5 types of sports parents who can be really annoying

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/18/2015

We all know the annoying sports parents when we see them. Most athletes and coaches certainly do. But I think that we can all agree that sports parents can even annoy other sports parents. 

Do any of these annoy you?

  1. Parents who coach from the stands. One parent told me, “I’ve seen kids stop playing to try and listen to what mom or dad is saying in the crowd.” It’s one thing to cheer. It’s another to yell and get mad with every little mistake. This can get uncomfortable for everyone. Parents should refrain from giving tactical or playing direction. Leave that to the coach. Your job is to encourage and support.
  2. Parents who yell at coaches and officials from the stands. “If you know so much, get out there and help,” frustrated parents (and coaches) often tell me. Coaches and officials spend hours working with athletes for very little pay. It is a thankless and difficult job to appease players and parents. Try it for a season and see for yourself.
  3. Parents who reprimand their kids in front of everyone. It’s awkward for anyone who witnesses this and embarrassing for a child. I’ve seen dads yell at their daughters during and after a game. I knew a girl who was afraid to face her father after a game because she knew he’d yell at her for her mistakes. If you feel you must say something instructive – and loud – to your child, wait until you do not have an audience.
  4. Parents who intimidate a child on the opposing team. I’ve seen parents stand too close to the court and clap loudly about the opponent’s mistakes, trying to intimidate them, it seems. That is a poor display of sportsmanship and a huge display of immaturity.
  5. Parents who criticize the play of kids on their own team. One mom told me she’d often hear another mom moaning and saying critical things to players on her daughter’s team who made mistakes. “Seriously? I so wanted to tell her to shut up. And on top of all that, she always blamed other players for her daughter’s ‘mistakes.’ Like if her daughter didn’t catch a basketball pass, it was because she was thrown a bad pass, not because she dropped it.”

When my kids played sports, I often sat away from the cluster of parents so I didn’t have to listen to their nonsense. I found it more than annoying. It often angered me, and I was afraid I’d say something I’d regret to an obnoxious parent.

How about you? What do you do when spectating parents are annoying during your child’s game?

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has recently launched a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.