At the end of every season, thousands of athletes around the country are given MVP awards. They are stand-out players who've worked hard and deserve the recognition. What if parents were given MVP awards? Would you win one?
As a sports parent, you are given an opportunity each season to become an MVP for your child's team. Someone who is a valuable supporter, encourager, and advocate for the players, parents and coaches.
How can you become an MVP parent that every coach will love?
Let the coach, coach.
Let him do his job. He may not be Bear Bryant or John Wooden, but he is the one who spends hours working with your kids in practice and unless you are willing to do the same, you probably do not see all that he does. And if you have concerns, take them to him, not to other parents or kids or even the administrator. A good administrator will send you back to the coach anyway.
Let your child fight his own battles.
There will be times when you will want to storm up to the coach and demand answers. WHY is my child not playing more? WHY did you change her position? WHY do you treat her like you do? When your child is younger, it is more appropriate to step in to help your child's cause in a very sane and calm manner, but when he gets to middle and high school, it's time to let him to fight his own battles.
Support the team.
Coaches need parents who help, in the snack bar, as drivers, with the stats or clock, or even just someone to call and remind people of their duties.
Provide a team meal.
In high school, my daughter's teams had team meals before home games. Several parents opened their homes to provide meals. It helps the coach out and it's a great chance to get to know her teammates better.
Coordinate the end-of-season potluck with a sign up. SAMPLE
Teach your child to acknowledge his own mistakes.
Players sometimes make choices on the court that go against everything the coach has taught. Encourage your child to accept responsibility for his errors and not blame a teammate.
Let your kid play.
If he was playing a musical instrument, would you run up on stage and correct a wrong note? If he was acting in a play, would you stand up in the audience and yell the correct line? Then why do sports parents yell coaching instructions from the stands or sidelines when the players already have a coach? Let kids play without constant orders from the sidelines. If you make a habit of shouting, they will eventually tune you out.
See the bigger picture.
Watching your kids play sports can be tons of fun. But when parents get their eyes off the big picture, it can turn ugly. And what is the big picture? That nothing—no awards or recognition or success—is more important that the type of person your child becomes in the process.
Janis Meredith writes Jbmthinks, a blog on sports parenting and youth sports.After being a coach's wife for 27 years and a sports parent for 17, she sees issues from both sides of the bench.