Sports can open so many doors for young athletes. It's natural for parents to want them to be the best they can be, so they can have a shot at scholarships and maybe even take their talents to a professional level. But, besides running the risk of putting too much pressure on their kids, the number one mistake parents can make is to nag and annoy the coach.
Youth sports coaches truly love what they do, and they devote a great deal of time and energy to it (often unpaid). So, do your kids' coaches a favor and give them a break by avoiding these annoying moves.
Asking for More Playing Time1 of 8
If your child isn't getting as much playing time as you'd hoped, don't immediately nag their coach for more. Coaches know that the point of youth sports is to learn and play, so if your kid isn't getting in the game, there could be another factor to consider.
Are they playing on a team that's too competitive, based on their skill level? Watch and observe your child in practice. Do they seem to struggle compared to their teammates? Try moving your child down a level, and if that isn't an option, maybe add private lessons or even backyard practice sessions. It's important for kids to learn at a young age that some things—like playing time—have to be earned through hard work.
Coaching From the Sidelines2 of 8
Sometimes, you just can't help it. It's natural to want to shout out instructions to your kid from the sidelines. The problem is, that's the coach's job. Your instructions to your young athlete—and maybe even to their teammates—could be completely contrary to the game plan. This creates confusion for your child and a great deal of annoyance for their coach.
Yelling at the Coach3 of 8
There's a lot of yelling in sports, it's true. But none of the yelling should be directed at kids' coaches. First, it sets a bad example for your child, who should be learning to respect authority figures at this point in life. Secondly, it's just plain rude. Would you scream and yell at a teacher if your child brought home a poor grade? We didn't think so.
Yelling at Everyone Else4 of 8
While perhaps not as annoying as yelling directly at a coach, yelling at parents, referees and anyone else around the field makes you the coach's problem. They have enough to worry about during the game, and the last thing they need is to have a private chat with you about your behavior—or maybe even ask you to leave.
Asking to Be Excused from Practice or Games5 of 8
As any youth sports parent knows, schedules get crazy-hectic when sports, school, homework and everything else crowd the calendar. However, once your family makes a commitment to a team, it's time to commit.
Most coaches will excuse the occasional absence from practice or a game, but when parents are constantly finding reasons why their young players can't show up, it can really ruin a game plan. If you can't meet a team's requirement for attendance, try finding a less demanding sport or activity that better suits your family's schedule.
Giving Unsolicited Advice6 of 8
Unless explicitly asked, youth coaches probably don't want to hear your thoughts on how to structure the defense or when they should take timeouts. Most have years of experience and plenty of certifications, making them fully qualified to coach your kid without any extra input. If you do feel strongly about making a suggestion, approach the subject respectfully and don't be surprised if your advice is rebuffed.
Being Overly Involved7 of 8
Do you know all the stats for every team in your kid's league, the dates and locations of every game (off the top of your head), the names of every kid and parent at every game and each of their favorite halftime snacks? Phew—that sounds exhausting.
While all of those things can be really helpful, it can also represent way too much involvement for coaches to contend with. Asking coaches a million questions or inundating them with information before a game can be distracting, to say the least. It pulls them—and you—away from the reason you're all there, which is to help kids learn and have fun playing sports!