Tips for Parents from the The Maine Center for Coaching Education

Hints for parents attending athletic contests:

  • Attend your child's contests.

  • Show interest, enthusiasm, and support for your child.

  • Model good sportsmanship and promote fair play.

  • Demonstrate respect and civility by not making insulting comments to players, officials, coaches or opponents.

  • Cheer on your child and team and leave the coaching to the coach.

  • Be in control of your emotions and comments.

  • Remember that other parents also want the best for their children.

  • Thank the coaches, officials and others who conducted the event.

  • When your child looks to the sidelines for a positive role model, let him or her see you.

"When young middle level athletes' needs and interests become secondary to pressures and unreasonable expectations from coaches, parents, community, and even themselves, benefits fail to emerge." - John H. Swaim

Hints for enhancing your child's middle level sports experience:

  • Encourage your child to play sports but don't apply a lot of pressure.

  • Understand what your child wants from sports and provide support and encouragement.

  • Set limits on your child's participation. Don't make sports overly important.

  • Encourage your child to participate in a variety of sports and other activities.

  • Help your child focus on improving her/his skills and not just "winning the game."

  • Keep winning in perspective and help your child to do the same.

  • Help your child understand the benefits and values of sports and also the appropriate balance between individual and team needs.

  • If preseason meetings are held, attend them. Get to know the coach and what the plans are for the team and your child.

  • Turn your child over to the coach at practices and contests; don't meddle or coach from the sidelines.

  • Encourage your child to resolve conflicts with the coach. Intervention by a parent should be the last resort.

  • Discuss issues with the coach at a mutually convenient time, not directly after a contest.

  • Provide the appropriate nutritional needs for growing young athletes.

  • Help your child understand that because children grow and mature differently, he or she may be more or less successful in high school sports.

  • Enjoy your child's sports participation during these important middle level years.

  • Help your child understand that chances are very slim that he or she will earn an athletic scholarship.