Planning to watch your kid’s games but don’t want to become an overly competitive sports parent?
Let the experts from a reputable sports academy in Abu Dhabi give you a few pointers on how to provide positive support for your young athlete without going overboard.
1. Let kids have fun
Regardless of the sport or level your child is participating in, don’t take it too seriously.
Always remember that there is more to playing sports than just winning, especially for children. You may not always agree with the way the coach rotates the players or with the referee’s calls, but the objective here is to let the kids enjoy the game.
Also, don’t focus on your child’s mistakes. You don’t want your child to get intimidated and discouraged, and then lose interest in playing altogether. When you constantly emphasize your kid’s failures, he or she is more likely to quit.
What you can do instead is to give them encouragement. Find something worth celebrating, regardless of how minor the victory might be. Telling your kid what they’re doing right allows them to believe that they are capable of improving.
2. Don’t compare
Never compare your kids to other kids, whether your child is doing well or not.
Each individual develops differently. Making comparisons will only lower your kid’s confidence and self-worth if he or she is performing poorly. Even if your child is doing very well, comparisons inadvertently put down other kids’ performance, sending the wrong message to your child.
What you can do instead is to appreciate your child’s strengths, and voice out your praise for their own individual talents, not in relation to others. You can also let your child know that you are proud of him or her for showing sportsmanship and respect towards all players throughout the event.
3. Let kids choose which sports they play
Never pressure your child to participate in a specific sport just because you like the sport, or you were good at it when you were younger. In doing this, you are actually forcing your child to live out your dream.
If you see yourself taking your child’s achievements more seriously than he or she does, this is an indication that you need to take a step back. Allow your kid to explore different options. This may mean that your young one might end up pursuing several different activities, or focusing on one sport he or she is really into.
The chances of any child becoming a professional athlete are incredibly slim, significantly less than 1%. And children risk injury from specializing too early as well. With these facts in mind, there is no point in pressuring your child to play a specific sport. Let kids be kids and let them discover their favorite athletic endeavor on their own.
4. Allow coaches to do their job
You may not agree with the coach’s plays but shouldn’t question his or her authority in public. Yelling instructions from the sidelines only confuses your child as to whom to follow. Plus, this will make your child lose confidence in the coach.
If you have an issue with how the coach runs the team, ask for a meeting instead. During the meeting, you can ask the coach why your kid is not playing as much as the others, for example. Be prepared, as you may hear a reply that you are not expecting, and use the honest feedback to motivate your child.
5. Control your emotions
Whether your team is doing well or not, you need to check and control your emotions and reactions. Do not get into shouting matches, harass people or use foul language. Sportsmanship is not only for children to display during the game, but for everyone involved in youth sports.
Your verbal and body language will show your emotions. How you behave and react can affect your kid’s perception and enjoyment of the game.
Kids these days are stressed enough with all the advanced school subjects that they are required to take. Getting involved in sports is one way for them to relax and de-stress.
As a parent, your kid’s games are an opportunity for you to bond with your child and show your support.
By following these tips, you can make the most of these precious moments. In addition, by being a good sports parent, you are creating a positive experience for you, your child and the other parents at the game.
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.