Don’t be that parent at a youth sporting event.

Bench your ego. Let the kids play!

Friendly reminder going into the weekend: Never be that parent at a youth sporting event who:

  • makes their child second guess their on-field play and decision making,
  • complains about what the coach is or isn’t doing during the game, and/or
  • verbally nitpicks every little thing the team did wrong post-game.

It’s not that serious, people. Kids learn through trial and error. There are coaches more in line with the Phil Jackson method of coaching (regardless of sport) that value player/team growth and development over winning every play and every game.

If you are an overbearing parent at your child’s game, your child will come to second guess every decision they make, resulting in more mistakes due to nerves than if you would have kept your lips sealed. In other words, what you’re doing may backfire. And, they may fall out of love with the game and end up not wanting to play in the future because it’s not fun anymore.

This is a reminder to me as much as it is to any and every parent. Sure, it can get competitive out there, particularly if the sidelines are laced with a string of other overbearing parents. But try not saying anything with your mouth and mannerisms for the duration of the game. You may find your child begins to excel, and they have, wait for it — fun.

Bench your ego. Let the kids play!

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Photo by Hal Gatewood. Unsplash.

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, TheBody.com, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

5 replies on “Don’t be that parent at a youth sporting event.”

Must be soccer. Some of those parents are maniacal. My stepdaughter used to play against a girl whose dad made every game miserable because he was screaming at everyone. Now they’re teammates! So we get to see him at EVERY game! It’s embarrassing and uncalled for.

Soccer at the moment, and yes, some of the parents can fall off their rockers on the sidelines. Girls soccer gets super scrappy in comparison to the boys side of things — at least what I’ve witnessed so far. I watched a mom get into it with an opposing team’s player: a 10 year old. The 10 year old gave it right back. The ref had to stop the game.

I can empathize with you on the dad. My prayers are with you 🙂 We had one like that last year. Miserable to be near, even at practice. He’d walk around dropping F-bombs and hover, then berate every little thing when practice was over.

Granted, I think all sports have their fair share of these types of parents. Last year, in basketball, during a game of 7 and 8 year olds, I watched another coach tell the ref, “We can take it outside after the game.”

This isn’t Hunger Games, folks. Take a breath.

LOL, you mean like when you were little playing baseball. Ohhhh I hated being in the car riding home 🙂

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