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April 18, 2016 - TCO

What The Best Parents of Athletes Have in Common


Being the parent of an athlete is an exhilarating experience, and it’s a commitment from the moment our kids take their first gymnastics classes, lace up their first skates, or play their first tee-ball games. As parents, we’re more emotionally invested than average spectators. When our children celebrate, we celebrate. When they fail, we hurt for them. When they cry, we cry.

In many ways, we’re like lifelong teammates, and the truth is that some teammates are better than others. You know who they are – they’re the parents who just ‘get it.’ They’re involved without being overbearing. They’re present without being pushy. Coaches like them, other parents like them, and most of all – kids like them. So what is it that great parents of athletes have in common?

They cheer for the whole team.

Great parents of athletes cheer for their sons and daughters. But they also cheer for everyone else’s sons and daughters. They show their support for the whole team, and they share positive encouragement for all involved.

They let coaches coach.

Even though it can be difficult at times, especially during emotional games and seasons, great parents of athletes don’t undermine coaches during (or after) games. They resist the urge to yell out tips and reminders during games. They don’t question coaching decisions or strategies at home. In fact, they rarely talk about coaches at all.

Don’t get us wrong. It’s great to have rapport with your child’s coaches, and it’s okay to ask them questions about the overall well-being and behavior of your child. Not to mention, it’s helpful to know what skills they’re working on, so you can get tips for helping out at home. But great parents of athletes don’t talk to coaches about playing time or team strategy, and they never-ever-ever talk to coaches about other people’s kids.

If you want to be helpful, the best approach is simply to let the coaches know you’re available to help them with non-coaching tasks, anytime they ask for it. They may ask you to hand out ribbons at the conclusion of a meet, coordinate a snack schedule, shuttle kids back and forth between swimming heats, coordinate car pools for events that are far away, or even participate in a booster club. Feel free to provide help, but only if they ask for it.

They participate at home.

Great parents of athletes get outside and play! Whether it’s skating at the park, shooting hoops in the driveway, or kicking a ball around in the yard, being a participant in play time is a great way to reinforce that sports are fun. Leave the practice drills at practice. Home is a safe zone where mistakes can be made without any judgment.

They take safety seriously.

Our kids are going to trip and fall. They’re bound to scrape their knees and elbows, and it’s possible they may even sprain an ankle or break a bone. Not all injuries can be prevented, but it’s important for parents to be aware of when their child needs professional care. At Twin Cities Orthopedics, we feel it’s our duty to provide parents of athletes with resources to help kids stay safe and healthy. For sudden, unexpected injuries our Orthopedic Urgent Care clinics are open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week.

We also publish helpful articles for parents of athletes:

– See a Doctor, or Wait and See?
– Head-Turning Facts & Myths About Concussions
– When To Let Kids Return To Sports After Injury
– Is Your Child Injured, or Just Temporarily Sore?
– Getting (and Keeping) Kids Interested in Sports

Great parents of athletes know that sports safety is about more than just using proper equipment. Be on alert for signs of pain or injury, and never be afraid to contact an expert for help.

They don’t talk about the game on the drive home.

Whether they win or lose, and no matter if the game was a buzzer-beater or a blowout, after the game is over kids are ready to go back to being kids. Great parents of athletes understand this, and spend their time talking about where to stop for dinner or joking about the movie they saw last weekend.

Too often parents misuse the drive home by making coaching tips, complaining about refs, or discussing coaching strategy. Even though they mean well, it puts unnecessary burden and pressure on their kids. All a child wants (and needs) is to hear their parents say, “I had a great time watching you play.” That’s it.

They know having fun is always #1.

Studies have found time and time again that the #1 reason kids play sports is TO HAVE FUN. Great parents of athletes understand and embrace this simple fact, and it’s always in the back of their minds. They treat their kids the exact same after wins & losses, successes and failures, and they never take any game or season too seriously.

Did your son or daughter have fun? Then that’s all that really matters.

Thanks for reading.