Parents have a crucial role in a child’s sporting development. The support and encouragement a parent can provide to their child’s performance and enjoyment have long-lasting outcomes. However, it is easy to get carried away when supporting your child and it’s important to remember that everyone on the court are also still developing. Creating a safe and positive environment for kids to play and develop skills is more important than winning, and coaches agree that positive parental support increases the chances of further progression. Here are some tips to help you become a Super Sports Parent on the sidelines!
On the court
Be a cheerleader
It’s sometimes difficult being a parent spectator. We see our child struggle and get emotional and it’s tough for everyone to lose. These are the moments when positive support is more important than ever. It’s easy to become protective of your child and children view parent behaviour as a benchmark for their own. Negative behaviour is quickly picked up by children in particular.
Understanding the goal of youth basketball is part of creating a positive environment. It’s not about winning, it’s about creating a positive team environment! A 2008 report from the Psychology of Sport and Exercise Journal says the biggest source of a child’s enjoyment in sports is positive involvement from parents.
For example, joining in with other parents as a group and cheering for all the kids (and having some fun with it), regardless of team or skill, will quickly be absorbed by the players.
Respect for others
Another factor to consider is that children learn to respect coaches, other players, and officials from their parents. Trusting the coach and officials in their decision making, even if it means your child isn’t getting the on-court time you think they deserve, is important. The child should feel part of the team, and issues with coaching or play calling can always be followed up in private. It can be confusing and detrimental to a child to bring these issues up as a spectator during a game. Regular meetings with coaches will help understand a coach’s goals and objectives with your child.
Engaging positively with parents of the other team will also increase your child’s enjoyment of the game.
Off the court
Sustained reassurance allows your child to feel comfortable in making decisions themselves. It’s easy to become over-encouraging and place too much emphasis on winning, which can put unhealthy pressure on a child to succeed. Because it doesn’t matter the level of competition your child is playing; their enjoyment of the sport comes first.
Keeping an eye on your child’s mental and physical health off the court will allow you to identify any hindrances in their development. It is easy for a child to get burnt out with school work and physical activity and you may consider talking to their coach or scaling back training to help your child remain positively engaged with school and sport.
Kids just wanna have fun
Finally, unstructured social activities with their peers is a good way for your child to recover mentally and physically without any pressure.
In conclusion, the best thing you can give to your child is your time and love. Kids basketball is an exciting and fun way for your child to develop their physical, mental and social skills, and these are just some steps you can take to ensure your child’s enjoyment and development and to become the best sports parent you can be!