If you have children who are active, there's a strong possibility that you'll be spending some evenings and weekends this summer watching them play sports. Whether they play in a casual league or belong to a competitive team that travels frequently, it's important for you to be a good sports parent. Being a good sports parent is about more than just cheering on the team and making sure that your children get to all their games and practices. In an age in which many sports parents make news headlines for the wrong reasons, here are some tips to keep in mind when you attend your children's games this summer.
Don't Try To Be A Coach
Unless you're actually a coach on the team, make a pact with yourself to stay out of the coaching process. This means that you should not yell commands to your child or his or her teammates during the game, nor approach the coach afterward to question a specific tactic. Since you'll be sitting or standing with other parents, you should also make a point of not grumbling about any of the coach's decisions, as these comments can quickly spread. Likewise, it's ideal if you can quietly and politely shut down another parent who thinks that it's appropriate to criticize the coach.
Cheer For The Other Team, Too
While you definitely want your child's team to win, it's a sign of maturity to also cheer for the other team at certain times. You don't need to confuse yourself by cheering wildly for both sides during the action, but when an opposing player does something that stands out, set a good example for those around you and cheer. For example, yell "great shot, #15!" when a soccer player scores a highlight-reel goal. Remember, all the children who are participating will appreciate any cheers, regardless of the side of the field they come from.
Be An Advocate For The Officials
Regardless of the sport you're watching, the officials are working hard and doing their best — and some are even doing so on a volunteer basis. It's easy for a group of parents to get critical of a referee, umpire or other official, so be the bigger person and stand up for these people. If a parent is grumbling, quietly approach the parent and remind him or her that it's just a game and that the official could be a volunteer. In many cases, the official is a teenager who isn't much older than the athletes playing the game. Standing up for the game's officials will create a healthy environment for everyone at the game.
It may be beneficial to watch other local teams too, such as the Lincoln Saltdogs Baseball Team.