By Barbara Greenberg PhD for KnowMore.tv
It's no secret that millions of American kids are out there playing sports. In fact, as many as 35 million American kids are playing organized sports every year.
We all know that participating in team activities can be a wonderful for our kids. The hope is that they learn both individual and team-building skills -- while getting some exercise! Along the way, that team participation may even lead to the development of a life-long interest, new friends and social opportunities.
Every step of the way, while your kids are up at bat or sitting on the bench, there are coaches who make it all possible. Ever wonder what they would tell you about how your behavior affects your kid's performance and enjoyment level? To find out, I interviewed someone who coached both boys' and girls' sports for 15 years. Wow, did I get a lot of good information!
Here is what Dan Madieros of California had to tell me. (Thank you, Coach!). The coach tells me that he and many of his colleagues wish parents would:
1. Cheer (but don't call the ump a chump)
Yes, it is perfectly fine for you to cheer your kids on, but it is not OK to scream at the other team or at the umpire. You should be modeling good sportsmanship and displaying positive energy. After all, you are your kids' most important role model. Please don't forget this.
2. Let there be one coach only
Please do not give your kids' instructions during the game. This is the job of the coach. You may very well confuse your children by giving them a second set of instructions. Please, dear parents, let the coach do his or her job.
3. Keep kids in the game
If you can avoid it, try not to remove your kids from the game before it is over. This can be disruptive to the team and interfere with the whole concept of teamwork.
4. Let the good times roll
Let your kids have fun and please refrain from acting like the outcome of the game is a matter of life or death. The most important thing that is happening on the field is that your kid is having a good time. Please don't turn it into yet another arena for pressure.
5. Play nice (in the stands)
Your kids do want you to attend their games, but they don't want you and your ex to be fighting in the stands. Please spare your kids this embarrassment and humiliation.
The overall message is that your kids love having you watch their games. They will love you even more if you do it more quietly and cheerfully. Let's go team!
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