12 signs that a sports parent needs to take 2 steps back

By Janis Meredith | Posted 8/30/2017

You don’t have to be a crazy sports parent to be a little too invested in your child’s youth sports experience.

I was never seen as a wacko parent, but there were definitely times when I sensed that I was taking my kids’ games way too seriously. When I was thinking clearly enough to see this, I would force myself to take a couple of steps back.

What are the telltale signs that indicate a parent should step back?

  • 1. You stand and pace the sidelines where your child sees you the entire game.
  • 2. You yell at the coach or officials during the game.
  • 3. You coach your child before and after the game, even when they don’t ask, and during the game, when it’s distracting.
  • 4. You lose sleep because you’re worried about your children’s playing time or even if they will make the team.
  • 5. You struggle to find things other than sports to discuss with your child.
  • 6. You consistently sacrifice family time and make sports the No. 1 priority in your home.
  • 7. You assume your child will play sports through middle school, high school and even into college, without even discussing it with your child.
  • 8. You are more concerned about your children’s playing time than you are about their grades.
  • 9. You keep your children from trying non-sports interests they really want to try, because they are too busy with sports.
  • 10. You are fearful of saying “no” to any sports opportunity because you are worried that your child will fall behind other players who say “yes” to those opportunities.
  • 11. You have your young child on more than one team at a time.
  • 12. You constantly nag your child to work hard and practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more.

In my 21 years of being a sports mom, I’ve been guilty of all 12 of those behaviors at one time or another. Don’t beat yourself up if it happens now and then, as long as you stop, take two steps back and remember the bigger picture of youth sports and its value in your child’s life.

Janis B. Meredith is a sports parenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Learn more about good sports parenting habits in her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents, available on Amazon.