Parents "10 Dos and Don'ts"
1. I do not call my child’s coach to discuss playing time, strategy, development, or their teammates. My job is to parent, and the coach’s job is to coach. Instead, when my child is frustrated, I do encourage them to focus on what they can do to improve their circumstances and learn from their experience.
2. I do not praise my child for wins, points, goals, awards, or trophies. Constant praise of such things has been proven to foster a fixed mindset. Instead, I do praise them for their effort, attitude, and sportsmanship. Praise of these traits fosters a growth mindset and directs their focus to the process of reaching their full potential.
3. I do not speak poorly about the coach or other players to my child or other parents. People are doing the best they can with what they know. Instead, I do encourage my child to be a supportive teammate and someone who is fun to coach.
4. I do not pay for a personal trainer for my child until they have shown that they are willing to put the work in themselves. Instead, I do encourage them to ask their coach or look online for drills. If they want to get better, they must do the work.
5. I do not encourage my child to specialize in a sport or play “travel ball”. It has been proven to lead to burnout and more injuries, and it doesn’t develop the whole person. Instead, I do encourage my child to play multiple sports and participate in extracurricular activities, such as drama, art, and music.
6. I do not coach or referee from the sideline. It is distracting, disrespectful to the coach, and sets a poor example of sportsmanship. Instead, I do cheer on my child’s team, regardless of the circumstances (e.g., winning or losing, playing or sitting the bench).
7. I do not coach on the car ride home. It is not my job, and it will not be helpful. Instead, I do ask my child four questions:
8. I do not spend my time fundraising or taking care of responsibilities that belong to the players. Doing so will rob my child of their responsibilities and their learning experience. Instead, I do hold my child responsible for their team commitments. If they fail to be responsible within their means, then they will suffer the consequences (e.g., miss practice, get cut from the team, sit a game).
9. I do not let sports take over our home and family life. Family dinners, vacations, and time together must be a priority. Instead, I do work to maintain a healthy balance in our commitments, and I do expect my teenager to hold a summer job to contribute. Sports are great and can be applied to life, but they aren’t real. A miserable, hot, sweaty, minimum-wage job can be a great teacher!
10. I do not foster a sense of entitlement within my child to play sports. Instead, I do expect my child to complete their schoolwork and do their chores around the house if they expect to go to practice or a game.