One of the challenges of coaching youth sports is to incorporate mental skills training so that young athletes are not just learning physical skills but also developing their mental skills. These mental skill performance principles help players play better on the field.
I believe we all want to be good parents. We encourage our children's participation in sports because we believe they (and us) benefit through their involvement in the group experience. We want to believe that our attendance and support helps our children play better on the field. Most of us want what is best for our children on the athletic field. We want a positive environment that teaches the values of positive sportsmanship...
There are five ways for parents to model good sportsmanship on the sports sidelines: cheering for the team, not just your child; refraining from criticizing players; thinking how other parents and fans see you; not putting your child on a pedestal; and having fun and not treating parents from the opposing team as the enemy.
Children who have loud and noisy parents are at a disadvantage playing sports. Focusing on the game with a screeching parent in the background is next to impossible. A mother is always the first to pick out the voice of her child crying, "Mom! Mom!" in a crowded store. It's the same way with kids. It doesn't matter how many fans are yelling, they can pick out their parents' voices through the din.
Shari Kuchenbecker, Ph.D., provides tips on how parents can talk to a young athlete after he has performed poorly in a game or competition, and the importance of consoling the child, rather than putting him down.