Parents Code of Conduct in Youth Sportsby Shelley Frost
Parents spend their time on the sidelines, but they have a major effect on the young players' experiences in youth sports. While many parents keep themselves under control, others get worked up and say or act in ways that aren't appropriate for the peewee arena. A code of conduct defines acceptable behaviors so parents know what is expected of them.
Focus on Kids
Parents want their kids to succeed, but focusing on the game more than the kids puts undue stress on young players. Your child's enjoyment of the game should take priority over all goals in youth sports. Letting your child choose whether he participates is one way to keep him as the focus of the experience. He might need some encouragement to try a new sport, but forcing him to participate often makes him dislike the sport even more.
The young players look to the parents as a guide for developing sportsmanship, even if they don't realize what sportsmanship is. Parents have the responsibility to watch the youth sports games with respect toward all of the players, the coaches and the referees. This means cheering for and encouraging all players. Parents should never boo the opposing team or yell at the refs and coaches for bad calls. Sportsmanship doesn't only happen during the game. Parents also need to refrain from talking negatively about the coaches or referees after the game.
Youth sports players are often beginners who lack fully developed skills in the sport. It's easy to pick out the skills your child does poorly. Instead of criticizing or pointing out what your child needs to improve, praise her for trying. Point out what she does well. Say, "I like the way you hustled to get the ball and didn't give up when the other team got the ball." Parents can also encourage youth players by taking the emphasis off of winning and putting it on improvement. Praise him for putting forth his best effort instead of whether his team scores more points.
Support the Team
Many peewee sports leagues rely on parent volunteers to support the operation of the teams. You don't have to volunteer as a coach to support the team. Serving as a team parent helper puts you in charge of things such as organizing a snack schedule, keeping parents posted on team news and planning a season-end celebration. If you don't want to coordinate team logistics, you can still help by volunteering to bring snacks or signing up to take a shift at the concession stand. Simply showing up at the practices and games is a low-commitment way to support the team.
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