Parental Involvement: "A Safe Zone"
While sports can be positive and beneficial for children and
teenagers, a parent's involvement in the child's sports
participation can either be positive or negative. For a child who
receives positive attention without pressure from the parent, this
can be a good experience. However, a number of youth feel pressured
by their parents to become college and professional athletes. For
these children and teens, sports can become stressful and
unenjoyable. While parental involvement is always encouraged, it
must be done in a way that benefits the child. Children love to hear
that their parents are sincerely proud of them. Youth involvement in
sports provides the perfect opportunity for these types of
interactions to take place
To encourage their child's healthy attitude toward team sports,
parents should ensure that their children are not overly involved in
sports and other extracurricular activities to the point that they
feel it is an obligation and is no longer fun for them. When parents allow their children to
be involved in excessive activities, children become overwhelmed and
are likely to resent the activities and perform poorly.
Essential Questions To Ask the Coach
How much training do you
and your assistant coaches have (i.e. do you have a coach's license
Do any of the coaches have any safety or first-aid training? Are the
coaches trained to know the signs
and symptoms of concussion?
Will a properly equipped first aid kit be brought to all practices
and competitions, and, for contact sports, have you received
training in the evaluation and
management of concussions? Will an automatic
external defibrillator (AED) and someone with up-to-date
certification and training in first-aid, sports safety, and the use
of an AED be present at all practices and competitions?
Will someone with a cell phone be at all practices and games who can
call 911 if necessary?
Do you have an amergency medical plan in place, and, if so, who will
be responsible for calling the EMTs if necessary?
Will you promise to always put my child's safety ahead of winning?
Will you agree to set clear boundaries to prevent the possibility of
abuse or harassment?
Will you agree to respect officials and not, for example, angrily
yell at them for making what you believe to be bad calls?
What is the club or league policy regarding minimum playing time?
What will be your policy
regarding playing time?
How important is it to you to win as many games as possible? How
important will it be for the kids to have fun, learn life lessons
and teamwork and develop their skills as
What is your policy regarding missed practices or games (i.e. what
are circumstances in which it is acceptable for your child to miss a
game, such as for a family wedding etc.)?
What type of volunteer help do you need?
What, when, and how is the best way to contact you? What is open to
discussion? What is off limits?
If you cannot make the game, will you let us know who is going to be
Will you be in contact with parents during the season to give
progress reports, get feedback?
What should we do as parents if we notice that our child is not
getting the minimum playing time?
What tournaments are you planning for the team to enter and how much
are they going to cost? Will there be any other extra expenses?
Youth sports give you the fantastic opportunity to be involved
with your kids. Once your child decides to play sports, you've taken
on the important role of sports parent. Being involved is not just
about coaching. As a spectator, you will undoubtedly experience the
joy, frustration and intensity of watching your kids play sports.
But win or lose, it is important to be a good influence.