Being a great sports dad has nothing to do with your athletic skills or your knowledge of the game. In fact, it actually has a lot more to do with who you are, not what you can do.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to be a great sports dad. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to be a terrible one.
In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to suggest 10 reasons that your kids will brag about you as a sports dad.
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1. “My dad doesn’t get mad when I lose or make a mistake”
In fact, my dad just hugs me and tells me, “good job.” He doesn’t lecture me in the car after the game and point out all my mistakes. He never makes me feel like he’s disappointed in how I played, but just that he’s proud of me for doing my best.
2. “My dad doesn’t embarrass me at my games”
He doesn’t yell instructions or correct me from the sidelines or bleachers. He doesn’t holler at the official or the coach. He just cheers positive things to let me know that he’s watching and that he’s supporting me.
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3. “My dad doesn’t bother the coach”
He doesn’t talk to him about my playing time or tell him how to do his job.
4. “My dad doesn’t demand that I practice all the time”
He knows that sometimes I just need to be a kid and that I need a break from sports.
5. “My dad plays around with me when I ask”
Even though he’s busy, he takes time to go to the park and hit balls with me or kick the soccer ball in the back yard. He keeps it fun and helps me remember why I love to play so much.
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6. “My dad lets me try different sports”
I know some kids whose dads are worried so much about their children making the team or getting playing time that they put them on elite teams and keep them focused on only one sport. I just don’t think that’s fun. I want to try a lot of sports. I’m sure I’ll figure out on my own which one(s) I really want to focus on. I’m not making a career choice right now; I’m just playing to have fun.
7. “My dad sacrifices to take me to games and tournaments”
I know it costs money to play sports and I also understand my dad has a lot of things to do between his job and doing stuff at home. I don’t tell him very often that I appreciate his sacrifices, but I do notice and when I think of it, I need to tell him more.
8. “My dad looks for ways to help the team”
Sometimes he keeps the time clock, serves in the snack bar or helps drive kids to games. It makes me feel good that he cares enough about my interests that he’s willing to help out.
9. “My dad doesn’t compare me to other players”
He doesn’t point out how great my teammate Billy plays and what he’s doing right. He doesn’t make me feel like I have to be as good as my older brother was in sports. He accepts me for who I am.
10. “My dad gives me space when I need it”
Some days, I don’t want to answer a bunch of questions after practice. After a bad game, I usually don’t feel like talking about it right away. My dad doesn’t push me to talk, and yet when I’m ready to, he’s eager to listen.
Sports Dad, your kids don’t care if you don’t know enough to teach them skills or even if you don’t have a grasp on the sport they are playing. In fact, let them teach you about the sport if you don’t know much.
The thing that will stay with them is the type of dad you are and how much you love and support them. This Father’s Day, give them a gift and strive to be the best sports dad ever.