10 things you can change about youth football

By Janis Meredith | Posted 10/4/2017

There’s a lot of negative stuff happening in youth sports these days. Don’t you wish you could wave a magic wand over a team, coach, or parent, and change them?

After 35 years of being a wife and 30 years of being a mother, I’ve concluded that trying to change others is an exercise in futility.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot change another person. You can yell at the official, but they’re not going to change their call. You can chew out the coaches, but they’re probably not going to change their game strategies. You can nag your kid to work harder and play more aggressively, but that usually doesn’t produce results, either.

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What’s the solution, then?

Instead of trying to change another person, you must focus on changing things you CAN control. There’s actually a lot you can change in youth football when you think about it. Here’s a few things you absolutely can change:

1. Your attitude. Stop blaming the coach, official, or other parents for making you angry. Your attitude is totally within your control.

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2. Your friends. You don’t have to sit with the negative voices who only make you mad. Choose another seat.

3. Your conversations with the coach. Do you only come to the coach with problems? When was the last time you came to the coach with a positive comment?

4. Your support of the team. Make sure it’s for everyone on the team, not just your own child.

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5. What you say in the car before and after the game. Let the coach do the coaching and just let your child know you love to watch him play and are so proud.

6. Your dinner conversation. As important as youth football is to some families, it still does not have to be the only topic of conversation. Encourage your kids to have interests outside of sports and explore those topics with them.

7. Your involvement. Don’t expect the team mom or dad to do all the volunteering work. Find a way to contribute and do something, no matter how small it seems, to help the team.

8. Your spending. You absolutely do not have to spend a ton of money on youth football. Don’t let the elite teams and the expensive camps suck you in if you can’t afford it. Look for other ways to help your child improve. There are other options in your community.

9. Your displays of affection. Make them unconditional and consistent, regardless of how your children play, how hard they practice, or how seriously they take the game.

10. Your goals for your child’s sports experience. Whether or not your child wants to play in college, the goal of your young athlete’s journey should be about developing character on that journey, no matter how it ends. If not, you are squandering a valuable learning opportunity for your child.

Don’t waste your efforts to change on things that won’t budge. It will only frustrate you more.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at actually begin to change.” — Wayne Dyer.

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.