5 things any parent can do at home to help make the next sports season your child’s best

By Janis Meredith | Posted 2/6/2018

Many parents assume that a season is shaped solely by what happens at their child’s practice. But the honest truth is that what happens at home can also have a huge influence on how your child’s season goes.

The success of the season does not rest on the coaches’ shoulders alone. You, Mom and Dad, play an important part in your child’s accomplishments during competition. Here are 5 specific things you can do at home to boost your child’s in-game performance.

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1. Give them space

It’s easy for parents to be overly invested in their kids’ sports lives. I was one of those parents who wanted to know all about practice – Did the coach put you in the starting lineup? How many reps did you get? How do you feel you rank on the team?

I quickly learned to back off and let my kids have space. A simple “How was practice today?” was all they needed to hear to know that I was interested. It also gave them the freedom to answer as much or as little as they wanted.

How does “giving them space” help athletes play better? Your oppressive interest in their sports can affect how they play in a game.

  • They feel pressure to perform and may worry about disappointing you.
  • They may be playing only to please you, which might translate into a half-hearted effort in the game.


Give your children space to choose the sport they want, to work as hard as they desire, and to enjoy the sport the way they want to. If your children are truly motivated and love the game, your encouragement and the space you give them will be the wind beneath their wings.

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2. Teach them to care for themselves

If you really want to help your children play better, good nutrition and proper hydration are vital. Start teaching your athletes about how to properly fuel their bodies while they are young. Don’t get sucked into the junk food and sugary drink options that seem to abound in youth sports.

3. Be the parent, not the coach, but be available

I’m a firm believer in separating the duties of parent and coach. Not only does it lessen the confusion in your child’s head, it also cuts down on tension in the parent/child relationships.

Obviously, there are parents coach their kids’ teams. That’s a challenge, even while it can be fun. Whether you coach your child or not, be the parent who listens, supports, and cheers.

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4. Listen a lot, and love

Sometimes kids just need to vent. They need a safe place to come home to, voice their frustrations and then move on. You don’t always have to give them an answer. In fact, unless they ask you a specific question, they probably couldn’t care less about what you have to say. There is a time and a place to speak truth to your kids, and there is also a time and a place to just listen. Almost every article I’ve read on how to boost a child’s confidence starts with showing love and support. That confidence helps a player play better.

5. Believe in them

I saw the power of belief in my son during his senior year of football. As quarterback, he had a rough game midway through the season and worried the whole weekend that the coach was to going to replace him. Monday, the coach called him into his office and said, “TJ, here are three reasons I want you to succeed and why I believe in you.”  My son walked out standing a little taller and came back with a stellar performance in the next game.

Belief empowers. Does your child know that you believe in him or her?

What happens at home …

Unlike the popular phrase, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” what happens at home does not stay at home. How you parent your athlete at home can translate into a better performance in the game.

Janis B. Meredith is a life coach for sports parents. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Learn more about how she can help parents have Less Stress and More Fun in Youth Sports.