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Dear Out of Control Sports Parent, You. Yeah, you. The one shouting “Get the rebound!!!” to your kid. The one with the heart palpitating so loudly that you cannot contain yourself. The one yelling and complaining about the coach. The one hollering at the 13-year-old referee.  The one angry at my kid for making a mistake. The one hollering at the kids who made a mistake running the scoreboard in a recreational tournament in a meaningless pool play game. Yeah, you, the one whose spouse won’t sit next to you during the game. The one who is micromanaging every aspect of the game and turning what would be a pleasant normal Saturday into a heightened state of anxiety for all of us, including your fellow parents stuck next to you for today’s game, this season, and our kids’ childhoods. PLEASE STOP! PLEASE CALM DOWN! Do you notice the Normal Sports…

The title says it all.  Although this article has been taken from an American source and in the UK we do not have college scholarship programmes, it would be naive of us in the UK to think that we are not suffering similar issues.  In many ways the message to parents is very much the same. The original article was written by Danielle Braff, Chicago Tribune Nov. 17, 2014. Youth sports long have been seen as a ticket to a college scholarship, and as college costs go ever higher, parents may be putting more pressure on their children to snag some of that cash. “It’s become a win-at-all-costs culture,” said Jason Sacks, executive director of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a Chicago-based national nonprofit organization founded at Stanford University to encourage positive coaching experiences for coaches, teachers and parents. But as the stakes grow, the children are the ones losing, according to…

Due to poor behaviour on the touchline the game of rugby union which prided itself on the behaviour of its players, parents, coaches and referees has recently introduced sanctions in competitions that could lead to schools being docked points or being thrown out of  competitions. Have things finally gone too far? There is no doubt that there has been an increase in aggression on the side-lines of children’s sport over the last decade.  What has caused this? With the ever increasing professionalism and commercialisation of sport at younger and younger ages there is an over-emphasis on winning, this at an age when children should be having fun and learning the fundamental movement and sports skills that will ensure sporting success at later stages. This emphasis on results and winning increases the expectations and thus pressure placed on young sports people to perform. In a survey conducted in the UK in…

Highly successful college athletes in the USA were questioned as to what was their worst memory of sport growing up.  The No. 1 response was ‘The Car Journey Home.’ Every week up and down the country the car journey home has now extended to the walk back to the car, the car journey home and the return back to the house. I hear it every Sunday after a match, where most often than not the dad delivers advice on the way back to the car, they can’t even wait until they get into the car. Why did you do that there?  Do you remember when you got the ball off the goalie, why didn’t you pass it down the wing?  Why didn’t you mark properly at the corner? All the child is doing more often than not is looking down or drinking their water pretending to really listen when actually…

With many sports facing issues over the behaviour of parents on the sidelines – what can we do to wrestle back control? One of the major positives of academy football in the UK is the relative silence in training and at matches where parental involvement is kept to a minimum.  However, the environment surrounding grass roots sport is very different. The article below was originally written by Todd Beane of the Tovo Football Academy. Be honest. Are you screaming on the sidelines? Be very honest. Do you think it helps? A parent asked me if I was a competitive person. My friend who knows me almost choked on his chorizo sandwich. He knew me well enough to know that I hate losing. Always have. I asked for a bit of clarification from the Mom. She explained, “All of the parents are over in the stands yelling and you are so…

For any child to be able to learn, grow as a human and learn about life there have to be moments of failure and during their sporting career there will be many. The children feel bad, you feel bad as a parent but there is nothing that you can do about it?  Well actually there is and failure is a golden chance for both you and your child to turn a negative into a positive.  Failure should purely be seen as an opportunity to learn! I guess the million dollar question then is, how do I help my child deal with failure? Don’t lose your cool with them Don’t get angry Listen to what your child has to say- ask them for their feelings? Encourage them to try new things and that failure is part and parcel of the process. Minimise criticism Keep losing in perspective Be a good role…

BE A PARENT- NOT A COACH Your job is primarily to be a parent.  You are there to provide support and comfort before, during and after the game. Leave the coaching to the coaches and enjoy being a part of your child’s sporting career.  Be supportive and not intrusive. BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL Children are quick to notice adult behaviours around them.  Make sure as a parent you are respectful to your child, the coach, the referee and other children playing the game. If you display positive behaviour in the car, on the touchline and towards other individuals involved in the game then your children will see this and act accordingly. KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE Your child is not a professional athlete.  The whole process should be about learning and fun.  Set realistic goals with your child, do not allow the sport to take over your life and make sure…

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