12 signs a sports parent needs to take two steps back

By Janis Meredith | Posted 4/17/2018

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 I was taking my kids’ games way too seriously. When I eventually thought clearly enough to see this, I'd force myself to take a couple steps back.

What are the telltale signs that indicate a parent should do that?

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.

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3. You coach your child before and after the game, even when they don’t ask, and during the game, when it’s a distraction.

4. You lose sleep because you’re worried about your child's playing time or if they'll just 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.

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7. You assume your child will play sports through middle school, high school and even into college, without even discussing it with them.

8. You're more concerned about playing time than about their grades in school.

9. You keep your child from trying non-sports activities they have an interest in, because they're too busy with sports.

10. You're fearful of saying “no” to any sports opportunity because you're worried your child will fall behind other players who say “yes.”

11. You have your young child on more than one team at the same time.

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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 these 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 life coach for sports parents. She provides resources to help parents raise champions. Learn more about how she can help parents have Less Stress and More Fun in youth sports.

This is an updated version of a blog that originally published Aug. 30, 2017.