A Positive sports experience is crucial for our children to not only staying in the game but also in developing the building blocks for their future.
Youth sports is not all about winning, it’s about teaching core life values to the child that they can use as they grow into an active part of our community. Those values can be damaged and/or lost in an unsafe and negative environment. Our children deserve to have the best possible environment along with proper training and equipment for them to enjoy and succeed in their sport and life.
It is important that everyone involved in youth sports, from the coaches to the parents to the athletes themselves, be a positive role model. We all need to resist the temptation to recreate or reinvent your own athletic past through youth sports; Stay focused on the child’s unique abilities, interests and goals; Lead by example and keep our emotions in check at games and events; Maintain a cool composure and positive attitude; don’t yell at other players, coaches, or officials and most importantly, show respect... your child, and hopefully others, will follow your example.
It’s also important to understand that most coaches in youth sports are volunteers who are not professionally trained. Temper your expectations of what you want for your child and align them with the goals of the team and coaches. Remember that other parents and kids have their own expectations which have to be considered equally to yours.
From the first day of practice, it is important the coaches and parents work together to define and communicate clear goals, values and procedures for everyone involved. Set realistic goals for the child, the team and the coaches. As with any learning environment, improved performance is key, not just winning. Communicate openly and if you disagree with a coach’s approach or the behavior of other parents, discuss it with them respectfully at an appropriate time and place away from the children.
Remember you have the power of choice, if you don’t like what’s happening on your child’s team you have the choice to go elsewhere. No child should be subjected to a negative and/or unsafe environment.