Your journey to becoming a sports parent is a continuum that begins before your child enters into organized sports.

From toddler to ages 5 or 6, always make time for unstructured play. It is a necessary and critical piece of your child’s health.

Between the ages of 5 – 6 many children will join organized sports programs. If you want to play a positive role in this process then begin with these four suggestions.

  • Allow your child to take ownership of their sport’s experience. 
  • Send a strong message that the most important values that come from playing sports go beyond winning.
  • Help them learn to embrace failure as an opportunity to grow as an athlete.
  • Celebrate their effort as much as their performance and the competitive outcomes.

Managing Your Expectations for High School.

Managing your expectations for your child’s success when they enter high school can be a struggle for some parents because they view their role in high school as a continuation of their role in youth sports. This is not so and often undermines a child’s success. 

Avoid Undermining Your Best Efforts   

Here are some beliefs that lead to unrealistic expectations.

  • Believing that participating on travel teams, specializing in one sport at a young age, attending elite camps or taking private lessons guarantees future success.  
  • Having your child specialize in one sport at a young age to insure future success.
  • Having unrealistic expectations about scholarships and playing professional sports. 
  • Requiring your child to mimic the rigid training routine of highly successful athletes.
  • Placing too much emphasis on the number of games played vs the number of practices. 
  • Assuming that youth league officials and coaches always have your child’s best interest in mind. 

Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes. 

Don’t dwell on your past decisions, your child’s past performance or worry about their athletic future. Focus on the present, because that’s the most important and impactful time to be a great sports parent.  Good Luck!

“By the age of 13, as many as 7 out of 10 kids will quit playing an organized sport, because it is simply not fun anymore.”

- The Aspen Institute Project Play