Summer fun includes summer sports, sports camps, and a time for athletes to hone their skills and try new things. Chances are that if you have school age children, they have participated in one or more sports. At my teens high school 54 % of the kids participate on a team sport. That is a lot of sports parents: parents who have successfully navigated the world of minor league sports and are now the proud parents of a letterman. Here are some of their tips to help your child succeed in sports.
1. Set a good example. Typically kids do as you do, not as you say. If you are a good sport then often they will be too. Always remember that if you undermine your child, the team, or the coaches by belittling other players, openly disagreeing with coaches, are rude to other parents, coaches or kids, if you are a backseat driver or obnoxious during a game, this becomes a negative experience for your child.
2. Be active- teach your kids good sportsmanship, teach them the rules, play ball with them when you get a chance. They don’t care if you are the worst player ever as long as you play with them. Kids who see parents who are engaged in sporting or outdoor activities, are more likely to be active themselves.
3. Let kids decide when and which sport they participate. Involve them in the decision making process. They will enjoy it more than kids who are forced into sports before they are ready. Keep in mind that not all children will want to participate in a sport. Find out why. There may be many reasons including other interest that they may wish to pursue
4. Parents need to oversee their child’s sport participation. They need to meet the coaches and know which children are on their child’s team. Additionally parents need to help children understand what their commitment and responsibility is to the team.
5. Ask yourself “what is my child learning?” Does the coach treat all children equally? Is he respectful or pushy or insulting? Is my child learning skills and learning to play competitively? Is my child experiencing growth and development?
6. Don’t undermine your child’s game. Don’t backseat coach on the way to the game. Don’t talk about previous poor performance or put undue emphasis on winning. It may be the only time you get to talk to your child that day, but don’t scold them or talk about topics that will cause tension. Don’t arrive late, and be sure your child arrives at the game on time.
7. Keep it fun/keep it real. Children play sports because they enjoy them, not because they want to be an Olympic Athlete. It's important for parents to have realistic expectations of their child's potential and not put pressure on kids to perform. When it stops being fun, kids play poorly or drop out.