30 Things a Successful Sports Parent Knows

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  1. Successful sports parents know their role. They are the parent. They are neither the athlete nor the coach.
  2. Successful sports parents know to watch their pronouns.   “We” do not have a meet this weekend, and “we” are not trying to go elite.
  3. Successful sports parents know to keep their eye on the big picture. A bad meet or bad season is feedback toward the larger goal.
  4. Successful sports parents know to respect their child’s coach. Even when they disagree.
  5. Successful sports parents know not relinquish their role as parent to the coach. Parents retain responsibility for their child’s health and well-being.
  6. Successful sports parents know to value their child-the-child more than their child-the-athlete.
  7. Successful sports parents know to make sure their child leads a balanced life. Their sport is important but so is their education, their family and friend time, downtime and faith based activities.
  8. Successful sports parents know how to be appropriately involved in their child’s sport.   They are supportive but not intrusive.
  9. Successful sports parents know to be the soft place for their child to land.
  10. Successful sports parents know when to allow their athlete to struggle and when to intervene.
  11. Successful sports parents know how to work out their own stress regarding their child’s sport. Being a parent is not easy. Being a sport parent makes it that much more complicated.
  12. Successful sports parents know to take responsibility for their own choices regarding time, money and energy expended on behalf of their child athlete. They do not expect an ROI for their kids’ efforts. They do not make kids feel guilty for the financial choices that they as parents make.
  13. Successful sports parents know how to balance high level training needs and the needs of the other members of the family. The elite athlete child cannot take precedence over the other kids.
  14. Successful sports parents know how to enjoy their child’s time in sports. Sports are fun for children and that joy should bring pleasure to the parents as well.
  15. Successful sports parents know not to offer quitting as the solution to every difficulty their athlete encounters.
  16. Successful sports parents know to remain open to the option of their athlete moving on from the sport.
  17. Successful sports parents know how to behave in the car after practice.
  18. Successful sports parents know how to celebrate their child no matter the result of any individual meet.
  19. Successful sports parents know not to live vicariously through their children.
  20. Successful sports parents know to let their child’s coach give coaching feedback.
  21. Successful sports parents know to let their child be responsible for her own work.
  22. Successful sports parents know to be wary of advice from other sports parents.
  23. Successful sports parents know to be polite to all officials, staffers, parent volunteers etc.
  24. Successful sports parents know not to engage in psychological games with their athlete. They are the parent, not the amateur psychologist.
  25. Successful sports parents know to limit their negative feedback to their parenting obligations, never to discuss sports difficulties.
  26. Successful sports parents know to use the greatest of all therapeutic tricks: silence. Let there be silence and allow your child to exist in that space or have the space to talk.
  27. Successful sports parents know to let their child and the coach to set the goals.
  28. Successful sports parents know to focus on getting better rather than being “the best”.
  29. Successful sports parents know to have grit. They are willing to commit to a long-term goal.
  30. Successful sports parents love their kids unconditionally and without reservation. They want to have a happy, healthy good relationship with their child long after their child’s sports career ends.