It’s easy for parents to get frustrated when watching their kids play sports. As a sports parent, I’ve felt it many times. I understand the helpless feeling that pushes parents to say things that simply don’t help.
In my 21 years as a sports mom and 28 years as a coach’s wife, I’ve heard parents yell all sorts of frustrated comments and questions during games. Things like:
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
“WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
These types of comments distract your kids from the game and humiliate them because they know you’re calling them out for doing something wrong.
Are you doing it because you expect your athlete to answer the question? Or respond to your comment? Of course not. So then, why are you doing it? Most likely, you’re doing it because you are frustrated and need to vent. I understand that. I really do. But here’s the bottom line: Your frustrated words will not help your athlete play better. In fact, it may have the opposite effect and cause your child to be distracted and flustered.
When you’re hit with the urge to vent during a game, bite your tongue! What your child needs to hear from you on the sidelines during games are positive comments that are encouraging. Let the coach be the one to ask the questions and make the comments. That’s his job, not yours.
If you truly want to help your child play better, concentrate on being the positive voice that he or she hears, not the sarcastic or frustrated one. That kind of venting doesn’t belong in youth sports.
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.