The 10 Commandments of Youth Sports for Parents (with apologies to the Bible)

By Joe Haefner

Here is a great article from Jim Bado on 10 great guidelines that all adults should follow pertaining to youth sports.

1) You shall support and encourage your child, attend games and cheer for all the players, including the opposition.

2) You shall play the sport with your child outside practices if the child wants to, but not push your child into doing so. Pushing your child can cause resentment and burnout.

3) You shall practice good sportsmanship and avoid yelling at your child about the child’s performance during or after games, even when said child deserves it.

4) You shall realize youth sports are for kids, not adults, and not compare your child to another player nor sibling in either a positive or negative manner.

5) You shall avoid critiquing your child’s or any other player’s game performance on the car ride home. You will only discuss the game if the child wants to.

6) You shall bring your child to practices and games on time and contact the coaches if your child cannot attend or will be late for a practice or game.

7) You will endeavor to always be a positive role model for all children and avoid complaining about or yelling at referees, even when they make bad calls or screw up royally. When tempted to violate this commandment, you will remind yourself referees are often volunteers, teenagers or in training themselves.

8.) You shall understand that while winning is fun, youth sports research clearly shows kids would rather play on a losing team, than sit the bench on a winning one. This understanding will include the fact that all kids need to play significant minutes – not just your kid or the best ones — and make mistakes during games to have fun and improve. Children mature and progress at different rates. Michael Jordan was cut from the Varsity as a high school sophomore and Bill Russell was only 5’9 as a sophomore in high school.

9) You shall not coach your child or any other players from the sidelines or stands. If you have a problem with the “official” coach, you will address it in private with said coach. If you would like to coach, you will volunteer to be one.

10) You shall always remember you are the adult and act like one. It is much more difficult for a child to deal with an out-of-control parent than for a parent (that is, you) to deal with an out-of-control child.