Family

Supporting your kids at sport

It’s great that you are out there every weekend, rain or shine, to support your child in their chosen sport. But how many times have you been shocked at the language or anger displayed by other parents – or maybe even yourself? Here are some tips for keeping it civil on the sidelines.

CHILD’S PLAY

Don’t be a sideline coach – your child already has a coach. For young kids, the point of the game is to have fun, so hearing instructions and opinions yelled at them will only be confusing and embarrassing. Let the coach do his or her job.

LEADING THE CHEERS

Be positive. Remember all the kids on the field are doing the best that they can, so don’t just cheer your own child or their team. If someone on the other team scores a particularly good try or goal, why not cheer them as well? Sport should be about encouraging kids, not putting them down.

PRAISE THE GAoE

Never criticise or put down a child on the other team. Imagine how you would feel if a parent was saying those things about your child. And would you talk like that if you were standing in a supermarket queue or at a family barbecue? of course not. Be respectful and remember these are just kids. Their feelings are easily hurt and the fact that they have a uniform on and are running around a field doesn’t change that.

REFEREES RULE

Respect the ref. Have you ever seen a ref change his mind because a parent yelled at him? Remember refs and coaches are volunteers and if they feel they are going to be abused every time they turn up, they just won’t. Accept that sometimes the call might be wrong, then get over it. Next time the call might be against the other team.

BoDY LANGUAGE

If you find it hard not to gesticulate or be demonstrative, try holding a hot drink that will scald you if you do. If you start losing your cool and know you are about to yell something negative, walk away for a few minutes until you have calmed down.

SHoW THE WAY

Set a good example. If you make sure all the supporters of your team are being relentlessly positive and respectful, you are more likely to shame the other supporters into behaving well. oh, and you’re all setting a great example for your own kids about sportsmanship and manners.

No LoVE LoST

So you lost. Don’t engage in any heated debates with the parents of the other team. Chances are you will meet up with them again one day – and wouldn’t it be nice if your team were known as the players who respect others and aren’t bad losers?

A QUIET WoRD

If you have one parent who is out of line, act on it. Talk to them quietly, ask the coach to have a word or get other parents to talk to them. Don’t be confrontational, but suggest it is disturbing the children and not helping the situtation.

TURN oFF THE PRESSURE

Don’t bribe your child or put pressure on them before the game. It should be fun whether they win or lose and that is the message. Imagine if every time you went to work, you were yelled at in public for not achieving a target. Pretty soon, you’d just stop trying. Do you want your child to shy away from making a try in case they don’t?

SIX SIoPLE PHRASES

oemorise these six phrases, which are very appropriate for all sports parents:

Before the game: I love you’, ‘Good luck’, ‘Have fun’

After the game: ‘I love you’, ‘It was great to see you play’, ‘What would you like to eat?’

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