5 rules of tryout etiquette for sports parents

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/30/2015

If you’ve had a child try out for a sports team, you know how hard it can be for both you and your child.

But that does not excuse bad sports parenting behavior. The next time your child is trying out for a team, why not adhere to these rules for tryout etiquette.

  1. Keep quiet. During tryouts, your child is not playing in a real game, so you don’t need to cheer. If parents insist on being at their children’s tryouts, they should be seen and not heard. At a recent tryout, I observed – and clearly heard – one dad instructing his daughter loudly from the top row of the bleachers. As she played various positions on the field, he yelled comments and criticisms about her play. I felt very bad for this high school player and sensed her embarrassment. Seriously, Dad? Just shut up.
  2. Keep your distance. If you insist on watching the tryouts, do it from a distance. Your presence alone may increase your child’s nervousness, so stay in the background as much as possible.
  3. Keep from pestering the coach. Resist the temptation to ask how your child did, how’s the team looking and any other questions that mask what you really want to ask: Will my child make the team? Let the coach deliberate in peace, and don’t fish for information.
  4. Keep positive. No matter how much you are worried about your child making the team, don’t let your child see you sweat. I can’t tell you how many times I was nervous for my kids as they tried out for teams, but I knew that expressing my own nervousness would add to their stress.
  5. Keep trying. If your child makes the team, congratulations. Now, the fun begins. However, if your child was cut, encourage your child to keep trying. Look for other teams where he or she can play and continue improving. I’ve known many kids who were cut from a team, only to come back and make the team the next year. And even if your child doesn’t want to try out for that same team again, encourage him to find other leagues or teams to play the sport he loves.

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.