youth sports money trap, hoping that enough of it will buy the right team, the right coach and fix all your problems.
3. Pester your child with questions after every practice and game.
4. Say you’re too busy to help the team.
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5. During the car ride home, or after the game, say the first thing that comes to mind, regardless of how negative it sounds.
6. Feel like you must fix your child’s problems with a barrage of words.
7. Focus only on the game today, and forget the big picture and real importance of youth sports.
8. Make sports the only priority in your home, and don’t let your child have time for any other activities or hobbies.
9. Push, push, push your child, and then push some more to achieve the results you want to see.
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10. Blame the coach, officials, and teammates when things aren't going as you wish.
11. Bash the coach at home or with other parents.
12. Coach and yell from the sidelines.
13. Don’t express any gratitude to the coaches and volunteers who give their time.
14. Compare your child to siblings and other players for motivational purposes.
15. Force your child to follow in your footsteps.
16. Make your child feel like they have to earn your love by playing well.
17. Coach your child before and after the game, even when they don’t ask for your help.
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18. Forget that youth sports is supposed to be FUN.
19. Only cheer for your child, not the team.
20. Refuse to be realistic about your child’s abilities.
If children are going to succeed in sports, they have to practice good habits on the field. Your habits in the stands, at home and in the car are just as important to their success.
This is an updated version of a blog that originally published August 16, 2017.