Best Ways to Support Your Kid from the Sidelines
We are likely all familiar with the common trope of the overzealous parent yelling from the sidelines as their mortified child glares at them from the field. And while this is a frequent scene in many movies and shows, it is also a familiar sight at many children’s sports games in the real world. And while parents are typically only acting as such out of love for their children and the game, there are much better ways to support your child from the sidelines.
Of all the things you can do for your child in their sports careers, the most important thing is simply showing up. Despite many parents having busy lives full of work, other children, and everyday needs, being a constant face at each and every game shows that your child is important and valued.
No matter how skilled or gifted they, there are going to be instances where your child has an off day on the field or the team suffers a disappointing loss. And even though this can be frustrating for both you and them, it is important to remain a positive support system on the sidelines. If your child makes a mistake, say things like “Good try,” or “You’ll get it next time.” Rather than focusing on the loss or any individual mistake, encourage your child to look at the improvements they have made over time such as increased speed or improved hand-eye coordination.
There is a great deal of difference between being a supportive parent cheering your child on and a disruptive onlooker screaming from the sidelines. Not to mention, there is nothing more embarrassing than having to watch your parent get ejected from the game. And as invested as you may be in your child’s sports career, it is important to remain calm for their sake. Not only does it allow you to set a good example for both your child and other parents, but it also helps to minimize any nerves they may have during the game.
Let the Coach Do the Coaching
While practicing at home with your child is a great way to spend time together and improve their skills, it is important that when game day comes around, you leave the coaching up to the coach. No matter your expertise or experience in the sport, giving advice or yelling from the sidelines is both distracting for the team and disrespectful to the coach. You have no knowledge of what he or she has instructed them to do and by telling your child to do otherwise, you could be throwing off the entirety of the game.
Even after the game is over, avoid coaching in the car ride home or digging into your child too much. If they had a bad game or made mistake, odds are they know by now and you continuing to bring it up, won’t help.
There is a lot more to being a supportive parent on the sideline than simply showing up, although that is definitely the first step. You must also focus on being calm, collected and positive through the game and afterward as well. Your child and the rest of the team will be forever grateful for it.