web analytics

Kid’s Sports – Make Sure YOU Behave Yourself

June 7, 2010 · 69 comments

in Parenting

I recently spent a weekend at a soccer tournament for two of my kids.   I did a lot of driving, which is when I do a lot of my thinking.  I spent a lot of time reflecting on my kid’s sports ‘careers’ and all the craziness I have seen.  I am going to give some unsolicited advice for all your parents of kids that either play competitive sports, or will in the future.

  1. Remember, it is not YOU on that field playing, it is your child.  A win is not a feather in your cap, and a loss does not reflect on you.  It is about the kids.
  2. Most people do not want to be bored by stories of your sports accomplishments from your youth.  The occasional story is fine, especially if it is humorous.  Outside of that, keep you athletic feats to yourself.
  3. Disputing a call by the ref will only guarantee that your team is hosed for the remainder of the game.  Yep, there are some really bad refs out there, and that has been true since the beginning of sports.  Get over it.  Also, please, please, please do not allow your child to throw their hands up in the air in dispute of a ref’s call.  I can’t count how many times I have seen a kid wasting their time disputing a call (or lack thereof) and then a point/goal/whatever is scored because they are so busy complaining instead of playing the game.
  4. Don’t count on your child getting any form of athletic scholarship.  If you are investing money in travel sports with the hopes of getting scholarship money come college time, you would be much better off putting that money away into a 529 plan instead.  (Put that 4,000 dollars spent on travel sports each year into an account earning 7 percent each year for 10 years, and you will have over $55,000 to put towards college.)  So many kids burn out or have career-ending injuries, athletic scholarship money is definitely not something you can bank on.
  5. Listen to your child.  There are so many verbally abusive coaches out there.  If your child is not having fun or is demoralized, WALK AWAY.  Actually, run away.  As fast as you can.  Being on a winning team means nothing if it is not a positive environment for your child.
  6. Remember, it is just a game.  Sure, nobody wants to see their child perform badly.  However, yelling at them only makes things worse.   If you are frustrated with your child’s performance, then try to not say a word about it for at least an hour after the game.  That way, hopefully you will cool down and not say something you will regret.
  7. Always emphasize good sportsmanship.  Going back to my discussion about bad refs – if your child sees you screaming at the ref during the game and being disrespectful, then they may feel it is ok too.   Kids are always watching and learning, even when they don’t realize it.  Therefore, don’t behave in a manner that you would not want them to emulate.

Youth sports can be a wonderful time for both you and your child, as long as you keep the above tips in mind.  I have had a great  time going  to out of town on tournaments and traveling to and from games with my kids.   Whereas I am not implying that I  have been a perfect spectator or parent when it comes to sports over the years, I do my absolute best to sit on the sidelines and just enjoy the game.   All I ask of my kids is that they listen to their coach and always try their hardest.  I know they will have the occasional ‘off’ game, and that’s ok.   Just remember, sports can be about much more than just athletics, it can also show the kind of person you and your child are in life.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment or subscribe to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Thanks for visiting!!!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa Fiore June 7, 2010 at 8:42 am

Great advice. I have seen so many parents argue with the ref. and other parents and it is not a good thing for the kids to see. Also I have seen so many parent push their kids to unbelievable points. It’s all for fun. Play the game as best you can and let that be it. Walking away from bad coaches – I like that one. No one likes to play in a bad enviroment. All your points was great!


Kris June 7, 2010 at 8:47 am

Thank you Teresa! Now that my oldest son is a soccer ref, I want to put muzzles on all these parents at games that think they should bully a teenage kid. It is amazing that parents get carried away as much as they do, that is for sure.

Thanks for visiting!!!


Dave June 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

I think you mentioned in a previous post the blown call at the Tigers game last week that cost Galarraga his perfect game. Seeing how gracefully he (and the umpire) handled the situation should be the standard we all strive to achieve. Sometimes it’s hard, especially when a ref fails to control a game and the roughness escalates beyond safe levels. Regardless, a screaming parent on the sidelines never improves the situation.


Kris June 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

Dave, I couldn’t agree more. I hate when I am at a game and I need to relocate because I can’t stand listening to the insane parent sitting next to me.

I do know what you mean about how sometimes the refs let the games get out of control by not calling fouls and the kids are actually at risk. I can understand the parents getting more frustrated with that. However, I do not like when they justify their own child’s retaliation by saying ‘well, they deserved it’.

Maybe the US needs to be more like Europe where the kids just go play and the parents stay at home! (Or at least that is what I have heard.)


Budgeting in the Fun Stuff June 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

My husband is a ref and I’d agree with all these points whole-heartedly.

The game is for fun and yelling at the ref is bad form. They know when they screwed up a call and they may even be able to apologize to the coach about it later (and they’ll feel bad about it for a while), but they can’t reverse their decisions so yelling at them doesn’t help. Yelling at the kids is even worse. My husband can ignore angry parents and coaches, but he does not tolerate anyone harrassing the kids.

I have seen him get a crazy parent thrown out once and everybody clapped (especially me). She was being crazy to her own daughter at an 8th grade basketball game!


Kris June 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm

BFS – I know parents that go to the games their child is reffing because they are nervous their kid will be mistreated by the crazy spectator parents.

I have never seen a parent get tossed during basketball, that must have been a spectacle!! I would have been giving the ref a standing ovation.


Money Reasons June 7, 2010 at 8:23 pm

My son is 9 and since he was 7, I’ve seen some crazy ultra-agressive parents acting like children having temper tantrums! While soccer has been less than great for my son, the coach and parents from my 6 year old are a different breed! I have so much fun at my daughter’s games.

I have to admit, I’ve learned much about myself and my son by watching his games (and my daughters too). I see both my strengths and weaknesses in his performances.

I’m glad soccer season is over for both of my kids! It wears me thin sometimes…

Great summarization of etiquette tips for parents of kids in soccer! I wish the offenders would read this article!!!


Kris June 7, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I have some specific offenders in mind, but they would never waste their time reading a blog! 🙂

Isn’t it amazing how parents get so mad at games for even little kids? I saw a baseball game where a dad sitting in the stands was tossed for using very inappropriate language. The ump was maybe 15 and the dad wouldn’t leave. So the ump told him if he did not leave the field, his son’s team would have to forfeit. So, he finally sat in his car.

Thanks for the comment!


Squirrelers June 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm

I completely agree with your comments on parents behaving themselves. My kids aren’t in sports yet – my young daughter is more interested in dance, crafts, art, friends, etc. Tried soccer once and she didn’t care for it. Anyway, I couldn’t imagine someone yelling and going crazy at their kids games. The idea is for them to have FUN, while also learning sportsmanship, how to compete, etc. But they are kids, and it isn’t like it the Olypics or something of the like.

I also have a hard time understanding how some kids coaches can get so fired up. They’re just coaching kids, not collegiate athletes or professionals.

I say all this, by the way, being someone who is a big sports fan and was very involved in sports as a youth.

This gets me thinking….how many of these same parents that are so crazy at their kid’s sporting events show the same interest in their kid’s academics?


Kris June 7, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Squirreler: That is a very good point about parents not showing the same interest in the academics. I have never understood that either. It is like these coaches and parents get their own egos fed from 8 year old Johnny scoring a goal. But if Johnny won the spelling bee, well that is not nearly as exciting!


Young Mogul June 7, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I have heard horror stories about how some parents act at kids’ sporting events–the parents and sometimes even the coaches.


Kris June 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Young Mogul: I have seen abysmal behavior from both parents and coaches, and it can be very upsetting. Its like you feel like you should step in and help the poor kid getting berated, but you don’t know if its your place or not. Aren’t sports fun??


pbs kids games June 15, 2010 at 7:18 am

Hello great site! really perfect and can be a new inspirations for me


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: