For Parents

  • Adults have a great impact upon a child's enjoyment of athletics. The articles below highlight issues in youth athletics and how adults should adjust to make the experience a positive one. Make athletics about the kids.

    How to Cheer for Your Children

    Principle Eleven of the Arizona Sports Summit Accord states that everyone involved in athletic competition—including parents—has a duty to treat the traditions of the sport and other participants with respect.
    Missourian Janice Schnake Greene says the beginning was innocent: It wasn't telling them what to do as much as helping them, especially when they were little. But over time her tone on the sidelines of her daughters' soccer games changed, and the advice she shouted became more critical and demanding. Eventually, the critical comments extended beyond her kids to other people's, and one day she shouted, Pass the ball! at someone else's 11-year-old daughter. The girl's mother got up and left, and Greene realized she needed to change.

    She apologized to the woman and reminded herself that her daughter played soccer for fun. Now she concentrates on staying positive. We talk about the game, but it's in a whole different way, Greene says. We can have smiles and laughter after the game—even if they've lost.
    Along those lines, personal trainer and coach Todd Herman has some great suggestions for how to root for your children
    First: Take the focus off winning and losing. Winning and losing are outcomes. Always focusing attention on outcomes causes stress. There are just too many other factors at play, so your outcomes can't be controlled.
    Second: Support the concepts of learning and growing. Instead of Did you score any goals? a parent could say, Did you learn anything new in today's game?
    Third: Give specific feedback. Just saying, Good job, can be meaningless, but complimenting specific plays and focusing on how the player is improving can do wonders for a kid's confidence.