The Role of the Parent

There are two separate groups that directly influence whether our children have a FUN and memorable experience during youth sports. These two groups are parents and coaches. Both parents and coaches must work together in order to create a very positive environment for our children. The following list is provided to demonstrate an appropriate perspective for youth sports.

1. Putting Sports in the Proper Perspective.
Youth sports are a medium and experience through which a number of important personality traits can be taught and reinforced. Among these traits are character, teamwork, responsibility and social interaction. Participation in sports by young children ages 3-17 opens up a tremendous amount of possibilities to connect teaching and performance in a fun and supportive environment. Sport is neither the beginning nor end of all that is important, but rather an opportunity to learn.

2. Stress Participation.
Research over the past decade has shown wonderful results from participation in sport by young children. Research has shown that children that participate in sport demonstrate better socialization skills, higher self-competence and self-esteem, better interaction with adults, and higher academic performance. Children that continue in any form of sport or recreational activity through high school benefit even better. These young people demonstrate not only a higher level of academic success, but also graduate at a higher rate and go onto college. Additionally, young people involved in sports have a lower incidence of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use and a lower teen pregnancy rate. If when your child were born you were told of the many benefits that sports participation could provide would you as a parent not encourage participation. Stress and encourage participation and your child will also reap the benefits of sports.

3. Be a Positive Role Model.
Children look up to their parents for guidance and support. The actions that parents display leave a lasting impact on their children. Parents should consider their actions and vocalizations in the context of what impact it might have. Consider how it might feel when your children see your actions and state their pride in you. Be the role model that inspires your children.

4. Be an Active Participant in your Child’s Life.
Parents should be commended for their efforts in signing up their children and taking to practices and games. While this effort is appreciated much more could be provided. Parents could take an active role in participating with their children in a number of ways. Among these are by helping their child develop skills at home, purchasing books, videos, and magazines about sports for their children, take their children to sporting events, and watching a sporting event with their children at home. These activities will encourage their children’s interest in sports and reinforce the opportunities to connect parent and child in meaningful ways. Parents can make youth sports a positive, supporting and fun atmosphere for their children through active participation. Any amount of participation surely helps.