What Kind of Sports Parent Would You Like to Be in Ten Years?

This is a guest post by Janis B. Meredith of JBM Thinks Sportsparenting. In this guest post Janis shares an excerpt of her book, Volleyball Mom’s Survival Guide. She speaks specifically to moms of volleyball players, but the truths are for every parent who has faced the challenge of parenting an athlete.  If you want to guest post on my blog, check out the guidelines and submit your post.

What type of sports parent would you like to be in 10 years?

What kind of sports parent do you want to be if your daughter is still playing when she gets to
high school or college? When you watch sports events of older kids and you look around at the
parents, what kind of sports parenting do you see?

Positive, enthusiastic spectators?

Parents clumped in sympathy groups, discussing coachesʼ and playersʼ mistakes?

Parents yelling and coaching their kids from the bleachers?

Parents who complain loudly to the coaches, refs, players, or each other?

It’s a process

My guess is that you see all of the above. Which one do you want to be after your daughter has
been playing volleyball for a few years? This is a choice you should make before she ever puts
on spandex.

When the girls are little, looking very cute in their volleyball uniforms, most moms take it all in
stride. After all, their games are really just entertaining social events. Young moms may look at
veteran moms whoʼve developed some bad habits and think, “Iʼll never end up like that.”

But Iʼm going to tell you right now: Itʼs a slippery slope. As your child continues to play sports,
you will not suddenly wake up one morning and be one of the above-mentioned sports
parenting types. It doesnʼt happen overnight. It happens slowly, over the years. It happens one
choice at a time.

What happens when…

When your young daughter is sitting the bench more than you think she should, will you chew
the coach out or confront calmly with a question like “Is there anything that Kelsey can do to
improve her game?” You have a choice.

When the coach makes a substitution that doesnʼt seem too smart, will you smirk to other
parents about his incompetency or will you keep your mouth shut and be grateful that heʼs
giving up his time to coach your daughter? You have a choice.

When your kid comes home complaining that she didnʼt get many kills because the setter did a
terrible job of setting for her, will you echo her rants or will you listen to her frustration and try to help her understand how she can be a team player regardless? You have a choice.

Each choice you made will either bring you closer to becoming a strong, supportive sports
parent, or it will cause you to slide down a little further on the slippery slope toward being the
parent you really didnʼt want to become when you started your daughter out in volleyball.

Be that sports parent now

If you have small kids, it has to start with you NOW—while the score is still rather meaningless,
while there is no pressure on your daughter to perform, and while your job as a mom is as easy
as bringing snacks to the game. Better yet, make this choice before you even sign your child up
to play.

Decide today what kind of sports mom you desire to be for your daughter. Picture yourself in ten years—your attitude toward the coach, your demeanor during the game, your comments to your kid after the game, your ambition for your daughter—and determine what you want to end up like as a sports parent.

And then, start choosing now in that direction. Donʼt just let it happen of its own accord, because if you arenʼt intentional about being a positive, supportive mom, you might end up being one of those obnoxious, pushy parents that you always swore youʼd never be.

Question: So, what kind of sports parent do you want to be? And when will you get started?

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