4 Ways to Gage if You’re Being Too Pushy as a Sports Parent

By Janis Meredith | Posted 12/18/2019

Sports are a great place for your child to explore their independence. Unfortunately, many parents rob their children of this opportunity.

Parents who constantly step in and try to control what happens to their children as they play are hurting their child more than helping. And when an athlete feels they have lost control over their sports experience, they may lose interest and motivation, which can lead to burnout and quitting.

In other words, parents who are pushing their kids too much in youth sports are actually hindering instead of helping their child’s experience.

Perhaps you may wonder, how do I know if I’m being too pushy?  These 4 questions will help you gage if you are.

 Do you feel compelled to confront the coach?

If you’re unhappy with your child’s position or playing time, or have issues with the coach’s game strategy, and feel the need to let the coach know, you’re probably being too pushy. Your job is to encourage and support; the coach’s job is to manage the team and help the kids grow and learn. It’s best if you don’t cross over that line.

 Are you more invested in your child’s youth sports than they are?

If you are always the one suggesting a camp, clinic, extra practice or a personal coach when your child never does; if you get way more excited about your child’s wins, statistics, and achievements than they do;  you may be a tad too attached to your child’s youth sports experience. Pushy parents are usually over-involved.

 How does your child react when you “push”?

If they clam up, lash out, or otherwise negatively react to your pushes, chances are they’ve heard your instructions and critiques way too much. Your words, which you assume will motivate and encourage them to work hard, are no longer potent because overuse has watered them down.

Are you driven to fix things for your child?

Pushy sports parents often feel the need to step in and fight battles for their kids, trying to fix all tough situations so that their children remain happy. This sort of parenting usually results in raising entitled children, who do not know or want to fight their own battles; they expect others to do the work for them.

Parents, take a step back. Let your child learn to push themselves. Support them, and stop questioning officials, judges, and coaches. I guarantee that you and your child will enjoy the experience much more.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.